Touching the Heart of Buddhas Teachings

Create a 4 pages page paper that discusses touching the heart of buddhas teachings. Perhaps the best way to approach the core of Buddhism is to ask, first of all, what the word Buddhism means. Buddhism comes from the word Buddha, whose root word, budh simply means awake. The Buddha, whose root word, budh simply means awake. The Buddha, therefore, is simply one who is awake. In the Anguttara Nikaya, one of the major collections of Buddhist texts, we are told that a Brahmin (a Hindu priest) once encountered the Buddha and asked him a series of questions: “The Brahmin Dona saw the Buddha sitting under a tree and was impressed by his peaceful air of alertness and his good looks. He asked the Buddha: Are you a God? No, Brahmin, I am not a God. Then an angel? No, indeed, Brahmin. A spirit, then? No, I am not a spirit. Then what are you? I am awake.” (Bancroft 8).When the Buddha said that he was awake, what he implied was that he was once, like most of us, asleep. To be asleep is to be ignorant of our true nature. It means that there is so much about ourselves and the world that we do not understand. If we could only open our eyes and be awake, then we, too, can be Buddhas. This, in fact, is one of the central teachings of Buddhism: that each of us is a potential Buddha, that each of us has the seed of enlightenment. All we need to do is to work at it. All we need to do is to nurture the seed of enlightenment. This brings us to the life story of Buddha. What are the key elements of Buddha’s life story? Why are they so important? What do these teachings tell us? These are among the questions that I shall address in this paper.The Buddha was born around 560 B.C. in what is now Southern Nepal (Zukeran 1). He was Indian, and was born a prince. His name was Siddhartha. The story of his life starts right after he was born, when an astrologer came to the kingdom and predicted that Siddhartha would either become a great king or a great spiritual leader. When Siddhartha’s father heard this, the king made sure that Siddhartha would not be exposed to the difficulties of life. So the king surrounded Prince Siddhartha with all the possible pleasures one could possibly imagine, and he was not exposed to any difficulties or suffering whatsoever. However, the prince developed a great curiosity about the world outside the palace walls. When Siddhartha left the palace walls with this charioteer named Chandaka, he first noticed a bent, wrinkled old man. This was something he had never seen before. On another trip outside the palace walls, Siddhartha saw a man suffering from some kind of disease. On a third occasion, Siddhartha encountered a funeral procession and saw a dead body inside a box followed by crying relatives. He was horrified. On a fourth occasion, Siddhartha encountered a wandering mock who seemed very happy, serene, and contented. When he asked Chandaka who this person was, Chandaka said: “this is a holy man who has renounced worldly life and entered upon a life of homelessness” (Kohn 11). These key events are what led Siddhartha to a deep realization: that everything is ravaged by time. that we don’t live forever. and that life, at its very root, is filled with suffering. These facts motivated Siddhartha to look for a cure for suffering. In doing so, he vowed to continue sitting in meditation until he found the solution to the problem of suffering. One day, Siddhartha attained enlightenment. During this enlightenment, he was finally able to discover the cure that he was seeking. At first, he thought that he could not teach what he had discovered, since what he had discovered seemed so profound. But he got up from under the tree, and met a few friends who had deserted him. It is to these friends that he gave his first sermon – the four noble truths. This is where Buddha’s life story becomes significant. The four noble truths are the foundational teachings of Buddhism. These teachings tell us that first, human existence is characterized by suffering.

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