Gautama Buddah Biography
Siddharta Gautama, better known as Buddha Gautama was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. It must be emphasized that Buddha Gautama is not a god nor the only or first Buddha since Buddhist cosmology affirms that only humans can achieve Buddhahood, that is, reach enlightenment.
He was born in the Sakia republic in Kapilayastu, in the foothills of the Himalayas, the current border between Nepal and India, 560 BC. He died in Kusinagara, today Kasia in present-day India in 480 BC. He taught about the middle path between sensual complacency and strict asceticism. His figure, his speeches, and rules were summarized and memorized by his followers, apparently by oral tradition until they were written after 400 years of his death.
About his life, we only have fragments that come from three great sources: the Vinaya, the sutta-pitaka and the buddhacarita of Asvaghosa, texts written after his life. And in his biography, legends and traditions are mixed that take us away from exact dates and acts.
Even so, it is certain that he was part of a high caste family. His father was Suddhodana, monarch of the Sakya, a clan of the region where he was born. Her mother, Maya, did not know her because she died a week after her birth. His childhood and adolescence were his own courtesan origin, that is, with extensive studies. He also married his cousin Yasodhara and had a son named Rahula.
Being 29 years affected by his good economic and social condition and reflecting on the sufferings of his peers, he decided to leave the palace to find the cause of human pain and a way to be free. Thus he gave himself to rigorous asceticism but did not find any knowledge.
After many years of meditation without results, the full moon day of Visakha (May of 523 a.) Seated under a sacred fig tree in Uruvela, next to the river Ganges, decided that it would not move from there until reaching the true knowledge. Which came during the night because he had overcome the temptations that the god Mara had put him to get him away from his goal and Gautama gained enlightenment and became the Buddha, that is, the Enlightened One.
On the basis of his knowledge, he dedicated himself to preaching the dharma which is the supreme doctrine or law of all things. His first disciples were five followers of asceticism his companions before whom he delivered his first sermon known as Discourse on the movement of the wheel of dharma and in which he explained for the first time the doctrine of the Four Truths. Here is a fragment of what was collected much later: “Only this Eightfold Noble Path; that is, Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Language, Right Action, Straight Life, Straight Effort, Straight Attention and Straight Concentration. This, O monks, is that middle path that the Tathagata has penetrated that generates the vision, that generates knowledge, that leads to peace, that leads to wisdom, that leads to enlightenment and that leads to Nibbana.
This, O monks, is the Noble Truth of Suffering. Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, the disease is suffering, death is suffering, associating with the undesirable is suffering, separating from what is desirable is suffering, not getting what you want is suffering. In short, the five aggregates of adherence are suffering.”
These five companions were the first members of the sangha (the community) that was expanded during the following years because the new faith was spreading and thus the organization of Bhikky, that is, the monastic community of the nascent Buddhism.
Buddha Gautama escaped after an assassination attempt at the hands of his cousin Devadatta, then his family (wife and son) were converted to the new doctrine but soon after Buddha became ill with dysentery, which killed him at the age of 80. His body was incinerated, and the ashes were objects of worship that were distributed among the closest disciples and they were kept in ten funerary monuments.
Finally, Buddha did not leave any written work, all his knowledge and teachings were transmitted orally and years later it was transcribed in the Canon Palo. His doctrine was open to all social classes and is defined by some as:
“He defended that the being is subject to samsara, the wheel of births and deaths, in motion until the action (karma) does not stop it, understanding by karma the destiny of a living being conditioned by the acts performed in their previous lives.”
In his teachings he picks up the middle path that is the path that leads to liberation, the four noble truths (about suffering and its origin), the noble eightfold path that is a method to stop suffering and thus arrive at nirvana defined as “a dimension in which the consciousness that is totally unstructured and peaceful and, consequently, ends all suffering originated by the interaction of the psyche and the will with the conditioned world.”
On his appearance, there are records of his great beauty that made many people think that the path to stop suffering was linked with physical beauty, although this was never proposed by Buddha Gautama. They described it as “It equals the autumnal golden jujube; it is as clear and radiant as a fruit that, newly ripened, loosens its stem and falls from the palm tree. As well as a gold ornament, carved into the crucible by a skillful goldsmith, deftly beaten and arranged on a bright yellow cloth, it thus shines and shines. And even so, the good Gotama’s judgments are calm as his complexion is clear and radiant.” What shows us not only a great love and respect for Buddha Gautama but also the beauty of the words of his disciples.