Ascetic Bodhisattva Siddhartha Gautama with the Group of Five
I have published a new page call Siddhartha’s Early Life with a few more details that seem to be generally accepted. I could stray in to all the myth and legend but that would fill an entire website quite easily, so I have opted instead to introduce a new Sutta from the Anguttara Nikaya called Delicate.
Hopefully this and the accompanying Suttas will be enough to give you a reasonable picture of what Siddhartha went through to attain his final enlightenment. This also shows that, since Buddha was human, just like you and me, it is perfectly possible for any of us to achieve that goal too; may be not in this life time, but certainly in a future one.
It would seem prudent to start the dissemination of the Dhamma with how it all began. At least that idea makes sense to me, and I feel any newly budding Buddhist could do with an overview of where Buddhism came from and who is responsible for it.
The Buddha was not born the Buddha, or to put it more correctly, the Buddha was not born a Buddha. He was born a baby boy, between 563BCE and 480BCE (current studies cannot pin the date of his birth any more accurately than this), just like any other male of our species. He was born into royalty in a province in what is now part of southern Nepal, and brought up with the attendant luxuries that such a lifestyle entailed. There was no immaculate conception, there were no miracles, he was not born with any supernatural powers. If he were to be reborn today, he would be just like you and me and you could well be spending the evening down the pub deliberating on the current state of the European Union and Brexit!
His father, being somewhat overprotective, made sure that the boy, named Siddhārtha Gautama, never roamed outside the confines of their palace and thus never experienced the daily life of the villagers and travellers through their domain. However, one evening, he convinced one of his servants to take him out of the palace and on a tour of his lands. It was this secretive trip that changed the path of Siddhartha’s life forever.
Rather than repeating what has already been written, I shall let the following Suttas tell the tale of how young Siddhārtha became a man who would be remembered and revered for almost 2500 years.
This is the story of how ‘The Buddha’ came to be.
In the Majjhimika Nikaya, Sutta 26, the Buddha details his own search for enlightenment. He also points out the real source of happiness.