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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama

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The Philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama


Siddhartha Gautama was a son of an elected king of the Shakya tribe by its five hundred families south of the Himalaya Mountains in the realm of influence of the powerful Kosala monarchy. Siddhartha means “he who accomplished his aim”. The meaning of Siddhartha’s name resembles the philosophy and teachings later in his life.


Siddhartha being the son of a king was spoiled. Suddhodana protect his son Siddhartha from the outside world from all forms of danger, sickness, and life. Siddhartha had all the luxuries, with three palaces, finest clothes made from silk, and a servant holding a white umbrella over is head. Siddhartha had everything a prince would want, but he was dissatisfied.


Siddhartha was walking outside the palace grounds and was disgusted the decrepitude and wrinkles of the people. Then for the first time he observed the sick and spent time learning about the nature of the disease. On a third occasion he witnessed a funeral procession and viewed the corpse. He started to think of the value of life. Finally on the journey away from the palace, he came to a religious man who renounced the world to seek enlightenment. Seeking enlightenment was not an uncommon occupation for Kshatriyas.





Siddhartha had a son and fulfilled the obligations to continue the family line. He then renounced his kingdom and set off for his enlightenment. Siddhartha begged for food and King Bimbisara of Shrenkia observed his behavior. Siddhartha explained to the king he was purifying himself in order to achieve nirvana.


Siddhartha took an extreme route in trying to achieve his goal. He tried to restrain his mind, breath, and fasted for long periods of time. He practiced this custom for six years to achieve wisdom and knowledge, but failed and only became weaker. He sat under an apple tree. Siddhartha decided to concentrate harder he should eat.


Siddhartha reasoned that a life of penance and pain was no better than a life luxury and pleasure. He lived the life of luxury and was displeased with the lifestyle, yet when he chooses the other extreme he found it just the same. With the addition of food, Siddhartha found it easier to meditate. He went through four stages of truth.


The first stage of truth incorporates suffering experience. This experience happens with an encounter of pain, sickness, or a separation between a loved one. “What, monks, is the truth of Suffering? Birth is suffering, decay, sickness, and death are suffering. To be separated from what you like is suffering. To want something and not get it is suffering. In short, the human personality, liable as it is to clinging and attachment brings suffering.”


The second stage of truth is suffering comes from desire and meeting our expectations for self fulfillment. Siddhartha is saying in a modern day sense, we want a car and when we get the car, we want a better one. It is illustrating that in society we want more and more and better and better. We are continually displeased of what we have.


The third stage of truth is human suffering can be ended by human desire. Siddhartha is explaining that we need to reduce the attachment of physical objects and then our suffering will also reduce. If we don’t desire to have a new car then the pain and suffering of the new car will decrease.


The fourth stage of truth illustrates a way to end all suffering. It comes together in a noble eightfold path. The eightfold path ended up being the structure of Buddhism. This path illustrates rights of the people. The right of understanding, right of intent, right of speech, right of livelihood, right of mindfulness, and the right of concentration. When Siddhartha achieved the four noble truths he became known as Buddha.


Buddha spread his teaching by teaching the four fellow students. They in return started to teach more with Buddha’s enlightenment philosophy. It seemed to grow and grow. After the death of Buddha around 48 BC, his teachings continued. Eventually his philosophies became the cornerstone of the Buddhism.


Buddha’s legacy lives on. Western thought adapted many of the values of Buddha. The United States picked up on the ideas with granting us the freedoms of speech. As Americans we have the right to freedom of speech, but like the eightfold method of Buddha, there are stipulations. Buddha’s method doesn’t permit slander and protects if they believe something is true and it ends up being false they aren’t punished for the mistake. In American court, we are held responsible of telling the true and if we intentionally falsify the truth we face the consequences.


Bibliography


Bodhi, Bhikkhu “The Noble Eightfold Path The Way to the End of Suffering.” Revised 14 http//www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/misc/waytoend.html


Weber, Max. The Religion of China. Toronto, Ontario. The Free Press 151


Smith, Howard D. Chinese Religions. Great Britain. 168


Beck, Sanderson. “Ethics of Buddha and Buddhism”. http//www.san.beck.org/EC-Buddha.html


Hooker, Richard. “Siddhartha Gautama” 16 http//wsu.edu8000/~dee/BUDDHISM/SIDD.HTM


Bibliography


Bodhi, Bhikkhu “The Noble Eightfold Path The Way to the End of Suffering.” Revised 14 http//www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/misc/waytoend.html


Weber, Max. The Religion of China. Toronto, Ontario. The Free Press 151


Smith, Howard D. Chinese Religions. Great Britain. 168


Beck, Sanderson. “Ethics of Buddha and Buddhism”. http//www.san.beck.org/EC-Buddha.html


Hooker, Richard. “Siddhartha Gautama” 16 http//wsu.edu8000/~dee/BUDDHISM/SIDD.HTM


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