Buddhism is an ancient religion and dates back to several centuries. It was started by a royal prince called Siddhartha Gautama, the son of the ruling king of Nepal. He grew up in lot of comforts and had no difficulties in his life. At the age of 29, he was married and enjoyed affection and had a young son. However he saw poverty, suffering and misery. He was also following Hinduism, which was considered to be a rigid religion.
He renounced a life of comforts and set out on a journey in search of truth when his questions about life, death and afterlife were not satisfactorily answered by Hinduism. He found luxury to be dissatisfactory. As per ancient scriptures which were written in third century BC, Gautama followed an ascetic life, meditating under a fig tree for nearly 6 years. At the end of 6th year he achieved enlightenment.
One evening Gautama was sitting under a fig tree in a place called Bodh Gaya in Bihar. He sat there meditating and by evening he became an enlightened one and people started calling him Buddha because he sat under the papal or Bodh as called by the locals of this place. There was distinct golden light surrounding him and it was filled with radiance. Buddha soon got several disciples. People just sat to listen to his preaching. He soon became a religious leader.
Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon at a place called Sarnath which was 5 miles from Varanasi. In his first sermon he showed people a path to enlightenment and also discounted the existence of Hindu deities. Buddha’s preaching was very blunt in a way and also simple at the same time. Enlightenment can be attained by following 4 simple truths in life. Also when people follow the eight fold path they can avoid suffering and misery in life.
Every Buddhist is urged to follow a righteous life, as per the eight principles of Buddhism. The religion urges to avoid all moral evils. When a person has the right concentration his heart is pure and mind is clear.
Deep meditation brings a person to Nirvana or nothingness. It is a state of emptiness where a person feels nothing. This way a Buddhist will achieve purity in thought and actions. The actual meaning of Nirvana is blowing out a flame. It also leads to moksha, which means freedom from the cycle of continuous life, dead and rebirth. Buddhism stresses on the importance of a blissful and a transient state of mind. It can occur when you are alive or in your death.
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