star candleBuddha in the stars, by Pagan Art, Me :)star candle

Buddha .. Man or God ?
And does the answer to that really matter ?

A short history .. the facts as they are known .. as Buddha was a living man
with a family and history .. The readers digest version

Followed by my thoughts on the Man , the Divine .. the Buddha
Excerpts from several sources .. see page bottom for references

" Gotama was born in Lumbini Park ,
( Near Nepal, India , under a tree so it is said )
in the year 653 B.C. He belonged to Khatiya clan of Kapilavastu.
The Buddha's father was Suddhodana, the king of Kapilavastu.
His mother Maya died seven days after his birth "

His family name was Gotama but he was called " Siddhattha "
Which means " He whose aim is accomplished "
At an early age he was married to " Yasodhara "
a beautiful princess and they had a son named " Rahula" .

"At the age of twenty nine, he informed his father of his determination
to renounce the luxurious life for the quest of Enlightenment,
and therefore find a way leading to the welfare of man."

" He took it upon himself
to find the origin of suffering and learn how to overcome it.
He did this for his own understanding and for the good of all people"

" At Uruvela he met Brahmin ( the Religion of the day ) priests
and under their guidance studied the various schools of Hindu philosophy."

" He then led the life of a hermit and came to a hermitage run by an ascetic Kondanya.
There he became one of many, who devoted themselves to extreme forms
of Self Mortification. He was told that such asceticism could purify the mind "

" For six years he practiced every possible method of Self Mortification.
But Gotama realized that neither the mystical speculation of the Brahmins
nor Self Mortification would help him to discover the way to Man's liberation."

"On the contrary, ascetic practice might lead him to self delusion
Gotama then took a seat in the forest of Uruvela under the famous Bodhi tree
resolving that he would not abandon his quest until he had attained Enlightenment."

( At age 35 .. he attained it )

" When this knowledge, this insight had arisen within me,
my heart was set free from lusts,
set free from craving, set free from ignorance.
In me, thus emancipated, there arose the certainty of that emancipation.
And I come to know: Rebirth is at the end. The higher life has been fulfilled.
What had to be done has been accomplished."

" For the next forty five years, until his death at about eighty years of age,
he pursued his life's mission. "

" Then he passed into a state which is called Parinirvana,
and where he completed the process
he had begun under the Bodhi tree many years before "

Now that is the History .. of the man .. born Gotama Khatiya of clan Kapilavastu
A prince in a minor Royal house .. with the good life at his feet .. yet he gave that up
To pursue the life of a Seeker of Wisdom

Why ?

Because the World was not a pretty place he discovered beyond the Palace walls,
the world was full of hurt and suffering .. he wanted to know why
beyond the apparent reasons of differences in status and income.
as he found rich men who were unhappy and beggars who were serene

It took him many years and many different roads
But He "found" a way that worked .. not only for himself,
but for millions of people since that time

The Dharmas of the Buddha as his revelations are called ,
were not written down till some 200 years after his death
up to then, what was known was passed from priest to priest as an Oral tradition

While we may consider such feats of memory daunting
( there are over 8000 Dharmas alone .. ) you have to remember
Most people at this time were illiterate .. so memory was much better practiced
than it is now, in our world of books

Even so, there were some shifts and changes in that amount of time so
there was a council of priests, held In Sri Lanka ( one of many ), in the first century BCE
To expound and compare all the versions of the words of the Buddha,
what they agreed on, they put to paper

And for the first time the Sutras of the Buddha were written down
it is from the Theravada's Pali Canon, that came from that council .. that we now have
the Words of Buddha ... among them are : " Tripitaka (Pali: Tipitaka),
or three baskets: The three sections of the canon are the Vinaya Pitaka
(the monastic law), the Sutta Pitaka (words of the Buddha),
and the Abhidamma Pitaka (the philosophical commentaries) "

The works that have been written on his words since .. Including my poor best here :)
are almost without number .. and most of it makes damn good sense
if you read it with some understanding .. also, most of it's in plain language

As suffering can be avoided .. on many levels .. Mainly by choosing not to suffer
As simple as that sounds .. things happen .. yes .. but it does not mean we HAVE to grieve over it ..
and some of what he found and passed on was just that simple
but how often does one take the time to think about it ?

Which is just what he did .. a man who sought to live life .. without strife ..
figured out a way that works quite well .. The Power of One .. amazing huh ?

His work includes things like :

The Noble Eight Fold Path
The 4 Noble Truths off site link 

The Kindred Sayings
The Dhammapada
.. and many many more ..

All of the above available on my Companion work ... see below

His work, as it went, from Man to Man changed the face of Religion and beliefs
throughout all of Asian, even under heavy opposition,
it's still hard to say sometimes where one religion starts and another ends,
as they are often based on the same principals .. the way of the Buddha

Which has branched out into literally every nation on Earth.
Makes him happy to know that I am sure :) As that was his intention
A dream well realized .. from the work of one .. lone .. ordinary .. man ..
Who, by his efforts on the part of his fellow man, became .. extraordinary

Buddha did not seek fame or fortune .. he had that to start with and knew the folly of it
that riches and luxury were not the road to enlightenment, within the self .. one finds that road

All the money in the world cannot buy it .. but a man may have it for free
just for the asking .. gotta love that .. :)

Hail and Blessed Be
Gotama Khatiya of the clan Kapilavastu
Siddhattha, Son of Suddhodana and Maya
Husband to Yasodhara , Father of Rahula
First Priest of the Path .. of the Way to Enlightenment

Thank you for caring enough to spend your lifetime so well :)

Companion Works
A few of the .... Dharmas of the Buddha

Bhagavad-Gita Selected Concepts
A Comparison to Buddhist and Pagan Philosophies


off site links

The History of Buddhism
Dr. C. George Boeree

A History of Chinese Buddhism

Art work by yours truly .. like to see more.. ?
The Gallery

Candles Robin Wood 1997, Used with Permission