Interesting facts about Buddha
October 4, 2010 | In: History facts
Prince Siddhartha Gautama had been raised in luxury, shielded from pain and suffering. Then, according to one legend, he encountered a sick man, an old man and a corpse. Shocked, he fled the palace and began practicing a very strict form of Hinduism, but he failed to find peace.
Then one day, as he sat meditating under a bo tree in Northern India, he was struck by the thought that people have pain because they desire. Therefore, he reasoned, freedom from pain comes by not desiring. Achieving “Nirvana” (nothingness), he thought, would also free a person from a continual cycle of reincarnations.
To reach Nirvana, Gautama — better known as Buddha (enlightened one) — taught an eightfold path of: understanding the problem; detaching oneself from material possessions, desires, family and friends; refraining from lies and slander; not killing, stealing, lying, being unchaste or drinking alcohol; living a monastic life if possible; striving to succeed on this path; pondering one’s behavior; and meditation on the truth.
After his death, a more popular branch of Buddhism arose called Mahayana. Mahayana made Buddha the greatest of gods, the ultimate reality, while continuing to maintain that ultimate reality is nothingness.
Today, with approximately 311 million Buddhists worldwide, Buddhism is the fourth largest world religion.