The Life of Siddhartha

Events

Isolation

563 BCE - 534 BCE

He vowed to make life as pleasant as possible for his son so Siddhartha would not want to leave the palace. His father arranged for the streets to be filled with healthy, happy people so that Siddhartha would not see any unpleasant things that might trouble him.

The Birth of Siddhartha

563 BCE

His mother was Queen Maya and his father was King Shuddhodana. Siddhartha descended from heaven and entered his mother's womb in the form of a white elephant- a symbol of purity. He was born beside a tree which reached down and assisted in the birth, he was born perfectly clean and water rained down from the sky just to wash him and his mother.

Renunciation and Austerities

534 BCE - 530 BCE

siddhartha became a wandering seeker of spiritual knowledge. He learned how to meditate and attain a state of deep trance. This was good but did not maintain the permanent solution he sought. He then tried controlled breathing, but it resulted in headaches. Then he tried to limit his food intake to one rice grain a day, he became ill and gave this form up. He then realized that any kind of extremes were not productive. He concluded that the best way was the middle way, or a path between both extremes. He concluded that the best lifestyle was one of moderation.

The four sights

534 BCE

He left the kingdom to live a religious life. He craved spiritual satisfaction. He first saw an old man with his body broken by life leaning on a staff. The second sight he saw a sick man lying by the roadside. The third sight he saw a corpse being prepared for cremation. The forth outing, his attention was drawn to an ascetic Hindu monk, that is, a monk who practices severe self-denial.

The First Sermon

531 BCE - 486 BCE

Siddhartha became known as the Buddha, which means "The Enlightened One" or "One Who Has Awakened." In Deer Park, he shared his insights with five Hindu ascetics who accepted these insights and became bhikkhus. This was the beginning of the Buddhist community. The sangha order was established along with an order of nuns, called the bhikkuni sangha.

Enlightenment

530 BCE

He sat under a tree meditating and in a state of higher consciousness, something comparable to a physic state, remembered all of his past lives. He saw death and rebirth of all types of beings as a consequence of their good and bad deeds. He attained perfect wisdom and absolute peace. Siddhartha stayed in this state for 7 days (or 7 weeks according to other versions).

Parinirvana

486 BC

Buddha told his followers to hold firm to the truth as a lamp of refuge, and do not look for refuge to anything besides yourself. A monk becomes his own lamp and refuge by continually looking on his body, feelings, perceptions, moods, and ideas in such a manner that he conquers the cravings and depressions of ordinary men and is always strenuous, self-possessed, and collected in mind. Whoever among my monks does this, either now or when I am dead, if he is anxious to learn, will reach the summit. Upon Buddha's death he reached the state of Parinirvana, or complete nirvana, which released him from the cycle of involuntary rebirth.