Tag: Buddhism

Story of the Golden Bowl going upstream

An account narrates a miracle in the Buddha’s life involving a golden bowl. It goes like this:

One day, Buddha had a vivid dream and interpreted it to mean the day he would achieve his enlightenment.

He went to have his meal of the day at the house of a devotee named Sujata. She was a rich noblewoman who believed in charity and providing to bhikkus.

She served him his meal in a golden bowl, offering it to him along with the food. Gautama asked her as to what shall he do with the bowl. To which she said that it belonged to him and he can do whatever he wishes with it. He remarked that he had no use of such a bowl, to which she told him that it would be rude of her to not offer the bowl despite offering the food.

Thus, he left with the bowl in his hands. He came across banks of a river and bathed and ate. Now that the bowl was empty, he threw it into the water as he said “If I am to become a Buddha today, then may the bowl go upstream, else let it go with the current.”

The bowl is said to have floated out of the river and have went upstream, eventually disappearing in a whirlpool. Said to have eventually gone to where bowls of previous Buddhas too went when they were emptied and thrown.

Thus, Buddha ventured forth to find a suitable spot along the river to meditate. Evening came and he discovered a tree of Peepal, now considered the Bodhi tree, or the “Tree of Knowledge”.

He came across a man reaping grass. The reaper is said to have given him eight handfuls of grass for his seat.

Gautama then sat under the tree and began meditating with the strongest resolve to attain the supreme truth.

No Comments Buddha's life

The Buddha’s Discovery of the Middle Path

Siddhartha Gautama discovered the Middle Path upon contemplation of his practiced lifestyles. He understood that the moderate path with no extremes would be the best.

Now that Gautama had seen and practiced both extremes of life, he had realised that neither of the two extremes would do any good to him or any individual who would indulge in them. He was now convinced that self harm was no good. Despite the fact that it was considered essential for enlightenment in his day, it actually weakened the body and intelligence.

He thus gave up this extreme of painfulness as he had given up indulgence in his life as a prince. He then thought about swaying towards neither side but rather living a life which would be the mean of these two. This would later be known as the Middle Path.

Gautama then recalled the ploughing incident in his childhood and how he had attained the first jhāna. He realised that this was the path of enlightenment; by living by the Middle path and meditating as he did back then, he can attain his goal.

Realising that enlightenment cannot be achieved with a weak and exhausted body, he decided to take care of his body. Even when his companions had left him alone, he did not lose hope. Contrary, it benefitted him in the same manner as it did when they had accompanied him in struggles.

After his enlightenment, this concept of moderation was manifested as the Eightfold Noble Path. Which is now considered a means to live by moderation and achieve enlightenment with practice.

No Comments Buddha's life

Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are-

  1. The Truth of suffering:
    Life has inevitable suffering.
  2. The Truth of the origin of Suffering:
    Suffering is caused by attachment and desires.
  3. The Truth of the ending Suffering:
    Suffering can be ended by overcoming attachments and desires.
  4. The Truth of the Path: 
    The Noble Eightfold Path is the way of end suffering.

A Painting of the Buddha teaching The Four Noble Truths

Explaination of the Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths refer the basic concepts of Buddhism: “we want and stick to fleeting states and things, which are dukkha, unsatisfying and sorrowful.”

We are trapped in samsara due to these yearnings, the continuous cycle of resurrection, and the sorrow(dukkha) that accompanies it.

The four truths are dukkha, samudaya, nirodha, and magga, the path to cease suffering.

The way to end this cycle is the middle path. To be specific, the “end” refers to accomplishing nirvana, discontinuance of desiring, after which resurrection and related dukkha will never again emerge again.

The four truths have both symbolic and a practical applications in the Pali canon.

The four truths show up in a “System of teachings,” as a major aspect of “The whole dhamma grid,” which must be taken together.

The Eighfold Path, One of the Four Noble Truths

Importance of the four Noble Truths

The importance of the four noble truths, and their significance, evolved after some time, when prajna came to be viewed as freeing in itself, rather than the act of meditation.

The four truths became significant in the Theravada branch of Buddhism, which holds to the possibility that knowledge of the four truths is freeing in itself.

This “Liberating insight” (prajna) became importance in the sutras, and the four truths came to refer to prajna, as a component of the illumination story of the Buddha.

They are of less important in the Mahayana school in comparison with understanding of emptiness, and following the in the footsteps of the Bodhisattvas. They rendered the four truths to clarify how an enlightened being be influential in this world. They are frequently introduced in the west as one of the core teachings of Buddhism.

No Comments Buddhist Philosophy