Tag: doctrine

Struggle for Enlightenment in Uruvela

Prince Siddhartha came to be known as the Ascetic Gautama after taking leave from his second teacher. He wandered from place to place in Magadha and decided to live and practice in the forest of Uruvela. He found the place to be beautiful and worthy to live and meditate in as the forest was calm and pleasant. He thus began his struggle to seek truth by the means of enduring suffering.

5 young men, who too had become ascetics, sought him and eventually met him at his new abode. They were Kondanna, the one who had predicted his Buddhahood, and four sons of other sages: Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji. They joined his company and decided to struggle together and practice various forms of ritual tortures with him. They looked after him and encouraged him to strive to endure more pains. They were convinced that doing so would eventually lead to his enlightenment.

It was believed that one cannot gain enlightenment unless one is fully detached from pleasures of this world. Interpreting it as instead making one’s body suffer and torment. Thus, the company of these 6 monks did the same and endured various forms of pains.

Gautama practiced fasting, he used to live on a grain of rice a day, and then, nothing at all. This affected his body and he became frail and weak. Among other methods he would practice was the practice of holding one’s breath for a long time until it started to hurt violently. He would later describe his efforts in great details in the Sutras.

For six years, he would endure such practices. He eventually realised that such struggle was futile and he is not getting any wiser or getting close to his goal. He then began to beg for food to build his body back. Upon seeing this, his five companions left him in disappointment.

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Buddha’s second teacher – Uddaka Ramaputta

After leaving Alara Kalama, Gautama went in search to find a new teacher. He came across Uddaka Ramaputta, who was well known for his wisdom and meditation techniques.

“Ramaputta” implies that he was either son or disciple of Rama. His predecessor had achieved the highest realm of “jhana” and was able to attain a deep state of mind with meditation.

He expressed his desire to lead Holy Life in solace and became his pupil. However, here too, he soon mastered the teachings and was able to achieve a high level of meditation as taught to him; It is called “N’eva Sanna N’asannayatana” or the realm of neither perception nor Non-perception.

The difference here was that while Alara Kalama had taught to concentrate on ‘nothingness’, Uddaka taught him to enter this state of mind.

Uddaka too was delighted to hear of his pupil’s success. Unlike Alara Kalama, Uddaka Ramaputta invited Gautama to take full charge of all the ascetics and lead them.
Yet, he felt that his aim was not yet achieved. He had attained mastery of his mind but his ultimate goal extended these limits. Ascetics of his day considered this to be the highest level of achievement, even so, it did not satisfy Gautama. Even Uddaka had no heard of somebody who could help him further. Uddaka himself was not enlightened and realised that Gautama’s goal was beyond his confinements of doctrine and teachings.
Still searching for Nirvana/Nibbana, he left his company.

By now he had realised that his aspirations surpassed under those who taught him. He came to understand that nobody could teach him the highest truth unless he searches for it within himself rather than seek external aid. Thus, he endured by himself to seek a means to find a means to end the cycle of suffering.

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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.

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