The Buddha, or ì Enlightened One ì, was born in about 560B.C. His real name is Siddhartha Gautama. He was the son of a king. Siddhartha lived the extravagant life of a young prince. At age 16 he married a girl named Yasodhara. Siddharthaís father ordered him to live a life of total seclusion. One day he ventured out into the world and found the reality of the suffering of life. So, at age 29, he decided to give up all his belongings, left the castle and roamed the world in search of truth. He found that the best way to follow a path to the truth was through meditation, nonviolence, and moderation. He called this The Middle Way. Siddhartha then meditated under the bodhi tree until dawn. He purified his mind and achieved enlightenment at the age of 35. For the rest of his 80 years, the Buddha preached the dharma in an effort to help other beings reach enlightenment.
Buddha said that life is ruled by Four Noble Truths.
1. Life is filled with suffering
2. Suffering is caused by peopleís wants
3. To stop suffering, you have to stop wanting
4. To stop wanting, people must follow eight basic laws
The eight basic laws are known as the Eightfold Path. This is the means to achieve liberation from suffering. This path includes:
1. Right view
2. Right thought
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Buddhaís ideas were not new to India. He used some Hindu ideas and changed others. Buddha also believed that all people went through a circle of birth, death, and rebirth or reincarnation. He also believed in karma. Buddha describes this as a force caused by a personís good and bad acts. Karma is said to affect future lives.