(2)The Story Of Buddha-Siddhartha Part 1-1

Siddhartha Part 1

The tales say he was the son of a king.Raised in a palace with every imaginable luxury.He was called Siddhartha Gantama , a prince among a clan of warriors.

When I was a child, he said a white sunshade was held over me day and night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, and dew.

I wore the most costly garments, ate the finest foods.I was surrounded by beautiful women.Where I was entertained by musicians and dancing girls.I never even thought of leaving

When he was 16, his father, drawing him tighter into palace life, married him to his cousin.It wasn't long before they fell in love.He was totally in love with her.

There is a story that on their honeymoon, which was about 10 years long.At one time, they rolled off the roof that they were making love on while in union, and they fell down but landed in a bed of lotuses and lilies and didn't notice they had fallen.And so , the stories say, he indulged himself for 29 years.

Until the shimmering bubble of pleasure burst.His father does everything he can to never let him leave, never let him see the suffering that life is.

But one day, he goes outside, and he's traveling through the kingdom, and he has the first of 4 encounters.

He sees an old man, and he asks his attendant, and the attendant says,

Oh, that's change, one doesn't always stay young and perfect.

He asks his attendant, and the attendant says,  "Oh, that happens to all of us."

Everybody gets sick, and don't think, You are a prince, you will not get sick,

I will also become old.I will also become ill.I will also die.

How do I deal with these things?

These are universal questions in any human being's life--What it's like to be in a body inside of time and our fate, and how do we navigate that?

It really is a tale of the transformation.From a certain naive, innocent relationship to your own life, to wanting to know the full story, wanting to know the full truth.

And then the fourth trip outside, he sees a spiritual seeker, someone who has decided to live a life completely other than his life, in order to escape from impermanence, suffering, and death.So he has this sort of traumatic encounter, with the pain and suffering of life.

We try to protect our children.We don't want to let our children see all the pain that's in the world.But at a very early age, at a time before he could remember anything.At a time before there was conceptual thought, he already suffered the worst kind of loss that one could suffer.

Suddenly and mysteriously, his mother died when he was a week old.So something tragic happened, you know right at the beginning.That might be what it takes to become a Buddha is that, you have to suffer on such a primitive level.

29 years old, profoundly troubled, Siddhartha was determined to comprehend the nature of suffering.He resolved to leave the palace.

His wife had just given birth to a baby boy, Siddhartha called him Rahula, fetter.

He names his son fetter.He names his son ball and chain. This is what will keep me imprisoned.

Late one summer evening Siddhartha went into his wife's room.A lamp of scented oil lit up.His wife lay sleeping on bed strewn with flowers,cradling their newborn son in her arms.

He gazed from the threshold, deep in thought,and pick him up and hold him in my arms.It will be painful for me to leave.

He turned away and climbed down to the palace courtyard.His beloved horse Kanthaka was waiting.As he rode toward the city's northern wall, he leapt high into the air.Mara, the tempter god of desire, was waiting.

You are destined, Mara told him, to rule a great empire.Go back, and worldly power will be yours.

Siddhartha refused.

He left grief and probably absolute puzzlement and dismay in the hearts of wife, in the infant son who was innocent and yet was suddenly fatherless.

And , of course, his own father

But there is no knowledge won without sacrifice.And this is one of the hard truths of human existence:

In order to gain anything, you must first lose everything.

Siddhartha was alone in the world for the first time.On the bank of a nearby river, he drew his sword.With tears on their faces, he said,

I had been wounded by the enjoyment of the world.And I had come out longing to obtain peace.

Siddhartha wandered south toward the holy Ganges river.Once a great prince, now he became a beggar, surviving on the charity of strangers.

He slept on the cold ground in the dark forests of banyan, teak, and sal that covered the northeastern plain, frightening places where wild animals roamed and dangerous spirits were said to live.He is going out to see what there is.

He's a seeker.

He doesn't have a teaching yet, he doesn't have an understanding yet.He doesn't have an insight yet.He doesn't have a solution yet, but he recognizes the problem.Siddhartha could not expect help from the religion of the time.

The ancient Vedic religion, steeped in ceremony and ritual.Some of its rituals still live on in ceremonies.

Conducted by Hindu priests, who chant Vedic formulas more than 2, 500 years old.

For centuries, the Vedic rituals had commanded respect for the gods and inspired conviction.

But by Siddhartha's time.The rituals no longer spoke to the spiritual needs of many Indians.Leaving a spiritual vacuum and a sense of foreboding.The gods become less important than the rituals themselves.

It's a period of great unrest.It was a period of social upheaval, social change.Cities were growing, generating new wealth and spiritual hunger.

As one ancient voice cried out in despair

The pole star is shaken, the earth founders, the gods perish.

I'm like a frog in a dry well.

A lot of people aren't satisfied with the religion that they grew up in.And when Prince Siddhartha decides to give up his life.He's doing something that lots of other people were doing.

Siddhartha joined thousands of searchers like himself.Renunciants, men and even a few women who had renounced the world,embracing poverty and celibacy , living on the edge. Just as spiritual seekers still do in India today.

Now , at this time in India, there are lots of renunciants out there.It's a flourishing renunciant tradition.There are many different people who have given everything up.And practice austerities and meditate.In order to escape from the cycle of death and rebirth

The notion of reincarnation is something that's part of Indian culture, part of Indian civilization,part of Indian religion, that was there long before the Buddha.

And it was the-in a sense,the problem that the Buddha faced.

Suffering didn't begin at birth and finish with death.Suffering was endless.Unless it was possible to find a way out.Become enlightened, become a Buddha.

In his time, there was a sense of death not being final.But of death leading inexorably to rebirth.And of beings, suffering beings,bound to the wheel of death and rebirth.

It's said that Siddhartha had lived many lives before this one.As countless animals...Innumerable human beings...And even gods.

Across 4 incalculable ages, the sacred texts say

And many eons, experiencing life in all its different forms.

Siddhartha's previous lives, many eons.Sometimes as a human being, sometimes as an animal.

But then gradually using his practice,becoming more higher and higher and deeper, deeper.

The idea is, from life to life, to progress more and more towards the enlightenment and become wiser and wiser.

Some beings will stubbornly insist on their ignorance and their egotism.And they will charge ahead, grabbing and eating what they can in front of themselves.And being dissatisfied but thinking that the next bite will do it.And they will die and be reborn and die and be reborn infinite times.It could take them, you know, a billion lifetimes if they are very stubborn, you know.And becoming a Buddha, becoming enlightened, is the only way of getting out of the continual cycle,of death and rebirth.

Now, rebirth here isn't the popular notion that,you know, in my past life, I was Cleopatra floating down the Nile or Napoleon.

It's as if every life is going through junior high school again.Over and over and over.

With the authority of the priests worn thin,and wisdom seekers like Siddhartha roaming the countryside, holy men emerged teaching their own spiritual disciplines.Siddhartha apprenticed himself to one of them.A celebrated guru who taught that true knowledge could never come from ritual practice alone,it was necessary to look within.

You may stay here with me , the guru told him. And experience it directly for himself.

Siddhartha set himself to learn the rigorous practices the guru prescribed.The teachers of the time are already teaching forms of yoga and meditation, teaching that the self-reflective capacity of the mind can be put to use to tame the mind, to tame the passions.That was already established in India.

And there were probably so many schools of yoga and meditation in those days Just as there are now .Although yoga appears to focus on controlling the body.It is, in fact, an ancient spiritual discipline.A form meditation, harnessing the energies of the body to tame the mind.

Some yogis learn to sit without moving for hours, breathing more and more slowly,until they seem to be barely breathing at all.

All kinds of trance states are possible through meditation,if you hold the mind, if you concentrate the mind on a single object.You know, be it a word or a candle flame or a sound, it's possible to transport the mind into all kinds of interesting places.

The person who was to become the Buddha,was very good at all of those practices, he was a super student, Doing these practices, Taking them to their limit, And no matter what he did in these practices, He was still stuck in the pain that he set out with.

He ascends to these very rarified states of consciousness.But it's not permanent ,and it does not bring penetrating truth into the nature of reality.So these become a temporary escape from the problem of existence, But they don't solve the problem.

Siddhartha apprenticed himself to another popular guru.But the results were the same.The thought occurred to me , he said later.This practice does not lead to direct knowledge, to deeper awareness.Disenchanted, he left this master, too

Siddhartha continued to drift south.Still searching for the answer to his questions:

Why do human beings suffer? Is there any escape?

He's trying and trying and searching and searching.

And he already experienced extreme luxuries.So now he tries extreme deprivation.Among the renunciants, asceticism was a common spiritual practice:Punishing the body as a way to attain serenity and wisdom.

Siddhartha fell in with 5 other ascetics.And soon was outdoing them in mortifying the flesh.Subjecting his body to extremes of hardship and pain.

The body represents a fundamental problem.Old age brings a decrepitude to the body.Sickness brings pain and suffering to the body.And death is ultimately the cessation of the functioning of the body.So there was a sense that if you could punish the body sufficiently.You could escape its influence.You could transcend some of the limitations.That the body seemed to impose.