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

The ascetic pursues the truth by taking the requirements of survival down to the absolute minimum possible:

Barely enough food to stay alive. No protection from the elements, no heat. Sit in the cold, sit in the rain.

Meditate fiercely for all the hours of awakening.

The step of renunciation, of shedding everything, of dying, the feeling that one is dying to one's life.

As it was, is essential to being reborn as someone who sees. Ascetics can still be seen in India.

Firm in the belief that by subduing the flesh, they can gain spiritual power.


Emaciated, exhausted, Siddhartha punished himself for 6 years, trying to put an end to the cravings that beset him.

He tortures himself, trying to destroy anything within himself that he sees as bad.

The spiritual traditions of that time said you can be liberated.

If you eliminate everything that's human, you know, everything that's coarse and vulgar, every bit of anger, every bit of desire.

If you -you know, if you wipe that out with force of will, then you can go into some kind of transcendental state.

And the Buddha tried all that. And he became, you know, the most anorectic of the anorectic ascetics.

He was eating one grain of rice per day, he was drinking his own urine. He was standing on one foot, he was sleeping on nails. He did it all to the utmost.

My body slowly became extremely emaciated, Siddhartha said. My spine stood out like a string of beads, the gleam of my eyes apppeared to be sunk deep in my eye sockets, like the gleam of water deep in a well. But, he says, I can't sustain a feeling of joy like this if I don't take any food, so I better eat something.

And then at that moment, a village maiden mysteriously appears carrying a bowl of rice porridge. And she said to him, Here, eat. That moment of generosity and release, when he accepted the rice was a decision towards life.

It was what in the Christian tradition might be called grace, that you cannot do it completely on your own. And in Christianity, the grace comes from the divine.

In the story of the Buddha, the grace comes from the ordinary kind heart of a girl, who sees somebody starving and says, eat.

There's something beautiful.

Whenever I remember that story, it makes me so happy. Because I see the heart of Buddha as the person he was, like the Siddhartha.

This dish was the dish he used to be fed by his stepmother, rice pudding. He was missing that so much. And then he remembered maybe further and further. And he remembered about his wife, about his son. And the deepest emotions that he had suppressed. They overpower, they came up, they were still there. And he had a feeling of missing. He had a feeling of seeing his son, and a feeling of being near his loved ones. They were so powerful.

Oh, this must have soaked his whole entire being. He was actually an utter failure. He had been clinging to the path of asceticism. And when he took the food, what followed was a return of his original question.

Life is painful, Life involves change

This is still a problem, the problem didn't disappear.

It wasn't long before, the ascetics who had been Siddhartha's companions, found him eating and turned away in disgust.

Siddhartha loves luxury, they said. He has forsaken his spiritual practice, He has become extravagant. But the man who will become the Buddha realizes that extreme deprivation isn't the way to go.

We can live as normal human beings, we can eat and drink. And, in fact, we kind of need to eat and drink and be normal human beings in order to break through. In order to attain the kind of realization that he was looking for.

Siddhartha had put his faith in two gurus. They hadn't helped him. He had punished his mind and body. That had almost killed him.Now he knew what he must do to find the answer to his questions, he would look within and trust himself.