History of Buddha

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    • #29644

      Some time ago, I read an article stating that the well-spread history of the Buddha as a prince (as we think what a prince is), with all possible luxuries, is not true.
      The article is the following:

      My question is: Is that history of the Buddha, before achieving Buddhahood, being a prince with palaces and luxuries, and pulled apart of misery to prevent him to be a sage and channel him to be a king of kings, etc. in the Tipitaka? Or that history came after the Tipitaka was compiled?
      If it is not from the Tipitaka, does the Tipitaka say anything about the life of the Buddha before living his home? (Or, in general, what is the history of the Buddha according to the Tipitaka)


    • #29646

      Yes. There are many suttas in the Tipitaka.

      There is a book that has taken parts from the Tipitaka and provides a lot so information. See,
      The Life of the Buddha” by Bhikkhu Nānamoli

      The following essay also provides a good summary:
      A Sketch of the Buddha’s Life – Readings from the Pali Canon

      For each sutta, more than one English translation can be found at Sutta Central, for some suttas. For example, MN 36 is one of the suttas mentioned and here is the link for that:
      The Longer Discourse With Saccaka (MN 36)

      Each sutta mentioned in the summary has only part of his life before giving up life as a “householder.”

    • #29664

      Thanks, Lal.

    • #29740

      Here is another account of the life of the Buddha I just came across. I just glanced through it. Since there are not many accounts in the English language, this could be helpful too:
      Life of the Buddha

    • #29746

      The following post is by Oetb:

      The post I read that motivated me to start the thread was the following:
      Buddha was not a “Hindu prince”

      The links Lal replied states very clearly that the Buddha was a prince
      and lived in palaces. What disturbs me a little bit is that the post of
      the above link seems coherent in its arguments stating that the Buddha
      was not a prince, but an aristocrat, and not lived in palaces, but
      probably in wood mansions.

      A quote from the post says this:

      So far as we can tell, Gautama’s father Suddhodana was a Shakyan aristocrat, and some sources call him a ‘raja’. But despite the version of Gautama’s life made familiar in legendary accounts, this doesn’t mean that he was a king (they were called ‘Maharajas’). It is possible that
      he was just one aristocrat among many, but according to some sources,
      Suddhodana was the Shakyans’ chief raja. We know from descriptions of other gana communities that chieftains were elected in a meeting of representatives of aristocratic families at the assembly hall…

      And after that quote, Bodhipaksa wrote this:

      Excavations of the likely candidates for the Buddha’s home town don’t reveal any palaces, and in fact, the term the Buddha uses when he does describe his father’s houses as “palaces” is not the same as the term used for the dwelling of a “king” (maharaja). Probably the term
      “mansion” would be more appropriate. So Suddhodana was more like a
      “tribal chief” than what we would think of as a king, and Gautama a
      “chief’s son” rather than a “prince.” The largest houses that have been excavated are of wooden construction, with people living above the animals’ accommodation. The archaeological evidence, in other words,
      doesn’t point to anything very royal.

      Of course, that no palaces had been found in excavations does not
      necessarily imply that there were no palaces. But could it be, has the
      above quote suggests, that the word the Buddha used to reference his
      houses had been mistranslated as “palace”, or that what was known as
      “palace” is not the same as what we actually know as “palace”?

    • #29747

      You are right. The details of Prince Siddhartha’s life before becoming an ascetic have a few variations among different accounts by historians.
      – Those details are not important for cultivating the path.

      However, some key features are in the Tipitaka and those can be assumed to be correct.
      – Those include leaving for the ascetic life just after his son, Rahula, was born.

      The Tipitaka accounts are in the links that I provided in my first reply above. They can be assumed to be correct because everything else in the Tipitaka is self-consistent and correct.

    • #29763

      I’m not saying that looking into Buddha is bad or anything – Buddha explained at the end of his life that what matters after He is gone is Dhamma and that where one should focus his effort in research to be fulfilled, if one really wants to know Buddha one really need to know Dhamma

    • #29767

      Yes. Christian. You are right that one needs to understand Buddha Dhamma to really “see” the Buddha.

      But looking into the background of the Buddha, before his Enlightenment, is important to many people.
      – That is part of learning about Buddha Dhamma, especially for those who have not had much exposure to Buddha Dhamma.
      – When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, we learned that background material in primary school.

      I also came to realize the importance of this only recently. This also includes reading up on setting the “necessary background”: Moral living, giving to monks and poor, etc. I need to add more posts on that.

      Another important aspect for some people who are practicing Buddhists is to follow some rituals like making offerings to the Buddha and recite the traditional recitals. Of course, one cannot get to Nibbana just by following rituals. But that may provide the necessary background to calm the mind and getting one ready for “formal meditation”, for example.
      See, “Buddhist Chanting
      -In that respect, there are two types of people (with two major types of gati) who follow Buddha Dhamma. They are Dhammānusari and Saddhānusari.
      – The first is more interested in the teachings.
      – The second type of person needs the support of the “rituals” that I mentioned. Of course, they also will learn the teachings, but those “rituals” help them to set up the background.

    • #29768

      I recall this from the Vakkali Sutta, where the Buddha said:

      “One who sees the Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees the Dhamma. For in seeing the Dhamma, Vakkali, one sees me; and in seeing me, one sees the Dhamma.”

      This is definitely beautiful and profound, but applies more to the mindsets of ariyā, in my opinion. The ordinary person does have more need for “rituals” and “background” to build saddhā to continue learning Dhamma.

      The above verse also brings to mind this:

      “One who sees Paṭiccasamuppāda sees the Dhamma.
      One who sees the Dhamma sees Paṭiccasamuppāda.”

      There’s a whole section on Paṭiccasamuppāda here on puredhamma for anyone who is ready.


    • #29772
      y not

      It is the Dhamma which is ever there, the unchanging ‘Norm of Existence’.

      Buddhas come and go. Any particular Buddha only discovers and proclaims It. In fact the Buddha started with the Dhamma in the first verse quoted. Once one sees the Dhamma (a dhammanusari)then one sees the Buddha. Once one sees the Buddha (sadddhanusari) then one sees the Dhamma.

      In my case, the general drift of the Teaching was already there in me. Only the details were missing.Then having grown in the Dhamma and having seen how it all makes absolute sense, that is where confidence in the Buddha happened. It can be the other way around with others. But in the end one becomes the other as well, depending on the disposition, or the gati, we may say.

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