The Story Of The Buddha
Most religions have a clear concept of Godand their followers worship this deity with the hopes of living their lives in accordance with his or her wishes. Buddhism differs somewhat from that. Its founder was once a man and this essay will briefly discuss how he came to be more than that according to Buddhist doctrine.
Siddhartha Gautama was born a prince and had everything he desired. His family kept him in a luxurious palace where all of his needs were met but as an adult he felt that there was more that he should know. This led him to explore the world outside of the castle gates more and more. On his journeys he realized how much had been hidden from him. He saw suffering which had been alien to him until then. On encountering a very sick man, a corpse and a monk his outlook on life changed completely. He decided to leave the castle, his beautiful wife and young son to live a life of asceticism.
After his escape from his life of privilege, he studied meditation under several masters with the intention of defeating the cycle of suffering an death. At first he attempted to take his asceticism to extremes to achieve that state. This led to him almost dying due to restriction of his appetite. He decided then to try what became the Middle Way. He entered a state of meditation under the Bodhi Tree which lasted over a month. At the end of this he had achieved the enlightenment he had been seeking. He emerged with the Four Noble Truths and began to teach what he had discovered to those who would listen.
The Buddha lived to be 80 years old and after his death, his teachings spread throughout Asia. Although Indian by birth, there are more Buddhists in other parts of the world than in India where Hinduism is more prominent. Still, some Hindus consider the Buddha to be another incarnation of one of their deities.
Whether this is the faith you adhere to or not, the story is a compelling one with many aspects that can be learned from. A life of privilege does not mean that one can never learn empathy just as being part of a world in which suffering takes place does not mean that suffering must continue indefinitely. Personal change is something that can not only be aspired to, it can be achieved.