Buddha is the main symbol of Buddhism. However, despite the religious part of him, he is a man to be respected only by looking into him. He left many messages we could learn as human to human. If you haven’t had a chance to look into his life due to prejudice about the Buddhist religion, now listen to his story without any barrier and find your own peace.
Buddha’s name was Siddhartha meaning ‘every wish fulfilled.’ He grew up in a palace surrounded by luxury. Since his father was king of one of the very first cities in Northern India (present day Nepal), he was a prince. In his childhood, his father tried to delete all the darkness of life around him to avoid the prophecy about Siddhartha being realized. The prophecy told that he might become a spiritual leader. Although there was not much to see, since Siddhartha’s father blocked him from seeing reality, he always had deep and curious thought about things. One day, young Siddhartha saw a man plough in the festival. It was a ceremony to everyone, but for him it was different. Under a tree, he meditated and realized that everything is connected to everything else. Likewise, he had deep thoughts about ordinary things around him. How about us? We consider everything as just as it is. But a very minor thing can lead to new acknowledgement. Concentrate a little bit more on your everyday life, and you’ll be surprised by how different and interesting your life can get.
As he got older and got married, his father finally allowed him to set out from the palace. By the journey, Siddhartha encountered reality. He was jolted to realize aging, sickness, and death. These are fundamental facts humans can’t avoid in common sense, but he believed that there must be a solution for these sufferers. He did not give up. Many times we give up and get frustrated in front of high barriers. But as Buddha told, there is always a solution to things. Saying there is no way to solve is not a right way.
After the journey, he gave all his luxuries and family up for ultimate wisdom, to find a solution to the pain of existence, and left the palace. His courage to leave everything behind only for his will was impressive since it’s always a hard thing to give up something. He sends us the message that sometimes there is a need to let go of things for bigger things. Siddhartha wanted to go deeper into his mind and tried lots of new philosophies. He tried two ways of meditation broadly known
back then in India. These ways didn’t work out well. By the chance, Siddhartha came across a musician tuning his guitar.
“Watching a musician tuning his guitar I realized. When the string was too slack the guitar would not play. When it was too tight it snapped. Somewhere in the middle lay tuneful harmony.”
Siddhartha realized from this simple observation that the middle way is what he should follow to reach the state of harmony of life. And underneath a bodhi tree he reached enlightenment and the prince Siddhartha became the Buddha, meaning awakened person. Opposite to his message to follow the middle way, modern people are too biased on one part. We should be aware that there is always the middle way. This insight Buddha gained started the religion of Buddhism that is followed by 400 million people today.
The important point of Buddha is that he was not a god, but just an ordinary human. This means, with our potential and effort, we could all become Buddha ourselves. How about taking your own journey in everyday life today like Siddhartha did? By looking into things consciously, you might
reach peace and happiness inside you.
Vocabulary & Expression
1. Jolt : [Verb] To cause something or someone to move suddenly and violently, or to surprise someone in an unpleasant way
Ex) I was jolted out of bed by the earthquake.
2. Slack : [Adjective] Not tight; loose
Ex) His jaw went slack, and he looked puzzled.