Mindful of the prophecy that the young prince would not become a great ruler, but a great sage, if he became aware of the sufferings of mankind, King Suddhodana, his father, did his utmost to prevent Siddhartha from having any contact with the outside world. A costly palace was built in which all possible pleasures were offered to beguile the youth's mind, and even the words ‘death’ and ‘grief’ were forbidden. King Suddhodana conceived the plan of forging an inseparable link between his son and the kingdom through the marriage of Siddhartha, who would be declared heir-apparent. The beautiful Yasodhara, the daughter of a minister, was chosen and, as a kshatriya, the prince had to win her hand by a display of prowess in fencing, swimming, and combat at a special tournament. Yet within Siddhartha the spirit was beginning to stir, for on hearing the news of the birth of their son, he pronounced the boy's name, Rahula, in such a way as to mean ‘a bond’. Though King Suddhodana took every precaution, order-ing that the streets of the capital be swept clean, decorated with flowers, and emptied of everything unpleasant, the visit of twenty-nine-year-old Siddhartha and Chandaka proved a shattering experience. The prince saw a tottering old man, bowed double over his walking stick, and later had view of an incurable invalid. These sights troubled him considerably, but it was an encounter with a corpse being carried to the cremation ground that jolted him into active discontent with his luxurious surroundings. The serene calm of a hermit suggested a course for him and, abandoning throne, family, and offspring, he became a wandering ascetic, bent on discovering the nature of things. Having tried the way of self-mortification for six years without success, the monk Gautama, as he was now called, travelled to Gaya and resolved to sit in meditation under a fig-tree till he completed his quest. His Enlightenment followed, whereby he became the Buddha, the One who was released from the overwhelming consciousness of suffering.
The demon Mara assaulted the contemplative monk, immobile beneath the Bo Tree, but nothing could disturb his single-mindedness. To no avail were the enticements of Mara's daughters, skilled in all the magic arts of desire and voluptuousness; unheeded went the threats of an army of hideous devils, grotesque in shape and powerfully armed; and the ultimate weapon of Mara, his fiery discus, turned into a canopy of flowers when hurled at the Buddha. For five weeks the possessor of perfect illumination, bodhi, stayed rapt in meditation, all his previous lives being revealed to him. It was during the final week that the world-shaking tempest happened, when Muchalinda, King of the Nagas, protected the Buddha with his serpentine body.
The Enlightened One was then faced with a choice. He could enter nirvana: literally, the cessation, nir, of mental turnings, vritti; the undisturbed condition of supreme consciousness. Or, renouncing personal deliverance for the moment, he could preach the law. Mara urged one course, Brahma the other, and it was to the great god's entreaties on behalf of all created things the Buddha yielded. He began to travel and teach, founding a monastic order as well as preparing the framework for the Buddhist era of Indian civilization. One day a little child wanted to make him an offering, but had no worldly possessions. Innocently the boy presented for blessing a pile of dust, which the Buddha accepted with a smile. This child is reputed to have been reborn as King Asoka, who reigned from 272 to 232 BC. Not only did this monarch establish throughout his realm countless monasteries and have constructed 80,000 stupas, or reliquary shrines, but his Buddhist missionaries were dispatched eve
(born 6th4th century , Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, Shakya republic, Kosala kingdomdied , Kusinara, Malla republic, Magadha kingdom) Spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism. The term buddha (Sanskrit: awakened one) is a title rather than a name, and Buddhists believe that there are an infinite number of past and future buddhas. The historical Buddha, referred to as the Buddha Gautama or simply as the Buddha, was born a prince of the Shakyas, on the present-day India-Nepal border. He is said to have lived a sheltered life of luxury that was interrupted when he left the palace and encountered an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. Renouncing his princely life, he spent six years seeking out teachers and trying various ascetic practices, including fasting, to gain enlightenment. Unsatisfied with the results, he meditated beneath the bodhi tree, where, after temptations by Mara, he realized the Four Noble Truths and achieved enlightenment. At Sarnath he preached his first sermon to his companions, outlining the Eightfold Path, which offered a middle way between self-indulgence and self-mortification and led to the liberation of nirvana. The five ascetics who heard this sermon became not only his first disciples but also arhats who would enter nirvana upon death. His mission fulfilled, the Buddha died, after eating a meal that may accidentally have contained spoiled pork, and escaped the cycle of rebirth; his body was cremated, and stupas were built over his relics. eroticlingerie.org