Magadh Info/Bodhgaya

The Advent of Buddhism:

The advent of Buddhism traces back to the 6th century BCE, when Siddharta Gautama, a Shakya prince of Nepal, left all the worldly luxuries and pleasures in quest of the truth and reality of life. Though it took Him a long span of nine years to realise the reality of life, but when He was showered with the divine light of enlightenment, instead of keeping it to Himself, Gautam Buddha preferred to enlighten others as well. The teachings preached by Gautam Buddha were warmly accepted by a large number of people and came to be known as a new school of thought, Buddhism, which later turned into a major religion of the world.

In 528 BCE, when Siddharta Gautama achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at BodhGaya (Bihar, India) and became Gautam Buddha, He moved on further towards Banaras (Now Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh), where at Sarnath He met his five followers who had earlier accompanied Him before His enlightenment. The five monks first tried to ignore the presence of Gautam Buddha, but as He drew nearer to them, they were completely under the influence of His aura. At Deer Park in Sarnath, Lord Buddha preached His first sermon to them, who became His first disciples.

In His first teaching, Lord Buddha laid stress on the Middle Path, in which he presented a balanced, harmonious way of life, steering between two extremes of self-indulgence and total abstinence. Lord Buddha also emphasised upon the Eightfold Path, Four Noble Truths and Five Preceptions, thus dealing with the law of Karma and purification of mind, heart and soul to achieve nirvana. It was after the Buddha completed His preaching, the five monks became His followers and thus, was laid the foundation of the concept of Buddhism or Sangha.

Soon after this first sermon, Lord Buddha, accompanied by His followers, went from place to place in India for almost 45 years, spreading the Dharma- His teachings. He related His teachings on suffering to two other cornerstones of the Buddhist doctrine : His teachings on non-self and His teachings on impermanence. Wherever the Buddha went, He won the hearts of the people, because He dealt with their true feelings and His compassion knew no bounds as He along with the disciples, helped everyone along the way - beggars, kings and slave girls. Lord Buddha advised the masses not to accept His words blindly, but to accept them logically and decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them.

Lord Buddha travelled throughout eastern and northern India and helped His disciples to understand the result of the feelings and miseries of samsara, thereby preaching them the law of karma, liberation and nirvana. Whatever the Buddha preached, was being grasped by His followers, who named Buddha's teachings 'Buddhism' - a philosophy of life. It was after the 'parinirvana' or death of Lord Buddha in 483 BCE at Kushinagara (Uttaar Pradesh, India) that His teachings were written down by His first disciple, Ananda who named the text Tripitaka or the Three baskets - a holy text for the Buddhists that consists of the teachings of Lord Buddha or the principles of Buddhism.