{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Strong-Great Departure & Enlightenment

Strong-Great Departure & Enlightenment - 1.3 THE GREAT...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1.3 THE GREAT DEPARTURE AND ENLIGHTENMENT Two key events in the legend of the Buddha are his decision to leave his fam- ily and home to set out on a religious quest-an event known as his Great Deparure-and his attainment, six years later, of bodhi (enlightenment)-an event that transforms him from being a bodhisattva (a being headed for en- lightenment) into being a Buddha (an Enlightened or Awakened One). The stor of the Buddha's Great Deparure was clearly informed by, and a model for, the ordination ritual of Buddhist monks. One of the first things that the Buddha does after leaving home is to cut his hair, to give up his princely clothes in exchange for the rough garb of an ascetic, and to embark, bowl in hand, on the rounds of a mendicant. The same events are ritually reenaced to this day by Buddhist monks, whose initial ordination ceremony, called their wanderng forth (pravrajya), is marked by the shaving of their head, the ex- change of their lay clothes for the robes of a monk, and the acquisition of their begging bowl. The practice of abandoning one's home to adopt a life of religious mendi- cancy was, however, already widespread in the Buddha's time. It was, in fact, an age that saw all sort of youthful questers (sramaQas), not just Buddhists, seeking out teachers and striving for religious satisfaction in one way or an- other. It was an age of ferment, in which it was thought that enlightenment, salvation, and escape from the prison of repeated rebirhs could come only by "dropping out," by quitting the householder's life with its pleasures and ob- ligations. The Buddha/s family-the /akya tribe-being of 'royal blood, was clearly opposed to the Buddha's Great Deparure. According to Buddhist legend, at the time of the Buddha's birh, some soothsayers had predicted that if he remained at home and inherited his father's throne, he would become a great cakravarin king, or "world-ruling" monarch. The Buddha's father, /uddhodana, concerned for the future of his family line, understandably preferred his son's becoming a cakravarin king to his becoming a wandering quester. In the hopes of preventing his son's de- parture, he therefore made the Buddha a virtual prisoner in the palace, sur- rounding him with bevies of beautiful women and encouraging his attachment to his principal wife, Yasodhara, and to his newborn son. But all of this was in vain. The Buddha, on a drive in his chariot through the royal park, came across an old person, a sick person, and a corpse and became deeply distressed the phenomena of old age, sickness, and death. When, on his next outing, met a wandering sramaQa who seemed to be at peace with the world, he was inspired to leave home and become a quester himself. Soon thereafter, according to what is perhaps the best-known version of the story, he was filled with disgust by the sight of the sleeping women of his harem, drooling, dissheveled, and snoring, and turning away from his wife and his child, whom he now called Rahula Ca fetter), he left home.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern