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Unformatted text preview: Asian Religions- Buddhism Buddha – a man who attained enlightenment, the story of his life is not literal The life of the Buddha The Buddhacarita by Asvaghosha- earliest biography of Buddha- the opening statement says, “I have told this tale in a way to make it appealing to people. The way bitter medicine is taken in honey.”- An epic poem- Sakyamuni – of the Sakya clan- Once upon a time, 6 th century B.C.E, in northern India near the border of Nepal. A king named Suddhodana lived with his queen Maya. He was a wise and powerful king that desired a son. As a good Hindu, he sponsored sacrifices and rituals in order to get a son. After one of these rituals, the queen became pregnant. At the time of conception she had a dream that a white elephant pierced her side with his tusks. She gave birth standing in the Lumbini grove grasping a tree. She gave birth through her side. The Buddha immediately stood up and said, “This is my last birth and with it I have come to put an end to birth. Within a few days of his birth, his mother died. Buddha’s aunt took over the mothering of the child, and this child was named Siddhartha “the one who has accomplished his purpose”. - Everyone in the kingdom is pleased and immediately the astrologers and the court seer Asita are visited. Webbed fingers and toes, strange physical appearance that gave the indication to the seer that he is going to be special. Asita tells the king that his son is either going to be a great king (thrilled) or a great religious prodigy –renunciate. Having heard this prediction, the king decides he’s going to shelter his son from everything that is unpleasant and give to him everything that he wants so that he will not want to leave the palace. - As an adolescent, he was surrounded by pleasures, and courtesans who danced and sang for him. When he reached marriageable age, a marriage was arranged for him with a beautiful princess named Yasodhara. Within a year, Yasodhara gave birth to a son named Rahula “fetter/binds you”. He had everything that he wanted. - Finally, he becomes very bored because he is living in a bubble of pleasure. In an effort to relieve his boredom, he decides to go out into the countryside for a picnic with his friends. He asks his charioteer, Chanaka/ Channa to prepare to go out. The next day is beautiful; the weather is pleasant. The king sent out his soldiers to scan the countryside to make sure there is nothing disturbing that the prince might see. Suddenly, Siddhartha sees something he has never seen before. He sees a very old man who is bent over with a walking stick crossing the road, Siddhartha asks his charioteer what is wrong with him and Channa answers that he is just old and that everyone becomes that way. He becomes fearful of aging; he calls off the party and goes back to the palace....
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2010 for the course REL 2029 taught by Professor Meshal during the Spring '08 term at LSU.
- Spring '08