Buddha's contributions to the world of philosophy

Topics: Gautama Buddha, Four Noble Truths, Buddhism Pages: 6 (2057 words) Published: November 11, 2009
Buddhism, a religion that is practiced by most Indian communities, is named after Gautama Buddha. He was a religious teacher, and his work began in the north of India. The dates for his birth and death have been subject to discussion as they are not certain. Different researchers have indicated different dates, but they all range at around the mid BCE. Information that concerns and illustrates the life of Buddha is mainly contained in his writings and texts. The Buddha had monks who were his followers, and during his life he spent time with the monks conversing and reviewing his knowledge on spirituality. His monks were very loyal, and after the Buddha's death they thrived to conserve and maintain his teachings and made accounts of his life and his death and his general lifestyle. Each monk was given a portion of the research work to establish it in his own wordings, and this was a successful ordeal. To do this the monks used legends and tales that could be easily remembered as compared to complex theories and myths (Karen 2001).

After the monks the teachings of Buddha have been preached and told over geographical areas, but at that time they were often told verbally. It is after a long period of time after Buddha's death that his teachings were preserved in written forms. To come up with the written forms the monks had to edit and include some of their own understanding of teachings, and they also expressed their praises about Buddha. These edited pieces of material were then incorporated into one. Due to the Indian tendency of not preferring content to chronologies, written documents about the Buddha were mainly focused on values and beliefs and not on dates of the occurrences. This could be the reason as to why the dates of birth and death of the Buddha are not well known. In the content of the documents was the history of the Indian culture and includes the Buddha's earliest experience that was of significance to the Indians (Heinz 1996).

Birth of Gautama BuddhaGautama Buddha was born in a small town that is called Nepal in this present day and time. At the point in time that Buddha was born, the overriding customs were those of the Vedic and the divisions of the states of prehistoric India were known as janapadas. Chiefs who owned chiefdoms, which had very limited social divisions into strata, ruled the states. According to research on the archeological structures, it was believed that then the ancient India was ruled as a form of a republic. It was not a kingdom and neither was it structured fully as an oligarchy (Carrithers 1986).

Gautama Buddha was born to a King called Suddhodana and his mother queen Maya Maha. His father ruled the kingdom of Kosala at the lifetime of the Buddha and the name Gautama was the kinship name. His mother was a princess before Buddha was conceived. During this ancient time, dreams were very significant and the interpretation very essential. At the time that Buddha was conceived, the mother had a dream about a pallid elephant, which had six purely white tusks, and a few months later Buddha was born. During the pregnancy the mother moved to the father's kingdom, which was in accordance to the customs. Buddha was born under a tree in a small village known as Lumbini. Unfortunately a few days after Buddha's birth his mother died. His birthday is celebrated even today by many Indian cultures. His name means, the one who attains the aspired. After his birth a ceremony was held with the fortunetellers present who predicted that Buddha would either become a great king or a very influential spiritualist. One out of the fortunetellers predicted that he would become a Buddha, which came to be the true prediction (Thapar 2002).

Early Life & Marriage of BuddhaDuring his life Buddha felt that riches and affluence is not the ultimate indicator and influence of a good life. After the prediction that he could become a great man, his father strived to keep him safe and secure at all times and...

Cited: rmstrong Karen, (2001), Buddha, New York: Penguin Books.
Bechert, Heinz, (1996) When Did the Buddha Live? The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha. Delhi: Sri Satguru.
Lopez (1995), Buddhism in Practice, Princeton University Press.
Michael Carrithers, (1986) The Buddha, Found in Founders of Faith, Oxford University Press.
Romila Thapar, (2002), The Penguin History of Early India: From Origins to AD 1300, Penguin Books, page 146.
Sathe, Shriram, (1987) Dates of the Buddha. Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, Hyderabad.
Sue Hamilton, (1996), Identity and Experience, LUZAC Oriental.
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