World History I
Ms. Catherine Davis, Instructor
Essay #2: Gainty: 3-2
Buddha first thought suffering was the path to understanding the reality of life. He joined a group of men who believed enlightenment could be found by denying the body nourishment and sleep, thereby hoping to master pain. For years he decided to deprive himself of food. At first, he allowed himself one grain of rice a day until he stopped all nourishment and lived on very little sleep. He grew as thin as a skeleton, and though the rain and sun beat down on him, he did not waver from his practices. Finally, realizing he was getting nowhere and that he had neglected his bodily needs, he still had not found an end to suffering. Thus, realizing, “these austerities are not the way to enlightenment,” he then went into the village and begged for food. Eating well again caused his physical features, weight, skin coloring and health, to come back to the way they were previously. Now that he was nourished Buddha decided to sit under a Bodhi tree in the town of Bodhgaya and meditate until he, “attained the supreme and absolute wisdom” and focused on the ultimate nature of all phenomena. He sat down and vowed, come what may, he would not move until he found an end to sorrow. Although demons tempted him with images of his past and evil spirits brought nightmares upon him, Buddha was centered on his goal. Mara, the chief of demons, tried to disturb his concentration by sending in many armies to attack Buddha. The army started shooting spears, sending fiery arrows, and throwing boulders at him. Of course, this did not interrupt Buddha’s meditation. Mara was determined to break Buddha’s concentration. Mara’s army surrounded him for twelve leagues around and nine leagues high. When it shouted it made an earthquake-like roaring and rumbling over a space of a thousand leagues. Mara, was mounted on his elephant, which was one hundred and...
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