Life Story of Buddha in Pictures: Part 2

Uma ShankariStarred Page By Uma Shankari, 29th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
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How Siddhartha the prince of Kapilavastu attains enlightenment

Siddhartha Declines Magadha King's Offer

Read Life Story of Buddha in Pictures: Part 1

Siddhartha the prince began to live like an ascetic and, like them, began to beg for food, moving from place to place and never staying in one place for long.

Siddhartha initially went to Rajgir (part of Magadha kingdom in today's Indian State of Bihar). King Bimbisara of Magadha learned of this wandering ascetic and invited him to the palace. He knew of Siddhartha's parentage, and offered him half his kingdom. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom when he became successful in his mission.

Siddhartha's Many Teachers and His Austere Life

Siddhartha left Rajgir and began seeking out renowned teachers, who taught him about the many religious philosophies of his day as well as how to meditate. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama, he went on to become a student of Udraka Rāmaputra. But after he had learned all they had to teach, his doubts and questions remained. He moved on.

By now Siddhartha had five companions who were on a similar quest as him. They tried to find enlightenment and release from suffering through physical discipline—enduring pain, holding their breath, and fasting nearly to starvation.

Siddhartha Turns Away From Extreme Austerity and Accepts Food From Sujata

One day, he collapsed in a river while bathing, and almost drowned. Realizing that extreme asceticism didn't work, he began to reconsider his path. He then accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata.

The five companions became disillusioned with Siddhartha believing that he had abandoned his search and left him.

Siddhartha Attains Enlightenment Under the Bodhi Tree

Gautama (another name for Siddhartha) then seated himself under a pipal (Ficus religiosa) tree—now known as the Bodhi tree—in Bodh Gaya, India, and vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment. He had discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation, away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.

Siddhartha, now called Buddha, realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and ways to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the "Four Noble Truths", which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. By mastering these truths, anybody can attain Nirvana, a state of supreme liberation and a perfect peace of a mind, free from ignorance, greed and hatred.

Buddha Teaches Four Noble Truths to His Five Companions

Buddha devoted himself to teaching, attracting hundreds of followers. At first, he was reluctant to teach, because what he had realized could not be communicated in words. Listeners without that direct experience would be stuck in conceptualizations and would surely misunderstand everything he said. But compassion persuaded him to make the attempt.

After his enlightenment, he went to the Deer Park in Isipatana (today's Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh). There he found the five companions who had abandoned him, and he taught them a path of practice centered on the Four Noble Truths to realize enlightenment for themselves.

He also converted Emperor Bimbisara to Buddhism at the Griddhakoota Hill in Rajgir.

Yashodhara and Rahul Become Buddha's Disciples

Eventually Buddha became reconciled with his father, King Suddhodana. His wife, the devoted Yasodhara, became a nun and a disciple.

Rahula, his son, became a novice monk at the age of 7 and spent the rest of his life with his father.

The Buddha continued to teach during his life, until passing away at the age of 81.


Buddhism, Four Noble Truths, Gautama Buddha, King Bimbisara, Nirvana, Rajgir, Sarnath

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author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
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author avatar Jerry Walch
29th Jul 2012 (#)

Another enlightening star page, if you will forgive my play on words. Very well-written and illustrated. I really love the illustrations. Keep up the good work.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
29th Jul 2012 (#)


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author avatar M G Singh
30th Jul 2012 (#)

Good post.

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author avatar Retired
2nd Sep 2012 (#)

:) Namaste~

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