Adhering to Buddha’s Dhamma:
Anichcha, Dukkha and Sansara mean impermanence in the recurring cycle
of birth. Siddartha determined to discover a panacea of the universal
suffering. At the age of 29 he abandoned his private life and decided
that the time was ripe for him to leave the palace in search of a way to
be free from the sorrowful cycle of rebirth.
He left the palace after biding a silent farewell to his wife who was
sleeping with the baby held against her breast. There after he went
forth to homelessness as an ascetic very much against the will of his
He ordered his constant companion and favourite charioteer Channa to
get ready the horse Kanthaka. He left the palace at midnight, crossed
the river Anoma (Neranjana) making his historic journey towards the
After a period of rest on the bank, he shaved his head and beard, and
put on his austere robes and handed over the garments and ornaments to
Channa with instructions to hand them over to the palace.
He garbed himself with yellow, like an ascetic. From then onwards the
ascetic Siddartha who as a prince enjoyed every thing led a life of
He wandered about the valley of the Ganges bare footed and bare
headed meeting famous religious leaders. His dress was made of discarded
rags and was living on the little that the charitable gave him and
submitting himself to rigorous ascetic practices.
For 6 long years under the tutelage of the very able and reputable
teachers Alara Kalama and Uddika Ramaputra he submitted himself to
rigorous training following instructions given by the teachers, with
devotion and enthusiasm.
Although the teachers were fully satisfied and overjoyed the ascetic
Siddartha’s vision was not satisfied for he was seeking for a complete
cessation of all suffering.
Disappointed of the masters he wandered up and down in the state of
Magadha and arrived at Urawela, the present Buddha-Gaya. Over there he
spotted a flowing river with a peaceful surrounding for meditation. The
atmosphere was peaceful and the scenery was very beautiful.
At the time the belief in ancient India was that salvation could only
be achieved through strick ascertism and Siddartha underwent many
vicissitudes. For a period as long as 6 years the ascetic Siddartha made
considerable sacrifices and underwent self mortification with great zeal
with the end result that once the handsome priest was reduced to a mere
Any acceleration of this process would result in the goal receding
from him. He had practiced self-mortification and felt very weakened
without achieving anything.
“His gold tinted skin turned pale, blood appeared to dry up, muscles
lost their firmness and the eyes were dark and blurred.”
At this stage the ascetic realized and was fully convinced through
personal experience that Enlightenment could not be achieved by self
mortification or extreme ascetism and he adapted the Majjhima Patipadda
or the middle path, He on his own decided to consume some milk porridge
offered by a kind lady Sujatha and he was determined not to rise until
he attained enlightenment.
One day as he was seated in a crouched position under a tree at Gaya,
since then known as the Bodhi tree or Bo-tree as it afterwards came to
be called. Wrapped up in deep meditation he garnered that super power
which made him to remember his past lives in the various world’s he had
lived (Pubbeniwasa nana).
In this search which ended up with enlightenment he found Tanha
(avarice) and attachment to worldly life as the root cause of all evil
in humanity which results in sorrow and fear from birth to death and of
life after life. Anicha, Dukkha, Sansara means impermanence and sorrow
in the recurring cycle of birth.
On his 35th year he attained the Supreme State of perfection or
Buddhahood. This was achieved unaided and unguided by any supernatural
agency. No supernatural being appeared and revealed any thing by
whispering into his ear. Contrary to popular opinion the Buddha was a
human being. Like any other man be was born, he lived and died as a man.
Neither did the Buddha claim to be a supernatural being. He also did
not say what he taught were discovered by him by extraneous
After Enlightenment as a mark of gratitude he sat under the Fig tree
(Ficus religiosa) that protected him. His first sermon was delivered at
the deer park at Isipathana where he mentioned the cruz of his teaching
to the five bhikkus who attended on him. during his struggle for
enlightenment, namely Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji.
He summed up his whole doctrine in the “Four Noble Truths” and
proclaimed the Dhamma in a discourse called the Dhamma Cakkappa rattana
sutta. From then he taught all classes humans without making any
differences. Up to his eightieth year his life he proclaimed the path of
deliverance founded by him.
India reached the zenith of her glory during the Buddhist period
after Asoka, the great Buddhist Emperor of India. Buddhism spread
quickly over the whole of India, in his lifetime and after his death by
about 100 A.D. but soon fell in to decay to give way to Hinduism and
From then, out of infinite compassion to all beings he taught the way
to salvation which he had discovered. The world is a place of suffering,
its joys are transient and all lives end in death and decay.
He preached to the five to “avoid the two extremes”, attachment to
the pleasure of the senses. which is low and vulgar, and attachment to
self mortification which is painful, both are unprofitable.
Buddhism is not tied to any community or locality but is a religion
residing in the hearts of men. In the Three Greatest Men in History, H.
G. Wells 1 states: “In the Buddha you see clearly a man, simple, devout,
lonely, battling for light, a vivid human personality, not a myth.
He too gave a message to mankind universal in character. Many of our
best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and
discontents of life are due, he taught, to selfishness. Before a man can
become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself.
Then he merges into a greater being. Buddhism in a different language
called men to self-forget fullness... In some ways he was nearer to us
and our needs. He was lucid upon our individual importance in service...
and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality.”
For forty five years after his enlightenment the Buddha travelled
through the region of the middle Ganges explaining his doctrine and
founding religious communities. He taught to all classes of humans which
included kings and peasants, brahmins and outcastes, to marauders and
robbers proclaiming the path of deliverance found by him. He was
concerned with man or rather with all living suffering beings. All
living beings are equally entitled to sympathy and respect.
But each is responsible for its own acts, his own mind and ultimately
his own salvation. According to him those who wished to escape from
suffering should follow the Dhamma.
He sent out his disciples and enjoined them to wonder over the world
“go ye bhikkus and wonder forth, for the good of the many, for the
happiness of the many in compassion for the world. for the welfare for
the good, for the happiness of gods and men.”
“Caratha bhikkhave Carikam bahujanahitaya bahujana sukkaya
lokanukampaya athaya hitaya sukhaya devamanussanum” (Mahavagga Pg.
19)Three months before passing away the Buddha addressed his disciples
and said. “I have delivered sermons to you during these forty five
years. You must learn them well and treasure them.
You must practice them and teach them. This will be of great use for
the welfare of the living and the welfare of those who come after you.”