I. Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism
A. Lived approximately 563 B. C. to 483 B. C.
B. He was a prince from Northern India
C. Married at 19 to his cousin
D. Apocryphal story of the Four Passing Sights
1. Whether this story is literally true or not has no bearing on the truth of Buddhism. Buddhism, like Hinduism (and unlike Judaism and Christianity) is a non-historical religion)
E. Renounced life as a nobleman and went out on a religious quest as a homeless wanderer at 29.
F. Attempted to find religious satisfaction through knowledge- this failed
G. Also sought enlightenment through extreme bodily asceticism
H. At 35, under a tree he discovers the secret—that his failure to achieve release from suffering was due to desire or craving-tanha is the Pali word for it, a concept also found in the Upanishads. However, the Upanishads connect this with eliminating earthly desires to as to desire only Brahman-atman, Buddha emphasized not a metaphysical solution but a practical psychological one.
1. Another apocryphal story about his being tempted by the Evil One.
I. At this point the Buddha achieved enlightenment; he had freed himself from the bonds of desire and had achieved a state of wakefulness.
J. Now he faced a problem: should he share the doctrine he had discovered?
K. Decided to advocate a middle way between self-indulgence and asceticism
L. Established the Buddhist order, the sangha
M. Ten Precepts of for Buddhist Monks-the first five are required of laity as well as monks
1. Refrain from destroying life
2. Do not take what is not given
3. Abstain from unchastity
4. Do not lie or deceive
5. Abstain from intoxicants
6. Eat moderately and not after noon
7. Do not look on at dancing, singing or dramatic spectacles
8. Do not affect the use of garlands, scents, unguents, or ornaments
9. Do not use high or broad beds
10. Do not accept gold or silver
N. The Buddha accepted women as nuns, but also said it would harm the longevity of his message.
O. Died of food poisoning at the age of 80.