The Buddha

The Buddha was born and named as Gautama Siddhartha, a prince in India in the 6th century B.C. His father was a king who ruled an Indian tribe called the Shakyas. A holy man prophesied great things for the young Siddhartha: He would either be a great king or military leader or he would be a great spiritual leader. To keep his son from witnessing the miseries and suffering of the world, Siddhartha's father raised him in opulence in a palace built just for the boy and sheltered him from knowledge of religion and human hardship.                                                                               

In his 20’s one day he ventured out beyond the palace walls and was quickly confronted with the realities of human frailty: He saw a very old man, and Siddhartha's charioteer explained that all people grow old. Questions about all he had not experienced led him to take more journeys of exploration, and on these subsequent trips he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse and an ascetic. The charioteer explained that the ascetic had renounced the world to seek release from the human fear of death and suffering. Siddhartha was overcome by these sights, and the next day, at age 29, he left his kingdom, wife and son to lead an ascetic life, and determine a way to relieve the universal suffering that he now understood to be one of the defining traits of humanity.

 For the next six years, Siddhartha lived an ascetic life and partook in its practices, studying and meditating using the words of various religious teachers as his guide. He practiced his new way of life with a group of five ascetics, and his dedication to his quest was so stunning that the five ascetics became Siddhartha's followers. When answers to his questions did not appear, however, he redoubled his efforts, enduring pain, fasting nearly to starvation, and refusing water. Whatever he tried, Siddhartha could not reach the level of satisfaction he sought, until one day when a person offered him a bowl of rice. As he accepted it, he suddenly realized that corporeal austerity was not the means to achieve inner liberation, and that living under harsh physical constraints was not helping him achieve spiritual release. So he had his rice, drank water and bathed in the river. The five ascetics decided that Siddhartha had given up the ascetic life and would now follow the ways of the flesh, and they promptly left him. From then on, however, Siddhartha encouraged people to follow a path of balance instead of one characterized by extremism.

He called this as Middle path. No extremes.

One night, Siddhartha sat under a tree, vowing to not get up until the truth he sought came to him, and he meditated by observing life source the breath, Siddhartha became centered and saw the answer to the questions of suffering that he had been seeking for so many years. In that moment of pure enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha. That meditation method he found was given as Ana-Apana-Sati to the world.

This is a Pauli word where Ana – means Inhale/Apana Means – Exhale and Sati means combination. Ana-Apana-Sati means concentrating on the natural flow of breath which is the life source.


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