The Founder of Buddhism was the historical Buddha (which means the Fully Enlightened One), born in Nepal (year 623 B.C.) as Prince Siddhartha of the Sakya Kingdom. The natives of ancient Nepal were the Kirat people (Tamang, Sherpa, Rai, Gurung etc.), better known as the Gurkhas today.
Prince Siddhartha left Nepal (in the Himalayan mountain range) at the age of 29 years old, crossed over to ancient India and eventually gained Enlightenment (Bodhi) at the age of 35 years old, at a place subsequently named as Bodhi Gaya. He became the Buddha.
The key teachings of the Buddha, encapsulated in the Four Noble Truths, are:
1. Living a simple life of love, non-violence and compassion will result in a person getting reborn in heaven, or in good circumstances as a human being. The former is consistent with Christ's Teachings. For the latter, clinical cases of human rebirth have been extensively researched and published by Dr. Ian Stevenson, MD and university Professor.
2. Practising meditation / yoga / Zen together with point 1, will bring about spiritual happiness here and hereafter. This is consistent with Laozi's Teachings.
3. Practising points 1 and 2, together with the initial knowledge of the intrinsic nature of all worldly things (impermanence, insubstantiality and insatisfactoriness) will lead to the end of rebirth, and go beyond heavenly existence. This is termed as Nibbana (Nirvana), which the Buddha has described to us as Highest Happiness, Freedom, Unique and Beyond Space-Time Continuum. Nibbana is not existence nor extinction.
4. The precise method for point 3 is known as the Noble Eight-fold Path.
At the age of 80 years old, the historical Buddha entered into Final Nibbana (Parinibbana). 500 years later (year 57 A.D.), the Buddha appeared in a dream to the Han Emperor Mingdi, which prompted the Emperor to ask his Court the next day about 'a golden man with light shining from his neck'. This account is recorded in China's historical archives. One of the official said he had heard of a holy man in the western region, who had find immortality and whose skin was golden. Subsequently, Han Mingdi sent an expedition to found out more. This marked the spread of Buddha's Teachings from the western region (Himalayas), and also India, into the central plains of ancient China.
2600 years later, Albert Einstein said:
"There is a third stage of religious experience…the individual feels the futility of human desires…beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism…contains a much stronger element of this."
Robert Oppenheimer said:
"If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no'. If we ask whether the electron's position changes with time, we must say 'no'. If we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no'. The Buddha has also given such answers when asked (about Parinibbana)."
Niels Bohr said:
"For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory...(we must turn) to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Laozi have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence."Buddhism's OriginThe founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kapilvastu city in what is now Nepal, exactly 2,553 years ago. The remains of his palace can still be found in Kapilvastu, Lumbini, in Nepal. According to tradition, he was born under a tree which lies between his mother's home and his father's home. Some people believe that the tree is still alive in Kapilvastu and worshiped by pilgrims.
Siddhartha was a prince, but after learning of the suffering beyond the palace walls he became dissatisfied with his luxurious life. He renounced materialistic richness and practiced a number of ascetic spiritual disciplines, the deprivations of which, tradition has it, nearly killed him. Eventually he realized that a moderate "middle way" to spirituality was more logical, and discovered the process of inward meditation. By practicing this, he became "enlightened," meaning that he was able to discern reality, as opposed to the confusion that confounds most people's thoughts. The word Buddha simply means "enlightened one."
Buddhists consider the primary Buddhist teachings, the "Dharma" to be eternal, and that they were only discovered by Gautama Buddha. In that sense, Buddhism did not originate anywhere. However, Siddhartha's insight and his teaching is, for practical purposes, the beginning of Buddhism. The traditional location where Siddhartha became enlightened is near a place known as Bodhgaya, and is a sacred place for Buddhists.
The Buddha (traditionally capitalized, as opposed to many other lowercase Buddhas) taught for forty to fifty years in the area of Northern India and Nepal. His students spread these teaching farther, transmitting them directly to their followers. Buddhist teachings today are based on the Buddha's Four Noble Truths and his expositions on those subjects, passed down by oral tradition as were the core teachings of most other beliefs. Some centuries after Siddhartha's death they were committed to writing in the Pali language, and later to Sanskrit.
Okay, this person's answer was very, very detailed, which is a plus. But as a Buddhist, I think I can provide a more personalized answer.
He was a man who found enlightenment by metatating for days. He found the middle way. We believe that if you give up all wants and desired, we can be like Siddhartha, the Buddha, the enlightened one, and find nirvana.
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