As far as theology is concerned, it is of paramount importance to learn and be informed about the past, knowing how the then people believed in the traditional activities. Therefore, since my early childhood, I have yeaned to pursue a course in theology and religious studies to build a strong foundation of understanding how the things people believe in came to be.
I was particularly interested in studying Siddhartha Gautama to find out why he is recognized and respected in the Buddhist religion. Furthermore, I became interested in this study because I really wanted to acquaint myself with his historical background and where he gained his respect and powers and how he came to be an important icon in the Buddhism faith. Therefore, there are many reasons that pushed me to have interest in this study.
Apart form the above, I wanted to gain information to act as a teacher by informing other people about the person airing out their doubts so that they are able to get the real facts about who Siddhartha Gautama was and why he was a prominent person in the Buddhism religion.
There exist various researches, which one can use to gather information about various issues, which seem difficult to understand about this subject. In this case, I used various kinds of methods in gathering my information.
To get accurate information concerning Gautama Siddhartha as well as his origin, I used secondary data as my first source. In this method, I gathered information from the previous work done by early researchers about Gautama Siddhartha. For instance, I visited libraries specifically the section of religious studies and theology. I searched various books of theology that talk about the Buddhism.
From them, I was able to get some information about him: how he came about, his life history, how he grew and became a holy respected person in the Buddhism faith. Furthermore, I also went to the archives and studied on the historical information about the religion and theology.
I was in a position to gather vital information about him. Furthermore, I also went through periodicals and encyclopedias, which provided me with more information. The internet too provided me with a lot of information about Gautama.
There were various sites on the web, which had information about Siddhartha Gautama. For instance, I was able to get more information about his history. This title referred to as Buddha in the Buddhism context awakened or rather enlightened me on the origin of Buddhism as among the various religions. This information appeared in various sites on the internet and from reading a variety of books and archives about religion and theology.
Apart from secondary data, more information was also obtained from primary sources for instance, through interviews with some of the old people of the Buddhism society, who had information about who the person was and what the meaning of the title was and how he was seen in the Buddhism religion.
After receiving information from the varied sources, I combined and synthesized it. This information from the researches was able to provide me with a broad insight about how Gautama Siddhartha came into being: his birth, his vicissitudes in life for instance, how he was able to deal with the depression kind of life and how he used to live up to the level he accomplished, as prophesized by Ben.
The information therefore provided me with a clear insight of the whole issues surrounding him.
For instance, Buddha is known as Siddhartha Gautama and was born in the year 565 BC at the place called Lumbini, which is now called Nepal. Furthermore, other information about Gautama was a descendant of Gautama who had specific aims and objectives he wanted to achieve. Some of the achievements or aims were to achieving the aims.
The Buddhism believes Gautama Siddhartha, commonly known as Shakyamuni that he was to be born in the current era to bring salvation and save the world from the evils. Therefore, in the Buddhist traditions, Gautama Siddhartha lived hundreds of years before coming to the world and therefore he had fulfilled the Ten Paramitas. However, I learnt several things from the subject.
The meaning of Gautama Siddhartha became clear to me. It refers to an awakened one or an enlightened person, who takes the place of god in the Buddhism religion. This title acknowledges the fact that Gautama was a different kind of person who was to provide limelight to the people and save them from their wrongs and evils (Bechert 23).
However, he was not there in the beginning as O’Brien points out. He was born in the year 565 B C in the place known as Lumbini (O’Brien Para. 3). His life was full of depressions. He studied two major disciples’ enlightenment, which consisted of austerities and mediation.
For instance, in his study of mediation he was under the teachers by the name Uddaka-Ramaputta and Alara Akaalama. The teachers attained various states with Alara as he attained a much higher formless world in which there was no existence of physical matter. On the other side Uddaka, he managed to reach higher state where there was no existence of thought.
Siddhartha easily attained all these states without encountering any problem or difficulty. However, these achievements were only insignificant to his life since they could not help him overcome his psychological worries, explaining the reason as to why he resumed his depression. Surprising enough, he was aware that for him to live as per his wishes, he needed to free himself from the prevailing mental problems. Therefore, he could not go on with the teaching and left his teachers to proceed into finding the truths (O’Brien Para. 5).
Therefore, he practiced asceticism, a observance which was known to be practiced by the Samanas who believed that any human suffering was merely attached to the physical body of person and his mental spirit and that the only way the suffering could be freed was by detaching or separating the spirit which was imposed by the body.
Therefore relying on these beliefs, tormenting weakens the body in order to overpower it against the mental spirit (Armstrong 45). Therefore, Siddhartha went to the Ureva town and camped at the grove trees in order to find enlightenment. While in the place, he went thorough austerities for a period of 6 years, which saw him become weak and skinny because of difficult life situations.
After undergoing these difficulties he was brought a bowl of rice and milk by Sugata which he ate and recovered his strength and began a new life. This suffering “…made him to realize the secrets to true happiness and peace and the four noble’s truths” (O’Brien Para. 7). His four noble truths included the noble truth of suffering, arising of suffering, cessation of suffering and lastly, the path leading to the cessation of suffering (Hennaed Para.7).
In the noble truth of suffering, suffering consists of people’s old age, sorrow lamentation, disease, pain, death, grieves which is associated with those objects that human being do not like, therefore being unable to obtain those things that one desires results to suffering. Although there exists various moments of happiness, these moments do not last for a long time but instead last for a short time as opposed to the suffering.
The noble truth of the arising of suffering holds that suffering has some origin, for instance, from the time people are born, they begin craving for those things that makes them feel comfortable and happy. For instance, they have lust, sensual cravings, cravings to become wealthy and to command power, cravings for illusions and dreams among other cravings. All these cravings mark the beginning of suffering that people normally encounter in their life (George Para. 6).
The noble truth of cessation of suffering holds that one can control the suffering that people face and therefore reaching a time that the suffering ceases. This is the time when the cravings fade away, whereby they are detached to it, whereby these cravings are emptied from their minds and thinking.
That is the point whereby one experiences liberation from the sufferings. It therefore stands out that this suffering made him beware of the reality of the world hence making him find the right direction or way to liberation of the humanity from these sufferings hence attaining an eternal happiness.
Therefore, he went back and taught his teachers these nobles, which made him to gain many followers, which went further to witness the gathering of more than 1250 monks with an intention of hearing the teaching of Gautama Siddhartha. A day that has since been designated as the holiday of the Buddhist nations as a day of commemorations.
This learning has also equipped me with insights on how certain beliefs extend to the next generations. For instance, that of the ancient people, claiming enlightening through subjection of physical pain to reduce someone’s strength, could be practiced and through this, Gautama was able to come up with various truths, which he explained to the people. Therefore, he was able to liberate the people from their depression enabling them to know the reality rather than illusions.
The history of Gautama, as revealed in this subject, is interesting and therefore it opens one’s way of thinking and finding insights to the current happenings and problems faced by humankind. Furthermore, this topic has also enhanced my research skills as it has enabled me to put into practice various research methods I used in collection and interpretation of the information collected. Therefore, by deciding to pursue this field, I have gained gratification: the basis of my appreciation of the fact that I chose this study.
Armstrong, Kigen. Buddha. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.
Bechert, Heinz. When Did the Buddha Live? The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha. Delhi: Sri Satguru, 1996.
George, Bill. The Life of Siddhartha Gautama, 2010. Web. 17 March 2011.
Hennaed, Richard. Siddhartha Gautama: The Historical Siddhartha, 2001. Web. 17 March 2011. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/Buddhism/sidd.htm
O’Brien, Barbara. The life of the Buddha, 2009. Web. 17 March 2011.