Buddha’s journey from Kapilvastu, Uttar Pradesh to Bodh Gaya, Bihar was not a straight one way path. It had lots of turns and twists with “n” number of hurdles and struggles. This journey although was started with the help of other gurus and monks, ended in seclusion where Siddharth himself created a path all alone. Here are the steps of Buddha towards the Path of Enlightenment.
1. Starts Leading an Ascetic Life
Siddharth’s first step towards enlightenment was asceticism where, in order to pursue his spiritual goals he renounced all the worldly pleasures through an abstemious lifestyle. He started his ascetic life from Rajagaha, the first capital of Magadha which was then under King Bimbisara.
2. Practices Austerity under First Guru Alara Kalam
Siddharth was a prince and over the years he had only led a life full of luxury and comfort. However, he was so determination towards spiritual goal that he learnt how to live and sustain in austerity. Alara Kalam, Buddha’s first guru also taught him meditation and the art of concentration which helped Buddha to attain Nirvana in the later stages.
3. Attains the Knowledge of Yoga under Second Guru Udaka Ramaputta
After gaining the complete knowledge of meditation and equaling Alara Kalam, Buddha did not stop but moved ahead in his quest for more wisdom. He next went to his second Guru Udaka Ramaputta who taught him high level of meditative consciousness. Buddha equaled his second guru as well.
4. Siddharth along with Kaundinya & group practices rigorous austerity
Siddharth was later joined by Kaundinya and 4 other monks (all 5 from Kapilvastu) to gain enlightenment by practicing rigorous austerity. The group of 6 through indigence of material and food and also by practicing self-mortification tried to attain enlightenment. Siddharth’s meeting with the group and working together towards enlightenment is not shown in the ongoing Zee TV serial Buddha.
5. Realizes that austerity is not the right path towards enlightenment
Siddharth did not eat anything for days. But this made him pale and weak – so much that one fine day while bathing, he almost drowned in the river. This made him realize that austerity is not the right path. He then concentrated only on jhana – meditation. This sudden change of opinion and thoughts separated Siddharth from Kaundinya and group and from here Buddha continued his journey all alone.
6. Discovers The Middle Way – The Path of Liberation
Soon after leaving the mode of austerity and accepting the meditative techniques, Buddha solely discovered the middle path – a path of wisdom which was a central path between self mortification and hedonism or extreme self indulgence. This was the Noble EightFold Path.
7. The Awakening
Just before enlightenment, when Buddha was meditating and was all weakened due to starvation, he accepted rice pudding and milk from a village girl Sujata. The village girl Sujata actually thought Buddha as some spirit due to his abnormally thin and pale body. This incident has been shown in the Buddha serial briefly but in its own dramatized way.
8. Buddha Towards Enlightenment
Gautam Buddha then at the age of 39 sat under a pipal tree (now Bodhi Tree) with a pledge not to open the eyes till he seeks truth. On the 49th day of meditation, Buddha got enlightenment. During this period, Kaundaniya and his other 4 associates thought Siddharth has become undisciplined and they left the place.
Following this, Siddharth was known as Buddha, the Enlightened Monk. As soon as Buddha gained enlightenment he rushed back to find his two teachers. However, both of them had died by then. He then found Kaundaniya and so Kaundaniya became his first follower or the first bhikku.
By: Deepti Verma
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