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During the 5th Century BCE, Siddhartha, meaning 'He Who Achieves His Goal,' was born as a prince in Nepal. His father, Suddhodhana, was the chief of the Shakya Clan in India, while his mother, Queen Maha Maya, was the princess of Koli. He was married to Yasodhara and had a son named Rahula. However, he soon realized that living a materialistic life was not going to bring eternal happiness or protection from suffering. At the age of 29, while on his ride to see the countryside, he saw four different things that opened his eyes and gave him a whole new perspective on life. These four things were an old man, a corpse, a sick man, and a wandering ascetic. He was disturbed by these sites, and he wondered how he could enjoy his life so much when there was so much suffering in the world. Siddhartha realized that he had to leave his life at the palace to find the answer to worldwide suffering. He decided to leave his royal duties to go on a journey in search of enlightenment. At first, Siddhartha struggled to find a teacher who could help him overcome suffering. He decided to solve it by himself and for six years he led a life of self-discipline and abstinence by surviving on roots, fruits, and raw food. In a very short period of time, Siddhartha mastered the art of Yogic meditation, but nothing seemed to satisfy him. Eventually, Siddhartha practiced with various meditation teachers and finally reached enlightenment. He became Buddha, The Awakened One, and has been honored by Buddha statues for centuries. There are over 100 different types of Buddha statues, and each one depicts a various pose, posture, expression, and hand gesture that symbolizes a significant part of Buddha's life. Some of the most foundational elements of Buddhism are found in the Five Precepts. Like the Judeo/Christian 10 Commandments, these simple rules form the core of acceptable, ethical behavior. The Five Precepts are: do not kill, do not steal, do not engage in sexual misconduct, do not lie, and do not use intoxicants. However, some of the greatest buddha wisdom came from him during his last moments on earth. With his dying breath, he encouraged his followers to work for their deliverance and told them that happiness is in learning that nothing in the world is permanent. His final request of his followers was: “All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” Buddhism is the 4th largest religion in the world. Today there are over 360 million followers of Buddhism, and the countries with the largest Buddhist populations are China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Check out our Buddha articles in SivanaBlog.