Tko je Buddha, who is buddha

Who is Buddha?

The story of Buddhism begins with the story about Buddha’s life, a human being that, through his own efforts and persistence, managed to unlock the secret of birth and fathom hidden laws that govern all the destinies in this universe, discovering important truth that made him the teacher of ‘gods and humans’, outside of the conditioned realm and permanently liberated from suffering, discontent and misfortune.

The story is considered so informative and inspiring that it is narrated yearly, with smaller or bigger variations of the same basic structure, on the day that celebrates our potential for the awakening and the person who expressed it and demonstrated it –  Buddha’s Day or Vesakh.

Siddhārtha Gautama was born more than 2500 years ago, as a prince of a small kingdom in the tribe of Šakya in Northern India, close to the border with the present-day Nepal. His father received a premonition that his son will not have an ordinary life – he will be celebrated either as a world leader of all four cardinal points, or as a big sage who will rule with knowledge and understanding, For the father who was of Kshatriya order, true value was in the worldly leadership. He decided to make his son’s choice easier by sparing him any insight into life’s difficulties that might propel him to inquire into deeper existential questions and become an ascetic searching for wisdom. He built four magnificent palaces for him, one for each season, and immersed him in all imaginable luxuries and pleasures. When the time to get married arrived, princess Yaśodharā of an equal status was found and soon they got a son Rahula.

Four signs and departure

Life of pleasures did not silence Siddharta’s inborn curiosity – he convinced his charrioter to take him out of the palace and show him the world. On their first outing they encountered a sick person, on the second outing a person weakened from old age, on the third outing a dead person, and on the fourth outing an ascetic in search for answers to existential human questions. Deeply disturbed and clearly aware that life he lived up until then will not protect him from the inevitable sickness, old age and death, he decided to depart from the palace under the cloack on night, abandoning his royal destiny, protection of his order, position and status, on a quest for freedom from existential shackles.

He looked for guidance and company of renown masters in the art of inner stillness and absorption. Upon completing their practices, he realized that those sublime states of happiness are equally transient like the happiness of external pleasures. He turned to the path of subjugation and asceticism, thinking that deadening the senses will stop the mind shifting toward and away from its objects.

Finding answers through self-reliance

The quest was fruitless for 6 years. Realizing that, one day he decided to abandon everything he learned and knew. After years of restraint, he nourished his body with a decent meal and sat on a fresh bundle of grass under a bodhi tree, vowing not to get up until he attained awakening, even if ‘his blood dries out and his flesh turns into dust’. He recalled an experience he had as a boy, an experience of total awareness and presence in the moment, and from there on he progressed through deeper and deeper absorptions accompanied with crystal clarity of the mind, up until he reached complete awakening under the glow of the morning star. Resolution from and extinguishing of sorrows and suffering, realizing a full potential of human birth. He became Buddha, The Awakened One. 

The power of his realization shook the earth and all realms of existence. The air became luminous and the rain of flowers fell from the sky. The cycle of birth and death was stopped, the roots of attachments cut and the gate out of samsāra was opened.

For the next 45 years Buddha was traveling, teaching and transmitting the insight he gained on the night of his awakening to everyone who had ears to hear it and a wish to accomplish the same. Even though he was transmitting ‘only a small part of his full insight’, he left behind a huge collection of talks and teachings tailored for different people, occasions and problems. His teachings have forever transformed the spiritual landscape of the world, expanding the noble heritage of consistent nonviolence, compassion, altruism and cultivated wisdom far beyond the land  of his origins. 

The silent sage of the Šākyas tribe, which is the translation of the name Šākyamuni,with his heroic act that reverberates into our times shows us the depth of our potential.He showed us that the accomplished humanity expresses itself in the acts of compassion and wisdom, and that victory over demons of selfishness is awarded by happiness and lightness of being.