A prince was born in the fifth century B.C.E. in Lumbini, Nepal which situated at the border of Nepal and India. His name was Siddartha Gotama. His mother died a week after giving birth and his mother’s sister who was later his father’s second wife brought him up in a luxury kingdom with all the good enjoyment surround him.
His loving royal parents wished that he could grow up to be their heir to take the crown as a great king. So they protected the young prince from any contact with unpleasant situations. At the age of sixteen, he was married, and his son was born when he was twenty-nine years old. With the wealthy luxurious living in the palace which he could get anything that he needed, he then decided to look for outside the palace. Before Prince Gotama set his adventure to see the outside palace, his father the king ordered to clear the street with any unpleasant sights. Even though, he still saw a sick person, an old person and a corpse.
He was amazed to realize that there were sufferings in human life. When he took another tour outside his palace, he saw an ascetic who tried to cultivate for the liberation from life and death. This gave the prince a decision that one should leave attachment of craving and practiced as ascetic to find the truth of liberation from sufferings in life. In the middle of the night, the prince left his wife and infant son with the palace behind and set out for his journey of cultivation. As an ascetic, the Prince abandoned all his jewellery and luxury clothing and turned himself only with a saffron-robed and a shaven head. He looked for spiritual teachers to guide him the meditation for cultivation of liberation. After experiencing the meditation where he learned from a few spiritual teachers to attain a refined inner calmness, but he found that these were unable to help him to find his solution to the end of suffering. So he decided to reduce his food intake and further practice his meditation.
After six years, he realized that asceticism is not the path, for his body was too weak without food and it affected his mind. At this point he abandoned this ascetic practice. He then took some food that was offered to him to sustain his energy and prepared for another alternation path of awakening. He sat under a tree which later known as the Bodhi tree, and developed into deep profound meditation. He has encountered inner influence of sense desire and death in his meditation. However, he overcame all of the hindrances and gained the perfect awakening at the age of thirty-five of the unconditioned Nirvana, which is beyond birth, ageing and death.
According to Buddhism, stated by R. Gethin that an awaken one is known as Buddha in perfection, a Tathagata, one who comes an goes in accordance with the profoundest way of things (1998 pg. 27). Buddha then walked to Sarnath to look for his ascetic friends who left him earlier, and taught them his way of finding the truth of cultivation in liberation. The five ascetics took their refuge to Buddha. From then on, Buddha and his disciples continue to teach from Sarnath to Kushinagar where he gave the last teaching and left this world into Nirvana.
Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism by Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. 1998
By Master Lian Zhi M.A.