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The Buddha


Buddha

The life of Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people and Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince. According to custom, he married at the young age of sixteen to a girl named Yasodhara. His father had ordered that he live a life of total seclusion, but one day Siddhartha ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of the inevitable suffering of life. The next day, at the age of twenty-nine, he left his kingdom and new-born son to lead an ascetic life and determine a way to relieve universal suffering. For six years, Siddhartha submitted himself to rigorous ascetic practices, studying and following different methods of meditation with various religious teachers. But he was never fully satisfied. One day, however, he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it. In that moment, he realized that physical austerities were not the means to achieve liberation. From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path of balance rather than extremism. He called this The Middle Way. That night Siddhartha sat under the bodhi tree, and meditated until dawn. He purified his mind of all defilements and attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, thus earning the title Buddha, or "Enlightened One." For the remainder of his eighty years, the Buddha preached the Dharma in an effort to help other sentient beings reach enlightenment.

The Four Noble Truths

(1) Dukkha
(2) The origin of dukkha
(3) The passing beyond dukkha
(4) The noble eightfold ways leading to the pacification of dukkha

Dukkha (Pāli; Sanskrit): sorrow, suffering, affliction, pain, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, aversion, disappointment, unsatisfactoriness, lamentation, grief, despair, association with the unbeloved, separation from the loved, not getting what is wanted.

The term is probably derived from dukstha, "standing badly," "unsteady," "uneasy."

or

In his first teaching, the Buddha expounded the basic doctrine of the Four Noble Truths.

He first declared what he had learned the day he left the palace; namely, that suffering is universal and inevitable.

In the Second Noble Truth, he explains that the immediate cause of suffering is desire. The ultimate cause of suffering, however, is ignorance concerning the true nature of reality.

The Third Noble Truth encourages humanity, asserting that there is a way to dispel ignorance and relieve suffering.

This path is detailed in the Fourth Noble Truth in the form of the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold Path

According to the Buddha, the Eightfold path is the means to achieve liberation from suffering.

Specifically, this path includes

(1) Right View (or Right Understanding, or Right Perspective) - samma ditthi

"And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to dukkha, knowledge with regard to the origination of dukkha, knowledge with regard to the cessation of dukkha, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: This is called right view.

(2) Right Thought (or Right Intention, or Right Resolve) - samma sankappa

"And what is right thought? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right thought."

(3) Right Speech- samma vaca

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

(4) Right Action - samma kammanta

"And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action."

(5) Right Livelihood - samma ajiva

"And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood."

(6) Right Effort (or Right Endeavour) - samma vayama

"And what, monks, is right effort?

[i] "There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skilful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skilful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

(7) Right Mindfulness - samma sati

"And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself — ardent, alert, and mindful — putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in and of themselves... the mind in and of itself... mental qualities in and of themselves — ardent, alert, and mindful — putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness...

"This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, and for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference."

(8) Right Concentration - samma samadhi

"And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. With the tilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture he remains in equanimity, mindful, and fully alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters and remains in the third jhana, and of him the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure and pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration."

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