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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:25

Video transcript

we're now going to talk about one of the most significant figures in all of human history and that is siddhartha gautama who would later be known as Buddha as the awakened one or the enlightened one now before we get into his life let's think about the context in which he was born so we see from this timeline most accounts places birth at around five 63 BCE although there are some historians who think that he might have been born about a hundred hundred fifty years later than that but either way that would have been near the end of the Vedic period and that Vedic period is named after the Vedas these Hindu scriptures written by those indo-aryans who came into India most historians believe around 1500 BCE or maybe before that now by the time of Siddhartha's birth Hinduism was really starting to take shape many of the things that we would not recognize as modern-day Hindu practice already existed and he was born into that world now on this map here you see the major sites of Buddhist life he's born in lumbini modern-day southern Nepal he eventually meditates at bud gaya under the Bodhi tree where he reaches enlightenment he does his first preaching at Sarnath and then he eventually dies at cushion' Nagar and to modern Buddhist these are still considered major pilgrimage sites so he is born according to tradition at Lumbini his mother is in transit and born along the way at Lumbini his mother dies shortly afterwards he's raised by his aunt but his father in some accounts is a king a chieftain and he's able to give the young Siddhartha a Gotama a very good a very sheltered life and this life continues into his 20s he's able to get married have a child but at the age of 29 he's able to leave the compound he's able to see the world as it really is outside of this world that his father has created for him and he sees old age he sees sickness he sees poverty and this creates a lot of consternation in Siddhartha he wonders why the so why is there this suffering in the world and so he decides once again at age 29 to seek the truth to try to understand the universe as it is and remember this is an India where it was common practice for religious ascetics to go off into the woods and to meditate about the true nature of reality tried to obtain moksha so he goes and follows that same practice and for six years he is going through the woods he's wandering he has left all of his possessions behind he has left his family behind he famously starts off trying to go in the mold of these Hindu ascetics letting go of everything including trying to deprive the body of food and water and he almost kills himself but then eventually at age 35 he makes his way to the town of gaya now known as bog gaya and over there he meditates under a sacred fig tree later known as the Bodhi tree and he meditates there for seven days and on the seventh day it strikes him he has a revelation he awakens so to speak and according to Buddhist tradition from that moment he becomes the Buddha or the awakened one and for the next 49 days he makes no contact with anyone but he eventually makes his way to sarnath and at a deer park there he reencounter 'he's five of his previous followers and they had given up on him but now they see that there's a change in Siddhartha now the Buddha and he begins to explain to them what he has seen what he has discovered this is a quotation from the dhammacakkappavattana sutta what it was called in the Pali language which was the language of Buddhas time and it can be translated as setting the wheel of dhamma which is another word for dharma the sanskrit word Dharma in motion and Dharma in Hinduism means this cosmological law what you should follow in your life Gama in Buddhism or Dharma and Buddhism can mean that but it can also mean the teach Buddha and the dhammacakkappavattana sutta the sayings of Buddha at Sarnath are considered to be his first teachings to his followers there are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth which to that which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects base vulgar common ignoble unprofitable and that which is devoted to self affliction painful ignoble unprofitable avoiding both of these extremes the middle way leads to calm to direct knowledge to self awakening to unbinding so this is considered to be but this first reference to the notion of the middle way and what's interesting here he's saying things that are consistent with many of the hindu ascetics of the time that you shouldn't devote yourself to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects baseball ger common ignoble but he's also saying that you shouldn't go the other extreme either you shouldn't devote yourself to self affliction painful ignoble unprofitable but that too is not going to lead to the truth he says avoid both of these extremes the middle way now in the dhammacakkappavattana sutta he goes on to describe what are known as Four Noble Truths now this monks is the noble truth of suffering or dukkha birth is suffering aging is suffering death is suffering sorrow lamentation pain distress and despair are suffering association with the unbel of Dizz suffering separation from the loved is suffering not getting what is wanted is suffering so the first noble truth he's describing this notion of dukkha this notion of suffering and later on he goes to expound on it saying it's not just traditional notions of sorrow lamentation pain distress but it's also trying to desire or pursue anything that is temporary in nature will eventually lead to the or suffering and this monks is the noble truth of the origination of suffering the craving that makes for further becoming accompanied by passion and delight Rell now here and now they're craving for sensual pleasure craving for becoming craving for non becoming so that cause of the suffering is is craving craving for these impermanent things and this monks is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering the remainder list fading and cessation renunciation relinquishment release and letting go of that very craving so here he's saying look you don't have to suffer there's a way to escape from it and it's essentially to stop that craving that's the third noble truth and this monk is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering so how do you actually practice life in a way that you can cease this suffering precisely this Noble Eightfold Path which is another concept which is quoted a lot in Buddhism this notion of these eight things that you need to do in order to escape from this suffering from this book uh from this craving right view right resolve right speech right action Right Livelihood right effort right mindfulness and right concentration this comes from the Dhammapada which you can interpret as the path to dhamma and Buddha says all that we are is the result of what we have thought it is founded on our thoughts it is made up of our thoughts which is a core idea in Buddhism that this notion of separateness this is just due to our thoughts it's all happening in our mind there the physical reality that you think is somehow more permanent than the transient thoughts it's all happening in your thought it's all happening in your mind and the separateness is really an illusion and once again very similar idea to what we see in the Upanishads now one final idea what the taught throughout his life and eventually dies at cushion agur which is one of those four pilgrimage sites that we saw on that map but what really accelerated the spread of Buddhism beyond India was the reign of the emperor Ashoka during the Maurya Empire and we talked about Ashoka we have a whole video on him but he eventually converts to Buddhism and he sponsors it he builds temples and he sponsors missionaries to spread Buddhism from Europe all the way to China and so Buddha was obviously the central figure but Ashoka was the accelerant that spread Buddhism to the world