Buddhism,Taoism, Cufucianism

BUDDHISM

Gautama Buddha, previously known as Prince Siddhartha (before his enlightenment) founded the religion of Buddhism. Gautama Buddha was born to Queen Maha-Maya at Kapilavastu, Nepal, Indian. Buddha taught and organized the Sangha, monastic orders, until his death at Kusinagara, at the age of 80. There are 308,000,000 Buddhist devotees in the world today. They believe that there has been Buddha before Him; Bodhisattvas who come as Saviors of all and that all beings are Buddha whether they realize it or not.

There are 4 cardinal events in the life of Buddha that represents 4 major pilgrimage centers for Buddhists: His Birth at Kapilavastu, His Enlightenment at Bodhgaya, His First Sermon at Sarnath, and His Death at Kusinagara. There is a Gandhara style, frieze on stone, located in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., that shows all 4 of these events. After Alexander the Great conquered Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir, these areas, for the first few centuries, were not allowed to portray images of Buddha. However, the Gandhara style, of the late 2nd and early 3rd century AD, derives from the Hellenistic and Roman style, so appealing to the Western taste. The “Buddha Head”, Gupta style, 5th century AD of Sarnath shows the face’s combination of Buddha awareness and artistic style with its balance of all the features.

The story of Buddha’s Divine Conception begins with the Future Buddha still in the heaven of the Tusita gods, where He decided to arise in the world. He was reminded, by deities, of his accumulated merit, saying to him “Attain in your next existence your high destiny” as He died. Then he was conceived in the womb of Queen Maha-Maya. At that very time during the Midsummer Festival, in the city of Kapilavastu, Queen Maha-Maya, feel asleep on the royal couch, and dreamed of four angels that came and lifted her up, couch and all, to the Himalayan Mountains, under a sal-tree. Wives of the guardian angels bathed her in Anotatta Lake, clothed her in divine garments and flowers and anointed her with perfumes. Then they laid her down upon a divine couch, in a golden mansion, at nearby Silver Hill. The Future Buddha had become a white elephant wandering about on Gold Hill. Upon reaching Silver Hill, he plucked a white lotus and went into the golden mansion and walked around his mother’s couch. Striking her on her side he seemed to enter her womb. The instant the Future Buddha was conceived glorious and wonderful things happened over all the worlds. Four angels kept guard to ward off all harm from the Future Buddha and the Future Buddha’s mother.

After carrying the Future Buddha, for ten months, Queen Maha-Maya, was sent on her way, with great fan fare, to visit her kinsfolk in Devadaha. Between the two cities, in a pleasure grove of sal-trees, called Lumbini Grove, she decided to stop and give birth standing up. She reached to hold a branch, and immediately her pains came, while people hung a curtain around her. At that moment four pure-minded Maha-Brahma angels came bearing a golden net and received the Future Buddha on it and placed Him before his mother. Then they delivered Him to the four guardian angels, which delivered Him to men who received him on a coil of fine cloth and let Him unto the ground. Gods and men made offerings to him saying “Great Being! There is none your equal, much less your superior.” After Buddha has surveyed all the ten directions, he went forward followed by Maha-Brahma holding over him a white umbrella, Suyama bearing a fan and other divinities the other symbols of royalty in their hands.

Queen Maha-Maya tells the King Suddhodana of her dream of His Divine Birth. The king invited Brahamans to interpret the dream who said “ You will have a son. If he continues to live the household life, he will become a Universal Morarch; but if he leaves the household life and retires from the work, he will become a Buddha, and roll back the clouds of sin and folly of this world.” The king asked “What shall my son see to make him retired from the world?” The Brahmans said “The four signs: A decrepit old man, a sick man, a dead man, and