Important for Class 4
In this chapter we will learn about Gautam Buddha, Buddhism and its teachings. Gautam Buddha was a great religious teacher. He founded the religion called Buddhism.
About Gautam Buddha
The real name of Buddha was Siddharth Gautam. He was born in Lumbini in modern day Nepal about 2,500 years ago. He was born to the king Suddhodan and his queen Mayadevi. Soon after Siddharth was born, a wise man told his father that his son would either become a great king or a holy man. Thus, Suddhodan was afraid that his son would not follow in his footsteps and would become a holy man instead. So he did not allow the prince to go outside his palace and see the world. He ordered that the prince should see only riches and happiness around him. Siddharth was married to Yasodhara at the age of 16. They had a son called Rahul.
At the age of 29, Siddhartha started going out of the palace to see the outside world. During his visit he saw four things that changed his life completely. What were these four things – Let’s see.
- He saw an (1) old man which he had never seen before.
- He saw a (2) sick man and a (3) dead body. He realised that life is full of suffering (pain).
- He saw a (4) monk who was calm and peaceful. By seeing him, he realise that the monk’s way of life must be a way to end suffering.
By seeing the above four things Siddharth decided to give up his comfortable life and live a monk’s life. He lift his home and family in search of the knowledge that would end suffering.
After leaving his palace, Siddharth dresssed in simple clothes went from house to house begging for food like other holy men or monks. He started doing meditation and often went without food for days. Even after doing all these for six years, Siddharth still could not found a way to end his suffering. He realised that staying hungry would not help him in his search for knowledge. So, he stop starving his body and decided to do meditation under a pipal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar until he had gained complete knowledge.
While meditating under the pipal tree, Siddharth understood the cause of all suffering and how to end all suffering. Thus, due to this knowledge, he was called the Buddha, meaning the Enlighten One. An enlightened person is one who has great knowledge and wisdom. The tree under which Siddharth became enlightened is called the Bodhi tree. It is worshipped even today as a symbol of wisdom.
The Buddha’s Teaching
The Buddha taught the people Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths are:
- The world is full of suffering.
- Desire, or having many wishes, is the cause of all suffering.
- We can end our suffering by getting rid of our desires.
- We can get rid of our desires by following the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha gave eight ways in which a person get rid of desires. These are:
- Right Understanding – To understand that there is suffering because of desire; to understand the Four Noble Truths,
- Right Thought – To think right and good thoughts,
- Right Speech – To avoid lying, idle talk and harsh words,
- Right Behaviour – To do good things and not steal or kill or do things that harm others,
- Right Means of Livelihood – To earn a living in a way that does not harm other living beings,
- Right Effort – To avoid wrong and harmful thoughts, words and actions,
- Right Awareness – To always be aware of things within and around oneself and
- Right Meditation – To keep the mind calm by meditating.
The Buddha travelled to many places and imparted teachings of Buddhism to the people. He taught non-violence, peace and forgiveness. Gautam Buddha died at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. Buddha’s teachings are followed even today. From India, Buddhism spread to other countries like China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Japan.
A. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS.
- Why did Shuddhodan want his son to see only riches and happiness?
- What were the four sights that changed Siddharth’s life?
- Why did Siddharth leave his home and family?
- What were the Four Noble Truths?
- List the eight ways of controlling desire under the Eightfold Path.
B. TRUE OR FALSE.
- Wise men said that Siddharth would become a great man.
- Siddharth married Yashodhara and they had a son, Rahul.
- Siddharth meditated under a banyan tree at Bodh Gaya.
- The Buddha said that desire is the cause of all pain and suffering.
C. FILL IN THE BLANKS.
- Siddharth was born in ________ in Nepal.
- Siddharth saw a _________ who was very calm and peaceful.
- The tree under which Siddharth became enlightened is called the __________ tree.
- Suffering can be ended by following the _________.
- The religion taught by the Buddha is called __________.