the life of the buddha- sample essay

a sample essay answer. approx grade c/b, please do not be stupid and copy and paste this as your own work! just guideline on what sort of stuff to include

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Examine the influence that luxury and asceticism had on the subsequent life and teachings of the
Buddha. (25)
When considering the effect of luxury and asceticism had on the life and teachings of the Buddha,
there are many things that should be taken into account. Firstly, some people would argue
that Buddha's (Siddhartha Gautama) life was influenced by his upbringing. The four sights, a
sick man, an old man, a corpse and a holy man, were more shocking to Siddhartha Gautama as
his father had shielded him from suffering. This made the realisation that one day everyone
will become sick, grow old, and eventually die harder hitting and consequently deeply
troubled Siddhartha. In relation to how luxury had an influence on the life and teachings of
Buddha, this point is relevant as it was King Suddodana's (Buddha's father) attempts to
satisfy him with a life of luxury at the palace which ultimately led Siddhartha to leave the
palace. This shows that even though The Budddha was brought up in a life of luxury, he failed
to find satisfaction in the material things in life (Dukka) and wanted to find a way to end
human suffering.
One of the first key event's in Siddhartha's journey into becoming a spiritual leader was when king
Suddodana took him to a ploughing festival. Siddhartha was just age nine at the time and
because of his age he was allowed to rest in the shade of a tree. He watched the festival
from a distance and saw the men working hard in the field, then his attention switched to a
bird which ate a worm that had been dug up by the plough and began to question why life
had to be like that, and why humans had to suffer. This led him into a natural state of
meditation for the first time, the first Jhana, which caused time to stand still. Time standing
still is illustrated by the story that the shadow of the tree did not move for the whole period
Siddhartha was in meditation for. It is also in this meditative state that he realised about
Karma and dependant origination, everything is inter connected. It was after this period of
meditation that Siddhartha felt compassion towards human beings and questioned why
human beings have to suffer. This shows how his life events influenced his teachings as it is
this event which started his journey to becoming a spiritual leader and lead him to become
more curious about the world and lead to his later experiences in life and helped him on his
journey towards enlightenment.
At the age of twenty nine, Siddhartha Gautama ventured out of the palace with Channa, his
charioteer. He ventured out four times, each time he witnessed one of the four sights.
Siddhartha witnesses a sick person, an elderly person and a corpse. These three sights taught
him that everything is impermanent and human life contains suffering. The fourth sight, a holy
man, showed him that there is a way to find a solution to suffering which does not involve
material pleasure. This influenced his life as it was what ultimately led him to leave his wife
and life at the palace to go on a quest to find a solution to suffering. It is the fourth sight, that
causes Siddhartha to renounce worldly life and causes him to start on his quest to find an
answer to human suffering.
When Buddha spent six years as a practicing ascetic, it also influenced his later teachings. He spent six
years putting himself through pain and hardship to overcome the body but realised that in
order to obtain enlightenment you have to conquer the mind, not the body to find an answer
to human suffering. This influenced Buddha as he decided to meditate under the Bodhi tree in
Bodhgaya, where he overcame his ego, Mara, which is what lead him to his enlightenment.

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He also remembers his past lives, which are known as the Jataka tales. This event is
particularly important when looking at the influences on his teachings as it is this episode in his
life which triggered his teachings about Karma and Samara, the endless cycle of birth, death
and rebirth. It also led to his teachings about dependant origination, everything is
After his enlightenment, he gives his first set of teaching to the five ascetics who abandoned him, and
they became enlightened beings also.…read more

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Further archaeological evidence includes the Lumbini garden, this is where it is believed Buddha was
born. This is a common site which is visited by many Buddhists who travel to India on
pilgrimage. To Buddhists this is a very special and sacred place.
In 249 BC, when the Emperor Ashoka was visiting Lumbini, it was a flourishing village. Ashoka
constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with a figure of a horse on top.…read more


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