Divine Mother Audrey’s Message
Honoring Lord Buddha
Siddharta Guatama was born in southern Nepal around 563 B.C. His father was a wealthy ruler of the Shakya tribe, and Siddharta was raised in luxury. At the time of his birth, a prediction was made that he would either become a universal ruler or universal teacher, and that four signs would show him which path he was destined to follow.
Notwithstanding his father’s efforts, Siddharta saw the following four signs at age 29 which set his destiny, and moved him to renounce his earthly luxuries, as well as his wife and infant son: 1. old age, 2. sickness, 3. death, and 4. equanimity. Siddharta understood that the first three signs represented misery and suffering in the world, and equanimity as the liberated state from suffering to be found in true inner peace.
Siddharta wanted to solve the mystery of suffering, its cause and its cessation. Leaving behind his wealth and family, he began what is known as his Noble Quest. He wandered as a monk for years. He also lived in a forest with a small band of other ascetics, and practiced extreme forms of self denial and mortification. He eventually left the ascetics, and taught that one should live life in a balanced way, called the Middle Way, where extreme forms of self denial as well as the sheer pursuit of human desires are moderated. At the age of 35, Siddharta sat under a bodhi tree for 49 days in intense meditation to solve this riddle of suffering. Mara, the Buddhist devil, tempted and attacked him in various ways, but Siddharta was not moved. On the morning of the 49th day, Siddharta attained enlightenment, and emerged as the Buddha, which means “Enlightened One.”
Lord Buddha returned to the forest where the ascetics lived, and preached his first sermon to them, setting in motion the Wheel of the Law. Lord Buddha taught that one must understand the Four Noble Truths of: suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the Eighthfold Path that leads to the cessation of suffering. The Eighthfold Path consists of knowing the truth, having right thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration. The ultimate reality is the state of nirvana, a transcendent state of true peace where one is free from the bondage of selfish desires, cravings and worldly attachments.
Lord Buddha gained many disciples and devotees, and he created the sangha, or monastic community. Many years after Lord Buddha’s passing, several schools emerged, including Theravada, Sarvastivada, Mahasanghikas, Mahayama, Hinayana, Mantrayana, Zen, and many subsects which eventually spread from India to China, Japan, and many countries all over the world.
In the process of following the Eighthfold Path, one develops more compassionate, loving qualities towards his fellow man and all living creatures. We celebrate and honor the lives of all great spiritual masters who, like Lord Buddha, pave the way for others to find liberation and enlightenment.