The Buddha: The Spiritual Journey that Became a Religion


Twenty-five thousand years ago one’s man’s
spiritual journey was the beginning of one of the world’s seven religions — boasting
376 million followers today. He is simply called “The Buddha,” and
he grew up the son of a king…sheltered from the realities of human suffering. When he finally learned the harsh truth, he
left his family and set off on a path to understand life itself — first as a monk and then as
a teacher. Let’s take a closer look at “The Buddha”,
Siddhartha Gautama on Biographics. Early Life The founder of Buddhism was a man named Siddhartha
Gautama. He was the son a chieftain and believed to
be born in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) in the 6th century B.C. His father Śuddhodana (translating to, “he
who grows pure rice”) presided over a large clan called the Shakya in either a republic
or an oligarchy system of rule. His mother was Queen Māyā of Sakya who is
said to have died shortly after his birth. The infant was given the name Siddhartha,
meaning “he who achieves his aim.” When Siddhartha was still a baby, several
seers with the power of supernatural insight into the future, predicted he would either
be a great spiritual leader, military leader or a king. Since Siddhartha’s mother died, he was brought
up by his maternal aunt, Maha Pajapati. His father, hoping to steer Siddhartha in
the direction of the throne, shielded him from religion of any kind and sheltered him
from seeing human hardship and suffering. As such, he was raised in the lap of luxury
and blissful ignorance where he knew nothing about aging, disease, or death. At the age of 16, Siddhartha’s father arranged
his marriage to a cousin, Yaśodharā, who was also a teenager. She gave birth to a son, Rāhula, some years
later. Siddhartha is said to have remained living
in the palace until the age of 29 when everything changed. According to the story, one day Siddhartha
travelled outside of the palace gates and he was deeply disturbed by the sight of an
old man. His charioteer Channa explained to Siddhartha
that all people grow old and that death is an integral part of life. This prompted Siddhartha to secretly venture
outside the palace on more trips. When leaving, it was said that, “the horse’s
hooves were muffled by the gods” so as to prevent the guards from knowing of his departure. Outside the gates on these trips he encountered
a sick man, a decaying corpse, and a homeless, holy man (also known as an ascetic). Channa told Siddhartha ascetics give up their
material possessions and forgo physical pleasures for a higher, spiritual purpose. After witnessing the reality of human hardship
and suffering, Siddhartha had no interest in living at the palace. He left his wife and child to discover the
true meaning of life, first through living as a traveling beggar, like the ascetics he
saw on the streets. Ascetic life
“The root of suffering is attachment.” Siddhartha first went to the city of Rajagaha
and began begging on the streets to survive. He was recognized there by the king’s men
and offered the throne. He rejected it but promised to come back and
visit once he attained enlightenment. When he left Rajagaha, he met a hermit Brahmin
saint named Alara Kalama. Kalama taught Siddhartha a form of meditation
known as the dhyānic state, or the “sphere of nothingness.” Siddhartha eventually became his teacher’s
equal and Kalama offered him his place saying, “You are the same as I am now. There is no difference between us. Stay here and take my place and teach my students
with me.” But Siddhartha didn’t stay, and instead
he moved on to another teacher, Udaka Ramaputta. Once again, he achieved high levels of meditative
consciousness and was asked to succeed his teacher. Siddhartha refused the offer and moved on. Through the practice of meditation, Siddhartha
realized dhyana, a “state of perfect equanimity and awareness” was the path to enlightenment. He also realized that living life as an extremely
deprived beggar, as he had done, wasn’t working. It had been six years, and he had eaten very
little and fasted until he was weak. Awakening After starving himself for days, Siddhartha
famously accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata. He was so emaciated, she thought he was a
spirit there to grant her a wish. Siddhartha, after having this meal, decided
against living a life of extreme self-denial since his spiritual goals were not being met. He instead opted to follow a path of balance,
known in Buddhism as the Middle Way. At this turning point, his five followers
believed he was giving up and abandoned him. Soon after he started meditating under a fig
tree (now called the Bodhi tree) and committed himself to staying there until he had found
enlightenment. He meditated for six days and nights and reached
enlightenment on the full moon morning of May, a week before he turned thirty-five. At the time of his enlightenment he gained
complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. He called these steps the “Four Noble Truths.” After his awakening, the Buddha met two merchant
brothers from the city of Balkh in modern-day Afghanistan. The brothers, Trapusa and Bahalika, offered
the Buddha his first meal after enlightenment and they became his first lay disciplines. According to some texts, each brother gave
a hair from his head and these became relics enshrined at the Shwe Dagon Temple in Rangoon,
Burma. The Teacher “I teach because you and all beings want
to have happiness and want to avoid suffering. I teach the way things are.” Legend has it that initially Buddha was reluctant
to spread his knowledge to others as he was doubtful of whether the common people would
understand his teachings. But then the king of gods, Brahma, convinced
Buddha to teach, and he set out to do that. The Buddha travelled to Deer Park in northern
India, where he set in motion what Buddhists call the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his
first sermon to the five companions who had abandoned him earlier. Together with him, they formed the first Buddhist
monks, also known as saṅgha. All five attained nirvana, a state along the
path to enlightenment yet not full enlightenment. They were known as arahants, meaning “one
who is worthy,” or “perfected person.” From the first five, the group of arahants
steadily grew to 60 within the first few months and eventually, the sangha reached more than
one thousand. The sangha traveled through the subcontinent,
expounding the dharma. This continued throughout the year, except
during the four months of the Vassa rainy season when ascetics of all religions rarely
traveled. One reason was that it was more difficult
to do so without causing harm to animal life. At this time of year, the sangha would retreat
to monasteries, public parks or forests, where people would come to them. The first vassana was spent at Varanasi when
the sangha was formed. After this, the Buddha kept a promise to travel
to Rajagaha, capital of Magadha, to visit King Bimbisara. During this visit, Sariputta and Maudgalyayana
were converted by Assaji, one of the first five disciples, after which they were to become
the Buddha’s two foremost followers. The Buddha spent the next three seasons at
Veluvana Bamboo Grove monastery in Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha. Upon hearing of his son’s awakening, Suddhodana
sent, over a period, ten delegations to ask him to return to Kapilavastu. On the first nine occasions, the delegates
failed to deliver the message and instead joined the sangha to become arahants. The tenth delegation, led by Kaludayi, a childhood
friend of Gautama’s (who also became an arahant), however, delivered the message. Now two years after his awakening, the Buddha
agreed to return, and made a two-month journey by foot to Kapilavastu, teaching the dharma
as he went. At his return, the royal palace prepared a
midday meal, but the sangha was making an alms round in Kapilavastu. Hearing this, Suddhodana approached his son,
the Buddha, saying: “Ours is the warrior lineage of Mahamassata, and not a single warrior
has gone seeking alms.” The Buddha is said to have replied: “That
is not the custom of your royal lineage. But it is the custom of my Buddha lineage. Several thousands of Buddhas have gone by
seeking alms.” Buddhist texts say that Suddhodana invited
the sangha into the palace for the meal, followed by a dharma talk. After this he is said to have become a sotapanna. During the visit, many members of the royal
family joined the sangha. The Buddha’s cousins Ananda and Anuruddha
became two of his five chief disciples. At the age of seven, his son Rahula also joined,
and became one of his ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda also joined and became
an arahant. His wife, reportedly became a nun. Throughout his life, Buddha encouraged his
students to question his teachings and confirm them through their own experience. This non-dogmatic attitude still characterizes
Buddhism today. Buddhism
“You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way.” Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in
the world and t is also one of the oldest, established in the 6th century B.C. in present-day
Nepal, India. Unlike other religions, Buddhists do not worship
a God. Instead, they focus on spiritual development
with the end-goal of becoming “enlightened” — though not in the intellectual sense of
the word. In the Western world, enlightenment is most
often associated with the 18th century European Enlightenment Period, a movement characterized
by a rational and scientific approach to politics, religion, and social and economic issues. In Buddhism, the simplest explanation of attaining
enlightenment is when an individual finds out the truth about life, and experiences
“an awakening” where they are freed from the cycle of being reborn. Central to Buddhism is the notion that to
live is to suffer, and everything is in a constant state of change. All Buddhists believe, unless one has become
enlightened, they will be reincarnated again and again. Enlightenment can be achieved through the
practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom. Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. It was these four principles that the Buddha
came to understand during his meditation under the bodhi tree. These are: The truth of suffering (Dukkha);
the truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya); the truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha);
and the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga). Suffering comes in many forms. Three obvious kinds of suffering correspond
to the first three sights the Buddha saw on his first journey outside his palace: old
age, sickness and death. But according to the Buddha, the problem of
suffering goes much deeper. Life is not ideal: it frequently fails to
live up to our expectations. Human beings are subject to desires and cravings,
but even when we are able to satisfy these desires, the satisfaction is only temporary. Pleasure does not last; or if it does, it
becomes monotonous. Even when we are not suffering from outward
causes like illness or bereavement, we are unfulfilled, unsatisfied. This is the truth of suffering. The next noble truth is the origin of suffering. Our day-to-day troubles may seem to have easily
identifiable causes: thirst, pain from an injury, sadness from the loss of a loved one. In the second of his Noble Truths, though,
the Buddha claimed to have found the cause of all suffering – and it is much more deeply
rooted than our immediate worries. The Buddha taught that the root of all suffering
is desire, tanhā. This comes in three forms, which he described
as the Three Roots of Evil, or the Three Fires, or the Three Poisons. The three roots of evil are greed and desire,
represented in art by a rooster; ignorance or delusion, represented by a pig, and hatred
and destructive urges, represented by a snake. He taught more about suffering in his Fire
Sermon, saying,a that is burning? The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness
is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant
that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire
of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and
death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs. The Third Noble Truth is Cessation of suffering
(Nirodha). The Buddha taught that the way to extinguish
desire, which causes suffering, is to liberate oneself from attachment. This is the third Noble Truth – the possibility
of liberation. The Buddha was a living example that this
is possible in a human lifetime. “Estrangement” here means disenchantment:
a Buddhist aims to know sense conditions clearly as they are without becoming enchanted or
misled by them. Nirvana means extinguishing. Attaining nirvana – reaching enlightenment
– means extinguishing the three fires of greed, delusion and hatred. Someone who reaches nirvana does not immediately
disappear to a heavenly realm. Nirvana is better understood as a state of
mind that humans can reach. It is a state of profound spiritual joy, without
negative emotions and fears. Someone who has attained enlightenment is
filled with compassion for all living things.After death an enlightened person is liberated from
the cycle of rebirth, but Buddhism gives no definite answers as to what happens next. The Buddha discouraged his followers from
asking too many questions about nirvana. He wanted them to concentrate on the task
at hand, which was freeing themselves from the cycle of suffering. Asking questions is like quibbling with the
doctor who is trying to save your life. The Fourth Noble Truth is the path to the
cessation of suffering (Magga). The final Noble Truth is the Buddha’s prescription
for the end of suffering. This is a set of principles called the Eightfold
Path. The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle
Way: it avoids both indulgence and severe asceticism, neither of which the Buddha had
found helpful in his search for enlightenment. The eight stages are not to be taken in order,
but rather support and reinforce each other. Death and Legacy “I can die happily. I have not kept a single teaching hidden in
a closed hand. Everything that is useful for you, I have
already given. Be your own guiding light.” According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of
the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon reach Parinirvana,
or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body. After this, the Buddha ate his last meal,
which he had received as an offering from a blacksmith named Cunda. Falling violently ill, Buddha instructed his
attendant Ānanda to convince Cunda that the meal eaten at his place had nothing to do
with his passing and that his meal would be a source of the greatest merit as it provided
the last meal for a Buddha. Mettanando and von Hinüber argue that the
Buddha died of old age, rather than food poisoning. The Buddha’s teachings began to be codified
shortly after his death, and continue to be followed one way or another (and with major
discrepancies) by at least 400 million people to this day. There are numerous different schools or sects
of Buddhism. The two largest are Theravada Buddhism, which
is most popular in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar), and Mahayana Buddhism,
which is strongest in Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia. The majority of Buddhist sects do not seek
to proselytise (preach and convert), with the notable exception of Nichiren Buddhism. All schools of Buddhism seek to aid followers
on a path of enlightenment. “If with a pure mind a person speaks or
acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.”


100 Responses

  1. Charles Crowell

    April 7, 2019 5:09 am

    Favorite Buddha saying: be wary of the beautfil women that offers the great feast. Don't know which one, there were 13 of them.

  2. Charles Crowell

    April 7, 2019 5:15 am

    The only thing that the great minds of the world can agree on, is that life is meaningless. Tolstoy

  3. Charles Crowell

    April 7, 2019 5:23 am

    And on your deathbed, you will recieve total consciousness. So i gotthat going for me. Caddyshack.

  4. Jamal Al-ani

    April 7, 2019 2:48 pm

    I wish British people did not add an “r” at the end of most things ending with an “a”. Ex: Budder, Chiner, and Russer. I know you can’t help it. But I am struggling. I love the content and your voice 80% of the time. But when I hear that “r” I want to off myself.

  5. Gene Hewitt

    April 8, 2019 6:08 pm

    Please make a video about Elizabeth Samson, the (real) first black female milionair during slavery in the 1850's

  6. victor bruun

    April 11, 2019 6:32 pm

    Nirvana = Ataraxia. Should be painfully obvious 😉

    And is also btw the answer to that all too old question, eagerly re-asked by wannabe philosophers without a clue: "if god is all-powerful, how come there is suffering?"
    The asnwer of course being that a god has achieved ataraxia and being free from suffering, wants and such.. is also free from suffering of such seeming suffering. And that no matter your staring positions, ataraxia can be achieved and thus suffering ended. It ia all up to the suffering one.

    The path to ataraxia is even more or less similar, like striving to better oneself.

  7. Micky Leinbachy

    April 18, 2019 11:54 am

    I wish we didn’t treat this as a religion. Life would be better if people who believed in different gods lived like this.

  8. Tricia K

    April 18, 2019 12:40 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I had found Buddhism many years ago. It has helped me so much in times of trouble and sorrow. To learn that happiness comes from within is huge. To know that material things will never make you truly happy is sometimes difficult to keep in mind but it’s true. But the one thing that has really helped me is the fact that death is part of life. Once again thank you for this awesome bio of lord Buddha.

  9. Jay Guilloty

    April 21, 2019 4:21 pm

    Thank you for doing this video, that being said, to know Buddhism, is to know it isn’t a religion at all.

  10. Winston Smith

    April 24, 2019 8:41 am

    Very difficult to deconvolve mythology from fact for a spiritual figure living thousands of years ago 🙂

  11. gremlinlord1

    May 11, 2019 7:17 am

    Hello Mr. Whistler, I appreciate what you do. Thanks for explaining things in a way that anyone can understand. Like Einstein said "if you can't explan something simply, you don't understand it enough" you do that in spades. And I appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

  12. Willy Kling

    May 27, 2019 9:18 am

    One of the Buddahs diciples wore modern glasses?
    Buddhism is a knowledge and set of principles that work under any circumstance. To not want anything is freedom, desire is slavery.

  13. ChubbyChecker182

    June 11, 2019 11:32 pm

    Hiya Everybody, just to let you know I am the reincarnation of the Bhudda for this era, and everything is going to be OK

  14. Aika Papa

    June 12, 2019 4:19 am

    He still was just mortal ! Another human who eventually died despite all his spiritual achievements. He did not overcome physical death. His enlightenment was not full. And Desire is not the root of all suffering. Desire is the underlying driving force of all creation. His theory was wrong. Sorry Buddha but I disagree with you dude. Your view on desire was utterly pessimistic. You need to lighten up a bit pal, lol !

  15. RidingAShoppingCart

    June 13, 2019 4:18 am

    I love your videos, Ur pronunciation could do some improving but I get it I'm terrible too. Keep up the amazing work!!

  16. Jagdish RAMANATHAN

    June 18, 2019 2:13 pm

    the buddha is peaceful .how did the world become so violent with ideologies ?one can put a peaceful man to sword but not on peace itself .

  17. Holly St. Amour

    June 24, 2019 6:10 am

    I just discovered these on YouTube and I'm totally addicted! It makes going to work a lot easier when I listen to these on my commute. More please?!

  18. maurice walker

    July 7, 2019 7:28 pm

    It's is a religion of peace and love for your fellow human being. Buddhism preaches friendship and understanding of life.

  19. Jiminy Lummox

    July 14, 2019 10:18 pm

    I can agree with a lot of the sentiments of this religion, but for me it can't replace scientific understanding of what humans are and what life itself is.

    I think this is dealing with questions about human values like suffering or happiness, but it's a human-centred worldview. The reality behind that is that humans are an evolved species of primate, which are part of a larger group called mammals, and that this whole life thing has been going on for a long time and it all started from a sort of proto-bacteria 4 billion years ago.

    The philosophical musings about human happiness and suffering, although important on a human level, for me, can't be the basis of my understanding how this world works.

    So for parts that are more like advice or even just thoughts about the human condition, I like that, but the realities of a Nirvana or reincarnation or heavens or hells or spirits or just anything supernatural, then no, because that just isn't part of reality, and for me that's an important distinction.

  20. Bishal Thakuri

    July 16, 2019 7:38 am

    You are butchering the pronounciations so hard. But I don't mind; many of the correct sounds aren't in English.

  21. James Richard Wiley

    July 22, 2019 12:41 am

    I used to believe that Siddhartha was a real person.
    Now he sounds more like a fictional character.

  22. Richard Todd

    July 30, 2019 7:03 pm

    No mention of the chan sect, shaolin buddhism, and the creation of shaolin Kung fu, although very interesting

  23. douglas williams

    August 4, 2019 9:53 pm

    My thanks most gracious Simon. My brother who has a " thang" for this way of life will love this when I send him the link. Keep up the very interesting and at times quite disturbing work. Finally!!! A place where we older and more elitist can part our mice that we may soak up……stuff. Shalom

  24. Sophie

    August 11, 2019 9:37 pm

    Hey, I'm Sophie.

    I'm also a Devout Buddhist.

    Western culture has spanned and weaved the tale that Buddhism is a religion.

    It is Not.

    It is a faith based on certain beliefs from personal journey's, and unlike many religions today; it evolves with its followers.

    Buddhism has no God, no Deity, nothing to worship to.

    If you heard we worship the first Buddha, Gautama, that is wrong.
    He even noted this, himself, that he never wanted to be worshipped.

    Indeed, there are some schools of Buddhism that worship either him, or like in Hinduism, add him as a God.

    Believe what you like.

    But if we follow the original, and still real definition: the Buddha is not an idol to worship, unakin to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    Western culture, however, is far too preoccupied with seeing anything that has a system of belief as either a Cult, or a Religion.

    They even pegged Paganism, based on naturalism, as a religion.
    It was not.
    Not when in the first centuries of its existence, anyhow.

    Please, do not spread the facade that many Westerners get wrong about our belief.

    It is not a religion.

    To some, a spiritual faith.

    To others, a basis of understanding the world, and humanity as a whole.

    It moulds to the follower. Not the other way around.

    I hope all readers of this comment to take something away from it.

    And with it, learn something valuable.

    May all of you have a most wonderful, and at the least, calming day.


  25. Sammy Long

    August 14, 2019 9:05 am

    The imagery in this video couldnt be more Eurocentric if it wanted to be. Thankfully there are countless ancient statues of Buddah otherwise we might be fooled into thinking he was from western Europe rather than Eastern Asia.

  26. dragonmartijn

    August 21, 2019 3:41 pm

    I don't like Buddha's teachings. I don't consider desire as evil. One needs desire to achieve and make great things, like great art. Desire is a part of love.

  27. Vasil Stanev

    August 21, 2019 6:28 pm

    I don't think there is any mysticism in meditation. When you strain your biceps in the gym, you get a tremor in your arm. When you strain your brain with atypical activities, like sitting in an unconfortable pose and focusing the mind on a single thought, or spinning like a sufi, or starving your body, you get a 'mystical' experience. Also, unlike the Bible or the Quran, very few people have actually read the whole Pali canon (which is pretty verbose) to know what the Buddha really said. Due to the wars of the 20th century, Buddhism in Asia was in freefal and knowers of the source texts were few and far between. This allowed all kinds of swindlers and Dalai Lamas to assert their version of Buddhist scripture, and, unlike Pali scholars, there is never a shortage of gullable and/or broken people.
    If meditation helped you to overcome some lowpoint in your life, or some sickness – fine, more power to you, it's better that you are alive and well, it truly is. The problem is in trying to spread this ancient magical 'truth' without a grasp of the original, or naively believing it is compatible with modern-day science and a silver bullet to get rid of everyday anxiety.

  28. Submissive Subscriber

    August 23, 2019 10:32 am

    my kung fu teacher said the answer of a question is by understand why you questioning it and then i hit my master because he telling me something i don't even ask.

  29. bandula hewawasan

    August 27, 2019 11:22 pm

    The essence of Buddhism in a single sentence is how to be happy by giving up attachments. You have to understand this truth and refrain from believing. Congratulations to you for your speech on the Buddha and and his teachings.

  30. Prasad Perera

    September 4, 2019 2:36 pm

    As a devoted Buddhist from Sri Lanka, I really admire your video where you have the correct abstract in a simple format even for the non-Buddhists to understand easily. Keep up the good work.

  31. Julian Palmer

    September 9, 2019 4:29 am

    Profoundly interesting. I heard somewhere (probably on the back of a public toilet door; where else to find enlightenment) that Jesus heard of Lord Buddha. Ergo, He became a Middle East copy cat. Irrelevant to my own Christian odyssey but quite possible. Unless of course that WC scribe was unworthy of such a revelation.

  32. Vikas Upadhyay

    September 15, 2019 4:56 pm

    He died young , not 80 . I have visited the place where his soul left his body Kushinagar. Thanks for all the information 🙂

  33. Fereidoon Javaheri

    September 16, 2019 7:25 pm

    You forgot to mention that before he was born , his father had a dream that his wife is pregnant with an elephant.


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