(1) The birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini, Nepal!

Indian Buddhism Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

*The following is the table of contents for this series of articles.

1.Birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini, Nepal!
2.Buddha's mother Maya who dies suddenly 7 days after Buddha's birth and Buddha's childhood
3.Buddha's Youth and Shimonsyutuyu - Why did Buddha wish to be ordained?
4.Visit Kapilavastu, the palace of the Shaka tribe
5.Buddha's marriage and the birth of his son Rahula
6.How was Buddha ordained?
7.A fateful encounter with King Bimbisara
8.Six years of ascetic life of Buddha the Sufferer
9.Buddha renounces suffering and recovers by Sujata's milk gruel
10.Buddha attains enlightenment after winning a confrontation with Mara (the devil).
11.Buddha's Meditation Days and Brahma's Invocations
12.First Turning of the Wheel at Sarnath Beginning of the Buddhist Order
13.The Four Sacred Truths: The Four Fundamental Truths of Buddhist Teachings
14.Historical background of India, where Buddhism was born - History and worldview of the ancient Indian religion of Brahmanism.
15.Why did Buddhism spread so rapidly in India?
16.What is Shramana - The existence of Indian freethinkers and the unique religious situation of the time.
17.Buddha's powerful rival "Rokushi Gedo"
18.What was innovative about Buddha's teachings?
19.Rapid expansion of the Buddhist Order -
20.Reunion with King Bimbisara of Magadha - one after another, kings of major powers expressed their support for Buddha!
21.Endowment of Gionsyouja by Sudatta - Support of a Buddhist Order by a Major Merchant
22.Buddha makes a triumphant return to his birthplace! Mass ordination of the Buddha's family, including his son Rahula!
23.Scandal in the Order of Buddha!?What is Buddha's response to the slander?
24.Buddha's death in Kushinagara - Buddha on his last journey with his follower Anan
25.A very brief history of Buddhism after Buddha's death


(1) Life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as seen through local photographs.
 Birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini, Nepal!

Starting with this article, I will briefly discuss the life of Gautama Buddha (Sakyamuni) with local photos.

I have traveled to the Buddhist sites in India during February and March 2024.

The photos I am about to show you are basically the ones I have taken on site.

When you visit the place where Buddha actually lived, you will feel something different from the world you have known only from books and photographs. In this article, I will also share some of my unique experiences in the area.

Before I begin to tell you about the life of Buddha, let me give you a very brief introduction about the man Buddha.

Buddha's statue of the first turning of the wheel, in the collection of the Sarnath Museum.

Buddha was a real person who was born in Lumbini, Nepal in 463 BC and died in Kushinagara, India in 383 BC. However, there are many theories as to the date of his birth and death, with some differing by more than 100 years. In India, there is no culture of writing detailed dates, and it is even said that it is a miracle that the differences between the various theories are within about 100 or 200 years. India is indeed a country with a sense of time that is eternal and eternal. The sense of time is eternal and eternal, too huge.

Buddha was born Gautama Siddhartha, a prince of the Shaka tribe, but troubled by life's problems, he left home at the age of 29 and began a life as an ascetic.

Fasting Buddha (Lahore Museum of Art, Pakistan)

This is the famous statue of Buddha that depicts the severe suffering he endured at that time. We will talk more about this Buddha image later in this article.

Finally, after six years of practice, Buddha attained enlightenment.

Enlightened at the age of 35, Buddha visited Sarnath (rokuyaon), a suburb of Benares, famous for the Ganges River, to preach to his five companions who had once practiced Buddhism together. This is said to be the beginning of the Buddhist Order. This event is called the First Turning of the Wheel of the Law, and is known as a very important event in the life of the Buddha. Incidentally, the first photo above is a Buddha statue that represents the first turning of the wheel.

From there, Buddha continued to travel and preach for 45 years until his death at the age of 80, finally drawing his last breath in Kushinagara, near his hometown of Nepal.

Reclining Buddha in Kushinagara

Even after the death of the Buddha, his disciples continued to pass on his teachings, eventually giving birth to various sects, and Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Central Asia via China and Korea in the 6th century. This was about 900 years after the death of the Buddha. This is where the history of Buddhism in Japan began.

This is a very brief summary of Buddha's life.

Now it is time to look at Buddha's life with local photos.

The main direct reference was,
Hazime NakamuraGautama Buddha.
Translated by Yuichi Kajiyama, Nobuhiko Kobayashi, Musashi Tachikawa, Katsumi MimakiThe Complete Translation of Buddhacharita
Akira HirakawaThe Life of Buddha: A Reading of the Praises of the Buddha's Practice.
This will be a reference book called

There are also other Buddhist books and books about India that have been featured on our blog, which you may also find here.

Birth of Buddha

As mentioned above, Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal in 463 B.C. as Gautama Siddhartha, a prince of the Shaka tribe. Lumbini is located very close to the present-day Indian border.

Photo of India-Nepal border area

Buddha's father was Suddhodana(joubonnou).He was the king of the tribe named Shaka, and his mother was Maya.

The Shaka were a small nation with a castle in Kapilavastu (Kapila Castle), less than an hour's drive west of Lumbini. However, the neighboring state of Kosala was a major power, and it is said that the Shakas were in effect under the rule of this state.

And this country was a rich country with a good harvest of rice, as the name of the king, the King of Jobonnou.

The area around Kapilavastu is still mostly fields, where rice, wheat, beans, rape, and various vegetables are grown.

Buddha would be born as a prince of such a small agricultural country.

Now it is time to look at the birth of Buddha.

Numerous legends are also told about the birth of Buddha. When she was pregnant, Maya, Buddha's mother, saw a white elephant enter her in a dream. In India, elephants were revered as bringers of happiness, so this is indeed a wonderful auspicious dream. It is interesting to note that in India they are not storks. And she was actually pregnant with Buddha.

On her way back to her homeland of Korya to give birth, Buddha's mother Maya stopped at Lumbini, where she had given birth 2,500 years ago. She gave birth there and went on to give birth to Buddha.

Maya Devi Hall, birthplace of Buddha

Various legends were created around the time of Buddha's birth.

The most famous of them all is that "Heaven Above, Heaven Below, and Only One Self"

At Lumbini

It is said that Buddha was born from Maya's right side, walked seven steps, pointed his right index finger to the sky and his left index finger to the earth, and uttered the phrase "Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father, I am the only one.

That he was born from his right side, that he walked and spoke as soon as he was born. This is, of course, a mythical legend, but it has a very important meaning for us Buddhists.

First, in India, the right hand represents purity. The fact that he was born from his right side indicates that Buddha was a clean being. Also, in the Brahmanic and later Hindu doctrines of the time, both arms signified kshatriyas (royalty and nobility). In other words, being born from the right side in the Indian context symbolized an overwhelmingly noble existence.

And the legend of the Buddha walking seven steps symbolizes that the Buddha is a person who transcends this world. There are various theories about this, but the seven steps are "six steps plus one step," meaning that six steps are "this world" and one step beyond it. Here again, Buddha is shown to be an overwhelmingly different being from ordinary human beings.

And finally, the last phrase, "Heaven Above, Heaven Below, and Only One Self," is exactly what it sounds like.

What? That Buddha himself said that he himself is the most precious thing in the world? You may think, "What?

But remember that this is only a legend created after the Buddha's death. It is important to remember that this is a legend that was created after the Buddha's death. This legend shows that Buddha was so precious.

In Japan, however, this "Heaven Above, Heaven Below, and Only One Self" is sometimes interpreted as "Each and every human being is precious," but I believe that this is actually quite difficult to interpret in the context of the Buddhist tradition and the words themselves. I think it is more natural to simply accept it as it is and interpret it in a mythical way.

Anyway, Buddha's birth is told in this way. We Japanese Buddhists celebrate April 8th as Buddha's birthday. That is the Flower Festival. The appearance of a white elephant model and the custom of pouring sweet tea over the Buddha's birth come from this festival.

Hana Gyodo and Birth Buddha at Shobutsukai (Flower Festival)Wikipedia.

The practice of pouring sweet tea over the Buddha comes from the legend of the sweet dew that fell on the Buddha at his birth. It is a symbol of congratulations.

Maya Devi Temple

The marker stone where Buddha was said to have been born and fallen is now enshrined in the Maya Devi temple built by Nepal, and visitors can see it. Photography is not allowed inside the temple, so photos cannot be shown here, but looking down the circular glass at my feet from the aisle, I saw a gray rock less than a meter away.

The pond in the photo above is the pond where Maya is said to have bathed. Many monks and worshippers were meditating under the large tree that can be seen beyond it. Overall, I was impressed by the relaxing and peaceful atmosphere of this place.

Now, although this was the birth of the Buddha, there remains another important episode.

The story goes that Buddha's father was so pleased with his newborn son that he showed him to a Brahmin (an Indian religious leader), who gave him a startling prophecy.

The Brahmin said.

This child will be a great king who will rule the world in the future, or a religious leader who will save the world."

The king was amused by this. After all, he is the long-awaited first son. He wants his son to take over the throne and protect the country. He does not want to be an ordained religious leader! The king will continue to suffer from this prophecy. And you all already know how this prophecy came true.

Thus was Buddha born.

Next Article.

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