Siddharta Gautama: Buddhism grew out of the ancient Indian tradition

 Siddharta Gautama: Buddhism grew out of the ancient Indian tradition and emerged around 500 BC. Little is known about the founder of the religion Siddharta Gautama himself, whose later honorary name was Buddha (Sanskrit “the enlightened one”), from later writings:

Siddharta Gautama was born in 560 BC in what is now Nepal, the son of a prince, and grew up in wealth in northern India at the foot of the Himalayas.

At the age of 29, in the face of old age, illness and death in his surroundings, he fell into a deep moral crisis in which he realised the futility of his previous life. Siddharta then renounced wealth and his social position. He left his home.

In order to find salvation from his life crisis or enlightenment – , he practised asceticism for six years as a disciple of various masters. In this asceticism, a strictly abstaining and renouncing hard physical way of life, Siddharta did not find what he longed for. The enlightenment of his teaching came to him only after a phase of long meditation, i.e. deep contemplation and immersion in himself. It reached him under a fig tree, the “tree of knowledge”.

He gave the first sermon of his teachings in Varanasi on the Ganges, today one of the holiest places for Buddhists. From Varanasi he set in motion “the wheel of teaching”, which he kept in motion for more than 45 years. He gathered around him an ever-growing community of monks, to whom he imparted his teachings and who passed them on.

Siddharta himself travelled through large parts of northern India, teaching and promoting. He died at the age of 85, already known and revered as Buddha, during a meditation.

Buddha left no writings of his own. His sermons were first transmitted orally by his disciples and, since the 1st century AD, also in writing in Pali, a language regarded as sacred. It is therefore uncertain which sentences can really be traced back to Buddha himself, especially since the texts hardly address the historical figure of Buddha.

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