Biography of Buddha


(bod'da). "The wise or enlightened," is the sacred name of the founder of Buddhism, who appears to have lived in the 6th century B.C. He was born a Hindu, of an intensely contemplative nature, the son of a king, who did everything in his power to tempt him from a religious life from which, however, in his contemplation of the vanity of existence nothing could detain him. Retired into solitude at the age of 30, as Sakyamuni, i.e., solitary of the Sakyas, his tribe. Consulted religious books; could get no good out of them until, by and by, he abstracted himself more and more from everything external. At the end of 10 years, as he sat brooding under the Bo-tree alone with the universe, soul with soul, the light of truth rose full-orbed upon him, and he called himself henceforth and gave himself out as Buddha. "Now," he said to himself, "I know it all," as Mohammed in his way did after him, and became a preacher to others of what had proven to be salvation for him. He continued to do so for forty years, leaving behind him disciples who went forth without sword, like Christ's, to preach what they, like Christ's, believed was a gospel to every creature.