|February 07, 2002 |
From birth (b. circa 560 BC in today's Nepal), astrologers foretold that Siddharth Gautam was destined to become a great saint. Knowing that the king (Suddhodana) would not like this news, they told the king that Siddharth would either become a great king or a great saint. The king thus set up an environment in his kingdom (in Kapilavastu) such that the prince did not witness any sadness. But once, when he traveled outside the court, he saw four things that changed his life: an old person, a person suffering from a disease, a dead person, and finally, a saint. Deeply effected, he renounced his wife Yashodra, his son Rahul, and the kingdom. While we may see those same things everyday, Siddharth displayed the perception of a divine entity. Meditating under a Bodhi tree, Siddharth achieved nirvana or divine realization (and thus he became known as the Buddha). Buddhist teachings are given as the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.