Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Buddha included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Buddha

The founder of Buddhism. Some consider him to be an incarnation of Viṣṇu. In days of old in a battle the devas were defeated by the asuras and the gods approached Viṣṇu with their grievance. Mahāviṣṇu incarnated as the son of Śuddhodana with the name Gautamabuddha (Siddhārtha). Then he went to the asuras and made them reject the Vedas and the laws thereof. All the Daityas (Asuras) became Buddhists. There is a story in Agnipurāṇa, Chapter 16, that thus it was the purpose of Buddha to convert every asura to Buddhism and send him to hell.

The story given above is in accordance with the Purāṇas. The following are the facts gained by historic investigations.

Gautama Buddha was born in B.C. 560, in Kapilavastu near the Himālayas. His father was Śuddhodana. He was born in the family of the Śākyas. The word 'Śākya' is another form of the word Kṣatriya. The real name of Buddha was Siddhārtha. Śuddhodana brought up his son in such a way that he should not be subjected to any sort of mental pain or worry. So he kept Buddha aloof from the outer world. Thus he spent his childhood in comfort and pleasure. Once by chance he happened to see a sick man, an old man and a dead body. The sight made him thoughtful. He began to think upon a way to remove sorrow and pain from the world and to bring about peace and comfort.

The change that appeared in the son worried the father. So at the age of sixteen he made Siddhārtha marry Yaśodharā. A son was born to them. But the mind of Siddhārtha was restless, distressed and agitated. One day Siddhārtha discarded everything and went out of the palace alone.

Siddhārtha wandered from place to place learning from various teachers. But he did not find peace. Once on a full-moon day while he was sitting in meditation under a banian tree he got 'Bodha'. (insight or conviction). From that day onwards he began to be known by the name 'Buddha'. After that he came to Kāśi, and told his disciples how he got Bodha or conviction. The number of his followers increased day by day. Thus Buddhism came into being. Buddha said that the reason for pain and sorrow in the world was desire and that sorrow could be exterminated only by controlling and overcoming all desire. To attain Eternal Bliss one should be true and righteous in thought, deed and word and that 'Not Killing' was the foundation of righteousness. Buddhism spread everywhere in Bhārata.

Gautama Buddha died at the age of eighty.

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