The Life of Buddha
My name is Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakyas and I wish to inform you of a story, the story of my life and how I became awakened.
The story begins the moment my mother informed my father she was with child. My father summoned the fortunetellers of the kingdom to see what would become of me. It was said to my father if I would remain with the world, I would become a conqueror. If I forsook the world, I would become a redeemer. Faced with this, my father ensured that I had the best of everything and from my eyes, he hid the suffering of the world. At 16, I married a lovely neighboring princess, who bore me a son.
Yet, with all of this seeming world at my feet, I was not happy. Something was missing. It was when I saw what I shall call the 4 passing sights that my eyes began to open. The first happened when I was traveling in court. I saw an old man bent over and shaking with age. I learned that day the truth of age. The next trip, I saw a man wrecked with disease. On my third journey, I saw a corpse. The fourth was a monk with bowl in hand. That day, I learned of withdrawal from the world.
Upon seeing these four sights, my world changed. At 29, I left my wife and son to search for enlightenment.
I went off into the world and studied with the Hindu masters. Raja yoga was foremost, as well as Hindu philosophy. In time, however, I felt there was more to enlightenment than what I had learned. Next, I tried my hand in austerity, thinking it was my physical being holding me back. At times, I ate as little as 6 grains of rice a day. A few times, if it had not been for friends feeding me warm gruel, I would have died. Though this did not teach me enlightenment, it did teach me something I shall call the Middle way, the concept of rationed life in which the body is given what is needed only optimally.
Finally, I devoted my quest to a combination of thought and concentration. Then one evening I was sitting under a Bo tree. I felt that I should not get up from this tree until enlightenment was mine. For 7 days, I fell into deep meditation. That was when Mara, the evil one, came to stop me, tempting me with desire and threatening me with death. Yet, I remained steadfast in my belief of enlightenment. Finally, after many days, the world opened up to me and enlightenment was mine. As I started to come back to the world, Mara came to me one last time and asked me why I would return to the world of man, for I have reached this path and its end. It was there that I chose to return to the world to teach others what I learned so that they may, reach nirvana