Gautama was to be king. He was to live a life of luxury with his wife and son. His father groomed him to never have to live his kingdom. However, one day Gautama left his home and walked into the world of suffering his father was shielding him from. He saw the wrinkles of a man of old age. He saw someone sick with disease. He saw the body of a dead person (Haught 46). The reality of human misery deeply disturbed Gautama which caused him to start to rethink his life. He said goodbye to his wife and child and left them to solve the question of human suffering; his newly declared purpose in life.
In order to truly disperse himself in finding the end to his suffering, Gautama let go of a life of things and ambitions; anything felt to be permanent. Gautama’s renunciation of an unsatisfying existence is a great model for anyone following the Buddha’s path. Gautama himself tried to find a teacher to help him find peace, however; this proved ineffective (Haught 47). Therefore, followers of Buddhism must find the way to peace themselves. No one can help them in this quest. One has to experience life on their own; following the rules of others will do nothing to bring about one’s own consciousness.
For six years, Gautama joined a group of monks. He fasted more often and longer than any other monk, but still found no satisfaction living this lifestyle (Haught 47). He needed to find something else to bring about peace within because living among the monks was a form of punishment which failed to bring happiness to Gautama. Therefore, one day Gautama left the monks and ate a normal meal. This self-punishing was keeping him from solving the problem of human suffering. Gautama, now alone, sat under a fig tree, called the Bodhi tree, and vowe...
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...ing people from suffering.
Buddhism is similar to other religions in that finding salvation is an important goal. Buddhism came about in response to the problem of human suffering. It is a difficult challenge to accept but once the Four Noble Truths are accepted, it is easier to follow on the path of enlightenment. Everyone must work on their own salvation in order to release themselves from the cycle of rebirth. Buddhism almost disappeared in India; however it spread throughout Asia and continued to thrive for years. Buddhism appeals to those who have become disheartened by the hostility found in other religions therefore this appeals to many who want to relieve their suffering.
"Buddhism: An Introduction." Public Broadcasting Service. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Haught, John F. What is Religion: An Introduction. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1990. Print.