The term Buddha means ‘ awakened’. The Buddha was a great teacher who taught beings how to attain true enlightenment. Buddhism is not a religion, it is a way of life that is practiced daily. From the onset of its foundation, Buddha Shakyamuni teaches living a life of peace, loving kindness and wisdom. ‘Shakya’ is the royal family that the Buddha was born into and “Muni” means ‘able one’. The founder of Buddhism was born as a royal prince in Lumnini in 624 BC. Born to a royal family and given the name Siddhartha, meaning ‘a man who achieves his goals’, he gave up his royal upbringing at the age of 29 years to follow a life of spiritual meditation in the forest. After six long years he attained enlightenment.
After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha wanted to help others obtain the same. He taught the first Wheel of Dharma which included the Sutra of the Four Noble Truths. He also taught the third Wheels of Dharma which included the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Sutra Discriminating the Intention. Buddha’s intentions in his teachings was to lead beings away from suffering and difficult times and motivate using love and compassion, and ultimately reach true nirvana. Nirvana is described as the beginning-less cycle of repeated birth, it is also the ultimate spiritual goal of Buddhism.
Modern society has little time for practicing meditation. However, Buddhism has endured because it thrives on practicing mindfulness. High stress jobs, relationships and encounters means that there is a greater need by individuals to unwind and try to obtain a peace of mind. Many people , though not fully engaged, practice certain aspects of Buddhism as a means to obtain peace within their lives. Most people meditate or take spiritual retreats to allow their bodies and mind to become more spiritually aware.
Through meditation and practicing the Buddhist way, beings are meant to achieve their true sense of purpose, understand that there is no life without suffering, understand where suffering arises from and understand how to end suffering.
In his dying hours he encouraged his followers with these words “ Things that arise from cause will also decay. Press on with due care.” The Buddha’s body was removed from the forest where he passed away and placed in a funerary monument. The Buddha also left instructions for the disposal of his body to be wrapped in cotton and linen. His body also needed to be encased in an iron vessel and burnt on a pyre.
The Buddhas teachings live on in modern society because it follows the basic rule of being a good person. For instance: “speak the truth; don’t yield to anger; give something, if you’re asked, even if you only have a little yourself.” These teaching encourage beings to be more selfless, be more giving and more empathetic to others needs. The Buddha's teachings seek to make the world a better place by first making yourself a better person.