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Ascetic Buddha
Ascetic Buddha


 
Our Price: $1.50
Members Price: $1.35
Author: Andy Weber
Format: Postcard 4x6 inch

Product Code: 23396
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Description
 
Despite his father's efforts to hide the harsh reality of the external world from him, at the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace to engage with ordinary life. Siddhartha saw four visions of old age, sickness, death, and a wandering ascetic. The experience of human frailty depressed him, and he decided to overcome these obstacles to eternal happiness by living the life of an ascetic, the vision that appeared to show an answer to his questions. Accompanied by Channa, his charioteer, and his horse, the Prince Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant. Legend has it that "the horse's hooves were muffled by the gods" to prevent guards from hearing of his departure.

He practiced under two hermit teachers of yogic meditation and achieved high levels of meditative consciousness. Twice he was asked to succeed the lineage, but he was not satisfied with his personal achievement and decided to move on. Siddhartha and a group of five companions set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food, and by practicing self-mortification. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. A village girl named Sujata gave him some sweet rice with which Siddhartha renewed his energy. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path and remembered a moment in childhood in which he had been watching his father start the season's plowing. Moved by the suffering he saw he had attained a concentrated and focused state that was blissful and refreshing.

After realizing that meditation was the right path to awakening and that extreme asceticism didn't work, Gautama discovered the middle way--a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, or the "Noble Eightfold Path" as described in his first discourse as the "Buddha." Leaving his companions, Gautama seated himself under a pipal tree now known as the Bodhi tree, vowing never to arise until he found the truth. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he attained enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or "Awakened One."


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