Lessons from the life of the Buddha

Lessons from the life of the Buddha

Soulveda brings to you five gems of wisdom from the life of the Buddha-The Enlightened One.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.” – The Buddha

There’s no dearth of exemplary teachers in the books of history and mythology. While some of them may be forgotten eventually, some are remembered through time. These are teachers who dedicate their lives to sharing their wisdom, encouraging their disciples to surpass them. When they pass on, they leave behind a legacy of knowledge and learning for the world to benefit from. One such teacher’s life touched many others as he generously left behind the legacy of his wisdom; his was a life that inspired many a transformation; his was the life of a Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama, known to the world as the Buddha, renounced the pleasures of life as a prince to understand the nature of reality.

Born a prince, Siddhartha Gautama renounced the worldly pleasures of life to understand the nature of reality. His search took him to great teachers, but their teachings failed to quench his thirst for understanding this reality of life. And so, he set out to find his own path. He went to Bodhgaya and meditated under a tree for seven intense years until he achieved enlightenment, and became the Buddha. For the remainder of his life, he helped people discover the nature of life.

Today, one doesn’t have to give up on worldly pleasures to understand the Buddha’s teachings. They are for anyone and everyone. That’s what makes them relevant even today. In this feature, Soulveda brings to you five gems of wisdom from the life of the enlightened one.

Death is inevitable

After Siddhartha attained enlightenment, he travelled extensively to propagate his teachings. During one of his travels, he came across a woman who had lost her child. When she learned that the Buddha was visiting her town, she pleaded with him to bring her son back to life. He agreed to her request and asked her to bring some mustard from a house that had not seen death. As she visited every house in the town asking for mustard, she realised there wasn’t a house that had not witnessed death.

Death is inevitable and there is no escaping it. All one can do is make peace with it and pray for the departed.

“If you’re angry, it doesn’t impact me. It’s you who is hurt in the process and not me.”

Patience is the key to being calm

This incident took place when the Buddha was travelling with his disciples. They were passing by a lake when he asked one of them to get him some water. The disciple walked to the lake and found a few women washing clothes. The disciple returned and told his master that the water was muddy and not fit to drink. After some time, the Buddha repeated his request. This time, the disciple saw the water was clear as all the dirt had settled down. He brought some water in a pot for his master. The Buddha looked at the clear water and said to his disciple that all he had to do was allow the mud to settle.

When the mind is disturbed, it is like muddy water. In such moments, we need to just let it be. Slowly, the negativity settles down, and the mind becomes clearer and calmer.

Anger destroys the angry

Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – The Buddha

Once the Buddha was walking through a village when a man started yelling at him. The man barked, “You have no right to teach others. You are stupid like the rest.” The Buddha remained calm, unperturbed by the young man’s accusations. However, he asked in return, “If you buy a gift for someone and that person doesn’t accept it, whom does the gift belong to?” Puzzled, the man replied, “It would belong to me because I bought it.”

“That’s right. It’s the same with anger. If you’re angry, it doesn’t impact me. It’s you who is hurt in the process and not me,” said the Buddha, smiling.

Be practical in the real world

The Buddha always advised his disciples to not waste their time and energy on metaphysical matters. Whenever they asked him questions on metaphysics, he always remained silent. Instead, he asked them to focus on practical matters. One day, a disciple asked him about the infiniteness of the universe. “Whether the universe is infinite or finite, the problem of liberation remains,” the Buddha replied. Often, our focus tends to be directed at matters that may not have a solution to our woes. In the practical world, it is wise to focus on practical things even if they do not help us liberate ourselves.

Respect the goodness in everyone

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was a monk who lived a long time ago before Gautama Buddha. However, his preaching and predictions were disregarded by the common people since he wasn’t well-versed with the scriptures. They even beat him with sticks and pelted him with stones. Despite facing hardships and difficulties, the bodhisattva revered everyone until the day he died. Before he breathed his last, he heard the verses of the Lotus Sutra from the sky which are believed to have purified his six senses. This bodhisattva was none other than the Buddha himself in one of his previous lives.

No one is perfect. Everyone has a good and a bad side. But should we learn to overlook the imperfections, and respect the good side of people, we’d realise our inner potential to become a Buddha.


How did Buddha teach the inevitability of death?

When asked to bring mustard from a house that had not witnessed death, a woman realized that every house had experienced death. Buddha taught that death is inevitable and we should make peace with it.

What lesson did Buddha teach about anger?

Buddha taught that holding onto anger harms oneself more than others. He used the analogy of drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

What was Buddha's approach to practical matters?

Buddha advised his disciples to focus on practical matters rather than wasting time on metaphysical questions. He emphasized that liberation and enlightenment could be found in practical actions.


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