Everyone has a story. Whether they’re funny, sad, memorable, or teach a lesson we all have a history which makes us who we are today. This is also true for many religions. More specifically, Buddhist stories are usually widely known and applicable to anyone, regardless of their religion. Not only do they provide entertainment but sacred stories and myths teach follows what to strive for in life and provide historical information to aid them with their journey. (Massoudi para. 24). These parables and early accounts of Buddha teach lessons, instruct followers, and encompass the basic precepts which helps Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path toward eternal bliss, also known as nirvana.
Buddhism traces back to northern India about 2,500 year ago located near present-day Nepal. Founded by a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, he eventually became known as Buddha who traveled to teach and guide people to the path of nirvana. His teachings, called the dharma, revolve around the self-discovery of faith. The heart of these teachings include the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path (Ganeri 8). Like many other religions, the founder is considered one of the greatest teachers; however, Buddha does not consider himself a supernatural being or god of any sort. Siddhartha claims to be an extraordinary man who underwent a religious awaken which lead to his label as Buddha, derived from budh meaning "to awaken” (Brodd 69).
Giving up wealth and comfort, the Indian prince sought to find the answer to suffering. Buddhists belief in three basic truths: everything changes, everyone and everything in this world are interconnected, and human life is full of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Buddhism, although considered a non theistic religion, serves more as a philosophy than a religion (Hamilton para. 4). Buddha’s simple teachings, relatable subject matter, and emphasis on personal action popularized the Buddhist religion among many (Wanghu 32). Although much of Buddha’s stories contain many morals that relate to the common person, his own life and awakening story is an inspiration for all Buddhists, especially newcomers.
Buddha’s story begins with Queen Maha Maya Devi’s conception from a dream of a white elephant descending from a golden mountain and entering her womb. 10 months later, the queen rested in a garden while picking flowers and miraculously she gave birth to her son without the slightest bit of pain (“BuddhistMythology.net”). Living in the lapse of luxury, the prince did not see the harsh realities of the world until he witnessed pain and suffering in what is called the Four Passing Sights. During the first passing, Gautama witnessed a decrepit old man of a great age struggling on the road. The next passing, he saw a diseased man living in suffering. The third time he encountered death quite literally when Siddhartha saw a disposed corpse. After these first three sights, Gautama saw the cruelties of the world. He could never live...