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The Biography Of Buddha Essay

1104 words - 4 pages

While the existence of Buddha is certain, the details about his life story and the substance of his Dharma or teachings often vary from sacred text to text. The inconsistencies in the details of Buddha’s story are a result of multiple scriptures about his life and teachings and the fact that they were not recorded until about 400 years after his death. Some of the texts contain what seem like exaggerated and even mythical type stories about Buddha’s life, all of the texts still consist of a consistent message, the texts just don’t always send that message the same way. The other trouble with identifying exact details about Buddha’s life is that there is no historical biography of Buddha, the entire story of his life is a combination of utilizing multiple sacred Buddhist texts to create a biography of the Buddha.
There are multiple texts’ that account for Buddha’s dharma and document his final life, and his previous lives. These texts have been categorized into five different time periods of Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. The first period represents 125,000 rebirths that happened anytime between 13 to 20 incalculable ages ago, it is called the period of “great cause.” The period of “very distant cause,” of Buddhahood contained 387,000 rebirths and occurred between 13 to 4 incalculable ages ago. The period that consist of 24 rebirths and marks some important progress in Buddhahood occurred between 4 incalculable ages ago and his final rebirth. The final rebirth Buddha would experience would be as Gautama, this time is referred to as the period of “near cause.” The final time period “proximate cause” illustrates the time after his enlightenment. The eastern world view on time is very different from western view, do you believe this causes any difficulty in the western world understands of Buddhism? Buddhist see time as cyclic and repetitious whereas westerns view time as a progressing linear movement. This is important to consider when discovering Buddha’s biography because while it appears at first that Buddha progressed linear in his quest for Buddhahood, it is actually perceived more as a repeat to Buddhist. It is believed that there where over 300,000 Buddha’s prior to our Buddha. This does not diminish his achievement of enlightenment but demonstrates how Buddhist view the world, and will help people understand the reasons behind the lack of linear progressive single sacred text about Buddha.
Most original Buddhist texts were primarily transcribed in Sanskrit or Pali, each text illustrates segments of the Buddha story and many are a result of monk’s transcriptions of Buddha’s sermons. Buddhist believe in reincarnation and that karma effects an individual’s rebirth conditions. It was important for Buddhism to account for the enlightened ones previous lives, and therefore a text referred to as Jataka, which narrate 547 of Buddha’s previous lives. Each previous life account helps identify and emphasize the exemplary journey the Buddha...

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