Buddha Avatar - Brief description about The Great founder of the Buddhist faith

Buddha Avatar
The devas were defeated by the asuras and the gods approached Vishnu with their grievance. Vishnu then descended as the son of Suddhodana with the name Gautama Buddha (Siddhartha). Then he went to the asuras and made them reject the Vedas and the laws thereof. All the Daityas (Asuras) became Buddhists. The story is in the Agni Purana, Chapter 16, that the purpose of Buddha is to convert every asura to Buddhism.

Asura = Violence  Buddhist = Non Violence.  Violence means not following the laws of nature and non-violence means to follow them.

The story given above is in accordance with the Puranas. The following are the facts gained by historic investigations.

Gautama Buddha was born in B.C. 560, in Kapilavastu near the Himalayas. His father was Suddhodana. He was born in the family of the Sakyas. The word `Sakya' is another form of the. word Ksatriya. The real name of Buddha was Siddhartha. Suddhodana brought up his son in such a way that he should not be subjected to any sort of mental pain or worry. So he kept Buddha aloof from the outer world. Thus he spent his childhood in comfort and pleasure. Once by chance, he happened to see a sick man, an old man, and a dead body. The sight made him thoughtful. He felt from within his heart extreme compassion for all the souls. He began to think upon a way to remove sorrow and pain from the world and to bring about peace and comfort.

The change that appeared in the son worried the father. So at the age of sixteen, he made Siddhartha marry Yasodhara. A son was born to them. But the mind of Siddhartha was restless, distressed, and agitated. One day Siddhartha discarded everything and went out of the palace alone.

Siddhartha wandered from place to place learning from various teachers. But he did not find peace. Once on a full moon day while he was sitting in meditation under a banyan tree he got `Bodha'. (insight or realization). From that day onwards he began to be known by the name `Buddha'. After that, he came to Kashi and taught his disciples how he got Bodha or realization. The number of his followers increased day by day. Thus Buddhism came into being. Buddha said that the reason for pain and sorrow in the world was desire and that sorrow could be exterminated only by controlling and overcoming all desire. To attain Eternal Bliss one should be true and righteous in thought, deed, and word and that non-violence (Ahimsa) is the foundation of righteousness. Buddhism then spread everywhere in Bharata. Buddha meets and converses with Maitreya.

Gautama Buddha left this planet at the age of eighty.

Buddha speaks to Maiteya

Sri Buddha said to Maitreya, "I shall explain further. Such are the afflictions of the five evils in this world. The five sufferings and the five burnings continue to arise from them. People commit nothing but evil and fail to cultivate roots of virtue, and so it is natural that they all go to evil realms. Even in this life they suffer from incurable illnesses. Longing for death, they cannot die; craving for life, they cannot live. Thus they are an example to others of what retribution for evil acts is like. After death, driven by their karma, they fall into the three evil realms, where they suffer countless tortures and are themselves consigned to the flames.

"After a long time they are reborn again in this world, only to foment hatred against each other. At first hatred is slight but finally develops into a major evil. All this is because of their greedy attachment to wealth and sensuous pleasures and of their refusal to share with others. Further, wayward thoughts arise from the desires born of stupidity. Their bondage to evil passions will never be severed. In the pursuit of selfish gain, there is no chance for them to reflect on their evils and turn to good. When wealthy and prosperous, they are happy and do not learn to be modest and virtuous. Consequently, their pomp and power are short-lived; when these are exhausted, they must undergo further afflictions. Their sufferings are bound to increase in time to come.

"The law of karma operates like a net stretched everywhere; in its meshes, it inevitably catches all offenders. The net woven of large and small ropes covers the whole world, from top to bottom, and those caught in it feel utterly helpless and tremble in fear. This net has been in existence from of old. How painful and heart-rending!"

Sri Buddha said to Maitreya, "People of this world are as I have described. All the Buddhas pity them and with divine powers destroy their evils and lead them all to goodness. If you give up wrong views, hold fast to the scriptures and the precepts, and practice the Way without committing any fault, then you will finally be able to attain the path to emancipation and Nirvana."

Sri Buddha continued, "You and other devas and humans of the present and people of future generations, having received the Buddha's teachings, should reflect upon them and, while following them, should remain upright in thought and do virtuous deeds. Rulers should abide by morality, reign with beneficence and decree that everyone should maintain proper conduct, revere the sages, respect men of virtue, be benevolent and kind to others, and take care not to disregard the Buddha's teachings and admonitions. All should seek emancipation, cut the roots of Samsara and its various evils, and so aspire to escape from the paths of immeasurable sorrow, fear [277c] and pain in the three evil realms.

"In this world, you should extensively plant roots of virtue, be benevolent, give generously, abstain from breaking the precepts, be patient and diligent, teach people with sincerity and wisdom, do virtuous deeds, and practice good. If you strictly observe the precepts of abstinence with upright thought and mindfulness even for a day and a night, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years. The reason is that in that Buddha-land of effortless spontaneity all the inhabitants do good without committing even a hair's breadth of evil. If in this world you do good for ten days and nights, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years. The reason is that in the Buddha-land of other quarters many practices good and very few commit evil. They are lands where everything is naturally provided as a result of one's merit and virtue, and so no evil is done. But in this world, much evil is committed, and few are provided for naturally; people must work hard to get what they want. Since they intend to deceive each other, their minds are troubled, their bodies exhausted, and they drink bitterness and eat hardship. In this way, they are preoccupied with their toil no have time for rest.

"Out of pity for you and other devas and humans, I have taken great pains in exhorting you to do good deeds. I have given you instructions appropriate to your capacities. You have, without fail, accepted my teachings and practiced them, and so have all entered on the Way as you wished.

"Wherever the Buddha comes to stay, there is no state, town, or village which is not blessed by his virtues. The whole country reposes in peaceful and harmonious. The sun and the moonshine with pure brilliance; wind rises and rain falls at the right time. There is no calamity or epidemic, and so the country becomes wealthy, and its people enjoy peace. Soldiers and weapons become useless; and people esteem virtue, practice benevolence and diligently cultivate courteous modesty."

Sri Buddha continued, "My concern for you, devas and humans, is greater than the care of parents for their children. I have become a Buddha in this world, destroyed the five evils, removed the five sufferings, and extinguished the five burnings. I have countered evil with good, eradicated the suffering of birth and death, and enabled people to acquire the five virtues and attain the peace of unconditioned Nirvana. But after I have departed from this world, my teaching will gradually decline and people will fall prey to flattery and deceit and commit various evils, resulting in the recurrence of the five sufferings and the five burnings. As time goes on, their sufferings will intensify. As it is impossible to describe this in detail, I have given you only a brief outline.

Sri Buddha said to Maitreya, "You should each ponder on this well, teach and admonish each other, and be on guard against disobeying the Buddha's instruction."

The Bodhisattva Maitreya, with his palms together, said, "O Buddha, how sincere and earnest your admonition is! People of the world are just as you have described. O Tathagata, you take pity on and care for us without discrimination and seek to deliver us all from suffering. Having accepted the Buddha's repeated exhortations, I will be careful not to disobey them."

Teachings and Significance of Buddha:

The philosophy reflected in the Hindu epics is the doctrine of the avatar (incarnation of Vishnu as an animal or a human form). The two main avatars of Vishnu that appear in the epics are Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, and Krishna, the advisor of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata. Unlike the superhuman devas (gods) of the Vedic Samhitas and the abstract Upanishadic concept of the all-pervading Brahman, the avatars in these epics are intermediaries between the Supreme Being represented as either Saguna Brahman or Nirguna Brahman and mere mortals.

This doctrine has had a great impact on Hindu religious life, for to many it means that God has manifested Himself in a form that could be appreciated even by the least sophisticated. Rama and Krishna have remained prominent as beloved and adored manifestations of the Divine for thousands of years among Hindus. The Upanishadic concept of the underlying unity of Brahman is revered by many to be the pinnacle of Hindu thought, and the concept of the avatars has purveyed this concept to the ordinary Hindu as an expression of the manifestation of the Hindu's highest single divinity as an aid to humanity in difficult times. The Hindu cycle of creation, evolution, and destruction contains the essence of the idea of "avatars" and indeed relies on a final avatar of Vishnu, that of Kalki, as the final evolutionary avatar before destruction at the end of the world.

Aside from Rama and Krishna, there are many other human or animal forms that appeared on earth or elsewhere in the universe. Scriptures do not describe any appearance as an avatar by Brahma or Shiva (they are themselves listed as guna avatars) of nirguna Brahman, but emanations of Vishnu have appeared a number of times. Some Hindus, based on the Ramayana, aver that Shiva incarnated once as the monkey-god Hanuman. Hanuman is more well-known as the son of Vayu, the deva of wind or his emanation. (Hanuman lived in a jungle in Treta Yuga and is called vanara, which means people having characteristics of monkey, and was one of the greatest devotees of Vishnu).

Buddha Avatar
In the Dasavatara-stotra section of his Gita Govinda, the renowned Vaishnava, poet Jayadeva Goswami (13th C AD) celebrates the Buddha as one of the Dasavatar of Vishnu: "O Keshava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice."

The Great Founder of the Buddhist faith, Gautama Buddha was born to Mayadevi and the virtuous king Suddhodhana, of the Shakya (Shaka) clan of Ksythrias or Royals in the Videhan (Nepalese) Dynasty around 3000 years ago. He was born amidst the sylvan surroundings of the Lumbini forest.  He was named "Siddhartha Gautama".  He was also called Gautama,  because he was a descendant of Gotama, one of the Seven Great Sages or Sapta Rishis, mentioned in the Vedic religion and Puranas. Again  "Siddhartha" implies a successful man whose aims are achieved/who is efficient in accomplishing his aims". Indeed Gautama would evolve as an enlightened sage called Buddha, who would become Siddhartha with the attainment of the Highest Truth in Moksha or Salvation

The festivity following the birth of Prince Siddhartha was attended by the visionary hermit Asita, who predicted that either this extraordinary baby would grow up into a brilliant king (Chakravartin) or a venerated holy sage.

When Gautama was thirteen years old, he ventured out on with his royal escort. He "four sights": an old crippled man, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and finally an ascetic. Gautama realized then the fundamental truth of life - that death, disease, age, and pain were inevitable to the mortals, in this valley of death, called Earth. The material prosperity yields no fruit, as man has to leave the mortal frame in death.

At the age of 16, Suddhodhana, his father got Gautama married to a cousin of the same age, Yashodhara,. Eventually their son, Rahula was born. However, speculations on the graver aspects of life, continued to haunt Gautama.

The future Buddha renounced the householder`s life in the quest of the Ultimate Truth. He could embrace this decision, because he had a sense of satisfaction, having been able to fulfill the duties or Karma, he, owed to Yashodhara and King Suddhodhana. His wife though would be intensely depressed, but still could live with the rearing of his son Rahula. While Suddhodhana would find solace in Rahula, as a shadow of Gautama and as the perpetrator of the posterity of the Shakya tribe.

The ascetic resorted to Samana-asceticism for six years to discover the Real Truth.  It involved the difficult practice of extreme self-abstinence in intense penance to invite death and separate the soul from the physical frame. This brings in extreme happiness and peace.

He retired from Samana-ship. And afterward, he practiced a Middle Path that had been advocated a lot in his teachings. This was a life of harmony between two extremes i.e., self-mortification and self-indulgence.
Gautama then journeyed to Magadha, to learn the sublime destination of meditation. His Guru Alara-Kalama led him into an elevated formless world where physical matter is no longer present. His second spiritual guide, Uddaka-Ramaputta, made him reach the ethereal state where neither thought nor non-thought existed.

Siddhartha absorbed all the knowledge that he could gather from the various methods of meditation. Yet his frantic search for the Absolute Truth continued. Finally, he visited Gaya and settled under a Bodhi tree to quench his thirst. He comprehended the Inviolable Truth that Emancipation of the soul or Moksha by embracing the Four Noble Truths.

They are:
1. Suffering is universal. All are assaulted by death, disease, old age, sorrow, grief, despair and the cycles of rebirth. Worldly pleasures and luxuries are temporary, as death would overpower all.

2. Desire and Aspirations, are the source of Suffering. The threefold cravings that bind man to the chains of birth and rebirth are Sensual Craving, Craving for Longevity,  and Craving for Wealth and Power. There is also a sixfold desire harbored by the six sense organs: the eye yearns for forms, the ear yearns for sounds, the nose yearns for smell, the tongue yearns for taste, the body yearns for objects, and the mind yearns for dreams.

3. Suffering can end with the elimination of this three-fold craving, by denouncing and rejecting it. It is the liberation and detachment that culminates into the Bliss of  Nirvana (absolute Enlightenment in freedom).

4. The recognition of the Noble Truth, by walking on the Eightfold or Middle Path, dissolves all suffering and lamentation.

The Eightfold Path influences man to be spiritually reborn as Buddha into Enlightenment of Awakened Consciousness. 

The eight ways are:
1. Right Speech leads to Truth and Understanding
2. Right Understanding leads to Wisdom
3. Right Livelihood leads to Sharing
4. Right Mindfulness leads to Purposeful Living
5. Right Aspiration leads to Divine Inclination
6. Right Behavior leads to Goodwill
7. Right Absorption leads to Unity
8. Right Effort leads to Highest Outcome

Dharma in Buddhism is depicted as a Wheel of Dharma or Righteousness. Buddhism highlights Dharma not as a philosophy, but as a law of the universe. Morality reins supreme in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end, even if vice tries to replace it. The Wheel of Dharma continues to rotate, covering all the aspects of life. Dharma should reside in the acts or Karma that an individual performs. It is one`s deeds that yield the consequences. If a person as the religion or Dharma of life, the Wheel of Dharma or the Order of the Circularity of Existence authentically adheres to, goodness in action or Karma, definitely rewards. All that is well ends well. But if sin is committed and repentance is not felt, punishment in the form of suffering befalls. It multiplies the degree of pains in the cycle of birth and rebirth. Therefore Karma is Dharma or Work is Religion.

Buddha propagated the doctrine of Ahimsa or non-violence. Torture of one being by the other, hurting one by inflicting pains and sadness or unkindness in any form is strictly prohibited in Buddhism. What Buddha spread among the depraved and corrupt people of his times, was the gospel of love, kindness, patience, humility, sacrifice, and self-restraint ushers in ultimate happiness and illumination of the Purest Knowledge.

Aptly has described the Brahmanda Purana that Buddha reestablished a reign of Dharma, cultivated by the virtuous gods and Devas. Buddha reformed the downtrodden demons, symbolizing wickedness, their characteristic property.

"Mohanartham  danavanam balarupi pathi-sthitah |
Putram tam kalpayam asa mudha-buddhir jinah svayam ||
Tatah sammohayam asa jinadyan asuramsakan |
Bhagavan vagbhir ugrabhir ahimsa-vacibhir harih ||"

This message when translated approximates to: "In order to delude the demons, he (Lord Buddha) was present in the form of a child on the way while the foolish Jina (a demon), imagined him to be his son. Later on, Lord Sri Hari (as avatara-buddha) expertly deluded Jina and other demons by his strong words of non-violence."

Buddha traversed all over the country, inspiring people with the mantra of  "Truth" and Ahimsa, nurtured by the Three Gems-Dharma( Religion of Righteousness), Buddha(Perfectly Enlightened Mind), and Sangha(the Awakened Beings who provide support and guidance). Two reputed teachers, Sariputra and Maudgalyayana, and their two thousand disciples joined him. Even Buddha Father, King Suddhodana, Maha-Prajapati, the Buddha stepmother, and the Princess Yasodhara, his wife, and all the members of the Shakya clan became his devoted and faithful followers.

For forty-five years the Buddha preached, at Vaisali, on the way from Rajagriha to Sravasti, he became ill and foretold that after three months he would enter Nirvana. Still, he voyaged to the border of Kuninagara castle. He delivered his last sermon to his favorite disciples before he entered into Parinirvana, to leave his mortal structure.

Buddha affirmed the cult of spiritual richness. He avowed that what is imperishable is the soul or Atman. Therefore spiritual sacredness is the greatest wealth that survives the attacks of time and death and gifts ecstasy. He is an Avatar in the truest sense of the word. Robert Crosbie & The Friendly Philosopher  illustrates the role of an Avatar:

"A Siddha-Purusha (the perfect man) is like an archaeologist who removes the dust and lays open an old well which has been covered up by ages of disuse. The Avatara, on the other hand, is like an engineer who sinks a new well in a place where there was no water before. Great Men give salvation to those only who have the waters of piety hidden in themselves, but the Avatara saves him too whose heart is devoid of love and dry as a desert."


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