The 6th century BC was an era of religious revolt and social degeneration in India. Both the Hindu religion and society were sapped by different superstitions and malpractices. Caste system, animal sacrifices, complicated rituals and domination of priestly classes were among the evils by which the masses were victimised. Thus, 2 great teachers emerged with the aim of protesting against the atrocities and injustices of Hinduism. They were about to found a new religion in which the masses could have more faith. Unfortunately they separated and Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism whereas Vardhamana Mahavira founded Jainism. These 2 religions came to be known as anti-vedic system or the main protestants of Hinduism.

Life and status of Buddha

Buddha was born in the 6th century BC as the light of Asia. His birth place was Lumbini and his early name was Siddhartha (wish accomplished). His father, Kind Sudhodana and mother Queen Mahamaya, were the rulers of the kingdom of Kapila Vastu. Several astrologers and sages had already predicted that Siddhartha would be either a great saint or teacher. Due to this reason, his father deprived him from the outside world because he did not want Siddhartha to be exposed to this world of misery and suffering.

When Siddhartha attained his youth, he was married and shortly afterwards fathered a son called Rahul. However, there was always an urge in Siddhartha to visit the villages in order to see how life was outside the palace. In fact, his life inside the palace was just like a bed of roses. Thus, his visit in the villages had a great impact upon his life specially after witnessing the 3 sights namely old age, disease and death.

The 4 Noble Truths

The 4 Noble Truths are considered as the main ethical teachings of Buddha. These 4 truths were based upon his experience of life. As a result, these are:

1.Life is full of suffering
2.There is a cause for suffering
3.Suffering can be stopped
4.There is a way leading to the cessation of suffering

The Noble 8 fold path (Eightfold)

The philosophy of Buddha is more ethical than metaphysical. As a result, Buddha has provided 8 steps of ethics known as Astangika Marga for the attainment of Nirvana. These 8 steps are also known as the Noble Eightfold path which are:

1.Right views
2.Right speech
3.Right understanding
4.Right effort
5.Right determination
6.Right mindedness
7.Right means of livelihood
8.Right concentration


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