Lesson in History
The one who was born to be enlightened
Gautama Buddha had to abandon his status as a prince for the enlightenment before becoming Buddha. He left the palace and searched everywhere, but he could not find a teacher who knew the way to the supreme enlightenment. After all, Gautama had to find the way in himself. The decision Gautama made was a life of asceticism, and this imprisonment continued for six years.
What we have to know on this matter is whether or not there is the way to the enlightenment in ascetic life. In case of Gautama, he could solve the problem he hadn’t known through the asceticism. In the end, he reached the emancipation through the lonely war against himself, which means that he opened his eyes to the world of the enlightenment he had longed for so desperately.
He didn’t notice that he completed the enlightenment until he was in meditation under a bo tree after he had dragged down his thin and tired body from a mountain after the six-year asceticism, and he wasn’t obviously aware of where the way to the enlightenment is.The fact that he opened his eyes to things of the world during his meditation was the evidence that he had the emancipation in his consciousness at that time. In other words, what occured from the ascetic life caused the karma which stuck to his consciousness to detach. This phenomenon happened because he could burn the karma which firmly grabbed hold of him with the fire he gained through the fight against himself.
The obvious thing is that he didn’t attain the enlightenment under the bo tree and just the result appeared, sitting under the tree. Gautama’s enlightenment was completed when the origin of his karma burnt during the ascetic life was separated from his consciousness during the meditation under the bo tree. From then on, his consciousness could stay away from anguish, delusions and hatred and so he came to have the eye of wisdom which can see what exists as it is.
The reason why the incident happened to Gautama was that he was the one who was born to be enlightened. It occured not by instant happenings but by what had happened to him for his aeons of life. Among numerous people, only he could attain the supreme enlightenment.
He was very delighted to realize that he had been enlightened. His mind was calm like a placid lake. When he saw what exists, it helped him understand other things through enlightenment. Finally, he became aware that things of the world come into being, exist, and change through causality(因緣) in the world. Since then, new things started to happen. The past relationships with his acquaintances started to be cut off and nobody was willing to come to him.
It made Gautama wander endlessly all around India to look for people. However, most of them didn’t want to meet him. He didn’t know the reason so he agonized over whether he should reveal his enlightenment or not. He despaired of his efforts of revealing truths in the world for a while. The motive for standing up again for enlightening the human world was his true love toward humans.
He saw the completion of his enlightenment in Bodhgaya but couldn’t find any causality(因緣) which he could deliver things about the enlightenment to. In a considerable amount of time, he finally could say what had happened to him to a few monks in Sarnath. He saw how difficult it was to deliver the enlightenment to the human world through his own life. Due to the enlightenment, he had to wander around the world for 45 years, which was only for saving human life. He left a great number of teachings. The teachings didn’t depend on his own thoughts but were seeing and revealing what exists.
Here, we can have the doubt that, although he led such a great life, the society those days wasn’t hospitable to him. It was because human eyesight without enlightenment couldn’t see things in truths he delivered. That’s why he had no choice but to wander around to look for people all his life long. Through what he did, we can see his great life and teachings.
His teachings were love and truth and everybody has no choice but to be surprised at the sight of his teachings. The answer to how he as a human could live like that was his enlightenment. His enlightenment showed the life of a true person. The reality that the human world lives, forgetting peace and happiness, derives from the absence of teachings. Even though countless people have been born in the world, nobody has shown such great enlightenment as his.
It is said that the present Buddhism is based on Buddha’s teachings but we can’t meet his true teachings in it. It is because humans have forgotten what exists in truths and the world is full of dark things. In other words, the human world lives, being unaware of love and truth. In that sense, Gautama’s life shows us the picture of a true teacher.
Gautama had never shunned the task of enlightening humans for 45 years since he attained his enlightenment, although he experienced all kinds of hardships in human society. The teaching was such a great teaching which hasn’t been observed from anyone. What we have to see and enlighten ourselves about from his teachings is things of the world. All the existing things appear and change through what exists. The reason why he called the world the realm of Buddhism, is to inform that all the ways exist in the world.
If our society wants a good person and a good world, first we have to learn about love and truth and open our eyes to them.
Enlightenment is to open eyes to what exists. The reason why we can’t open our eyes to the enlightenment easily is the karma we have made. In order to remove this karma, we must have endless love and open our eyes to truth.
Gautama could attain the enlightenment because he had this teaching.