The Buddhists identify the present period as the, “Gautama Samma Sambuddha, era. It is said that the appearance of a Buddha in this World is one of most extraordinary and unique events.The sublime chronicle ‘Anguttara Nikaya’, in one of its glorious phrases describe Tathagata Gautama; the fully Enlightened One, as, “A unique being, an Extraordinary Man arisen in this World for the benefit of many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the World, for the Good, benefit and happiness of Gods and Men.”
The Buddha is the greatest missionary to set foot on this earth, but never claimed to be a prophet, divinity for himself or infallibility for his doctrine. He was born as Prince Siddharta and became the Enlightened One, through his great sacrifices and efforts by inquiring and investigating in to the status of human life and behaviour.
Tathagata Gautama expounded the Four Nobel Truths, promised no salvation but clearly explained the ‘marga data’, to reach the sublime goal for others as himself. His message was based on universal human experience of life. His doctrine was open to all to question, test and ascertain what Truth it contained.
(1)“By one self alone evil is done: by oneself is one defiled;
(2) By oneself alone evil is avoided: by oneself alone is one purified;
(3) Purity and Impurity depend on oneself, No one can purify another.”
The Buddha led a simple but methodical life. He worked according to a fivefold time table and full time he endeavoured for religious programmes, except when he attended to his physical needs.
Early in the morning with great compassion he surveys the World with his “Divine Eye” (with his super-mundane power), to see to whom he could offer spiritual assistance. This is called the “Maha Karuna Samapaththiya”. In this manner to eradicate ills of lives of the suffering beings the Buddha rendered his services and fulfilled the duties as the Exalted One, for full forty five years until the last hour of his life. Evan at his 80th year in life, he preferred to walk from Rajagaha to Kusinara nearly 400 km. Usually he preached the Dhamma to his audience or groups of Bhikkhus. He also gave advice to Gods, Kings rich or poor who visited his dwelling place or travelled long distances on foot or by rarely using his psychic powers. During the later stage of his life when the great River, Ganges was over flooded the Buddha miraculously walked across the river with a large group of 500 Bhikkhus. In India, even today these places bear his name the “Gotama Ferry” & “Gotama Gate”.
Sometimes Buddha also visited individuals in order to rescue them. A few such instances are the bereaved mothers Patacara and Kisagotami, bedridden Putigatta Tissa Thera, Rajjumala and Sopaka facing death, the courtesan Ambapali and notorious criminal Angulimala. Even Alawaka the devil.
1.Angulimala who attained Arahantship sang his memorable conversion thus. “Some creatures are subdued by force.
Some by hook. Some by whips but I by the Exalted One! was tamed, who needed neither staff nor sword.”
Once the Exalted One was dwelling at the township of Anupiya. Then the Tathagata, robed himself and carrying his arms bowl decided to go on alms rounds. Since the day was too early, he visited the wonderer Bhaggava, who dwelt in a park nearby. Bhaggava was so pleased by the Buddhas visit paid his obeisance and offered a proper seat and himself took a lower seat.
Engaging in dialogue Bhaggava related his meeting with Sunakkhatta the Lichchavi. Lord, some days ago Sunakkhatta of the Lichavis called on me. He said, “I have now given up the Exalted One.
Bhaggava, I am remaining no longer under him as his pupil”. Is this fact really so, your Lord? The Buddha replied yes Bhaggava, it is just so. Sunnakhatta, came to me sometime back and informed me, “Sir I now give up the Exalted One as my teacher”. Then I queried, “Sunnakkhatta, have I ever requested you to be a pupil under me. Then he admitted “No Sir you have not”. Then I asked him again, “Sunnakkhatta have you ever said to me: Sir, I would fain dwell under the Exalted One (as the teacher). He replied “No Sir, I have not “. Thereafter I asked him “Sunnakkbatta, if you and I had not entered into such an agreement what rubbish are you talking of giving up?”
“Well Sir, the Exalted One works me no mystic wonders surpassing the powers of ordinary men”. The Buddha then asked him Sunakkbatta why now again. Have I ever said to you, come take me as your teacher I could work for you mystic wonders surpassing the powers of others ordinary men or have you ever said to me: “Sir, I would fain take the Exalted One as my teacher, for he will work for me mystic wonders surpassing the powers of other ordinary men? Sunakkhatta verily admitted, “No Sir not at all”. Now Sunakkhatta if you and I had no such agreement. Isn’t it foolish and what is it that you talk of giving up.
Whether mystic wonders beyond the power of ordinary men are wrought or whether they are not is the object for which I teach the Dhamma that it leads to the thorough destruction of ill for the doer thereof ? At that Sunakkhatta said, “Sir whether they are so wrought or not, that is indeed the object for which the Dhamma is taught by the Exalted One!
2. “Sunakkhatta, if matters not to that object whether mystic wonders are wrought or not, of what use to you would be the working of them. Look, fault here is your own.
“But Sir, the Exalted One does not reveal to me the beginning of things? Sunakkhatta, have I ever promised you to be my pupil and that I would reveal to you the beginning of things or have you ever said to me; “I will become the Exalted Ones pupil for he will reveal to me the beginning of things? No Sir, not at all” was his reply “Sunakkhatta, if you and I had no such agreement then what are you talking of giving up”. Sunakkhatta, whether the beginning of things be revealed or whether it be not, is the object for which I teach the Dhamma that it leads to the thorough destruction of ill for the doer thereof ? Sir, whether they are revealed or not, that is indeed the object for which the Dhamma taught by the Exalted One. If then Sunakkbatta, it matters not to that object whether the beginning of things be revealed or whether it be not, of what use to you would it be to have the beginning of things revealed.
Similarly on another occasion the Buddha met the wondering mendicant named Potthapada at a debate on “general systems of philosophical opinion at the Queen Mallika’s park Potthapada was accompanied by three hundred of his followers.
During the dialogue between the Medicant Potthapada and the Exalted One, Potthapada raised a series of questions.
Q Lord tell me at least: Is the World eternal? Is this alone the truth, and any other view mere folly ?
“That Potthapada, is a matter on which I have expressed no opinion” the Buddha replied.
Thereafter in the same terms, Potthapada questioned.
(a) Is the world not eternal?
(b) Is the world finite?
(c) Is the world infinite?
(d) Is the soul the same as the body?
(e) Is the soul one thing and the body another?
(f) Does one who has gained the Truth live again after death?
(g) Does he not live again?
(h) Does he live again and not live again after death?
(i) Does he neither live again, nor not live again after death?
3. The Buddha replied, Potthapada, for each of those questions there is one reply. I have expressed no opinion on these matters.
Because these questions are not calculated for profit. It is not concerned with the Dhamma. It does not redound even to the elements of right conduct, nor to detachment, nor to purification of lusts, nor to quietude, nor to tranquillization of heart, nor to real knowledge, nor to the insight (of the higher stages of the path), nor to Nibbhana. Therefore I express no option upon it.
QThen what is it that the Exalted One has determined?
(1) Potthapada I have expounded what Dukkha (suffering) is
(2) I have expounded what the Origin of Dukkha (suffering) is.
(3) I have expounded what the cessation of Dukkha (suffering) is.
(4) I have expounded that is the method by which one may reach the cessation of Dukkha (suffering)
QThen why has the Exalted One put forth a statement as to that?
Because that question Potthapada, is calculated for profit is concerned with the Dhamma redounds to the beginnings of right conduct to detachment, to purification from lusts, to quietude to tranquillization of heart to real knowledge, to the insight of the higher stages of the Path and to Nibbana. Therefore I have put forward a statement to that.
The purpose of Buddha Dhamma is not to determine the origin of the world but to reconstruct the world.
“THROUGH MANY A BIRTH IN EXISTENCE I WONDERED SEEKING BUT NOT FINDING, THE BUILDER OF THIS HOUSE. SORROWFUL IS THE REPEATED BIRTH. OR HOUSE HOLDER, THOU ART SEEN, THOU SHALL BUILD NO HOUSE AGAIN. ALL THY RIDGE POLE SHATTERED MINDS ATTAINS UN CONDITIONED ACHIEVEMENT IS THE END OF CRAVING”
(Paean of Joy)
(The Article, is based on facts gathered from the texts of noted authors Ven. Narada, Ven. K. Dhammananda, Max Muller, Rhys Davids, Dr. Ambedkar Golden Book series of India and Buddha Missionary Society Publications, Malaysia etc.
Writer can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org