Gautama Buddha vs. Prince Siddhartha: The Realization

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Difference between Gautama Buddha and Prince Siddhartha

Known all over the world as Buddha or Gautama Buddha, this religious figure started out life in a much different fashion as the Prince Siddhartha. Before attaining enlightenment and his lofty status as one of the great religious leaders of the world, Siddhartha obviously went through numerous challenges and obstacles, as well as considerable amounts of learning and revelations. This comparison article on the life of Siddhartha and Gautama Buddha will show a little bit of what he went through in the path to enlightenment.

Birth And Enlightenment

Gautama Buddha, was born as Siddhartha to a royal family in what is now known as the Indo-Nepalese region. The founder of the Buddhist religion, Siddhartha–later known as Gautama Buddha–was thought to have lived from 563 to 483 B.C. Siddhartha was the son of the King of Sakya, Sudhodana, who reigned in Kapilavastu. He was born in Lumbini village into the warrior tribe of the Sakyas. After his birth, a well respected sage approached the royal family and advised them that the according to the child’s astrological information he was destined to become either a great and gifted warrior or holy man. Throughout much of Siddhartha’s early life, he enjoyed the privileged existence as royalty, with his father eager protect him from anything ugly or unpleasant. It was then thought that seeing such things would lead him to a life of hardship and suffering.

Life Before And After

Before leaving on the path to a spiritual life, Siddhartha was involved in various activities fitting to a youth of his stature as a warrior aristocrat. It is thought that he engaged in martial arts and that he studied agricultural as well as literature. Of course, religious and philosophical studies were also studied, as was typical in those days. It is also though that Siddhartha was quite active in physical pursuits, having been involved in chariot combat, wrestling, and archery, among many other activities. These theories stand in sharp contrast to the image of the “Fat Buddha", which was actually based on a later Buddha, Bodhisattva Maitreya. Upon leaving for his spiritual quest, the life of Siddhartha took a drastic turn, and his years before becoming Gautama Buddha were marked by extreme hardship and suffering, although his achievement of enlightenment would eventually bring about a period of moderation in all things including suffering.

Realizations

While Siddhartha lived a sheltered life as a prince, his father the king was eager to provide him with various distractions that would protect him from a life of asceticism. However, the chance sighting of different examples of human suffering–a poor, old man, a man stricken with disease, and a corpse–led to an inner turmoil that could only be assuaged by the rejection of the life that he enjoyed previously. It was then that he went to study as a Brahman or holy man. He later realized that there was much to be learned by leaving the confines of the hermitage, so it was with this realization that he left in order to travel and to practice fasting extensively. He began a life of extreme asceticism, although this too failed to give him the enlightenment he sought. With the realization that the true path lay in moderation and the impermanence of all creations, Siddhartha was finally on the path to attaining Nirvana as Gautama Buddha.

Summary

Gautama Buddha

  • Was the first documented Buddha but not the first one to exist on the Earth
  • Became Gautama Buddha at the age of 35
  • Realized that the path to true enlightenment lay not in suffering
  • Preached on the impermanence of life and all creations
  • Taught that all humans can reach the state of Buddha through the adoption of various disciplines
Prince Siddhartha (Before he became Buddha)

  • Lived a sheltered life as a youth
  • Left home to become a Brahman
  • Lived an ascetic life before achieving enlightenment

More artifacts are preserved from which one?
  • Gautama Buddha
  • Prince Siddhartha
 
 

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