Siddhartha Gautama was born more than 2500 years ago in the small kingdom
of Lumbini in a region that is today called Nepal. At birth, he received the name Siddhartha
which means ‘the one who achieves his purpose’. At the celebration
marking his birth, a monk arrived and declared that the child will one day become
either a great king or a great holy man. On the fifth day of the festivities,
a naming ceremony took place to which the king invited eight pious men to foretell
the future of the child. They all prophesied the same outcome that he would
be either a great king or holy man. The youngest of the seers, however, said
that he would be the Buddha. The king, anxious about the meaning of the prophecy,
prevented the boy from receiving spiritual education and from being exposed
to any human suffering for he wanted his son to grow up to be a great king.
Siddhartha lived a life of privilege, abundance and delight until the age of
29. He got married, had a son but despite all the wealth and the fact that his
father provided for all his imaginable desires and needs, he sensed that this
was not his path. At the age of 29, Siddhartha departed from protective walls
of the castle intending to meet his subjects. Despite the efforts of his father
to rid the route Siddhartha took of all the suffering elderly and sick, Siddhartha
inevitably encountered an old man. The sight troubled him, especially when he
heard that all humans are destined to get old and to die. On subsequent trips
from the castle, Siddhartha encountered further infirmities, a corpse, and an
ascetic. The things he saw shook him to the core and so he fled the safety of
the castle with the intention of living a life of self mortification. He wanted
to find a solution to suffering caused by old age, sickness and death.
The Prince Siddhartha became an ascetic and a seeker of alms. He became
the disciple of several teachers from whom he learned spiritual practices. Although
he took these teachings and practices to the pinnacle of his abilities, each
time he left the teacher for he did not find that solution he was seeking.
He joined a group of five spiritual seekers who were attempting to gain spiritual
enlightenment by extreme denial of all material, worldly things including food.
Close to death from starvation he collapsed in the river while bathing and almost
drowned. He began to realize that this too was not the right way. He remembered
a time of happiness in his youth when he accompanied his father to observe the
plowing of the fields. Although it was a pleasant day, Siddhartha could not
help feeling pain for the creatures in the ground affected by the plowing. Siddhartha
realized what would be called "the middle way" by which he understood that extreme
asceticism and self mortification is like tuning a string of a musical instrument
too high – as a result the string will break. The opposite way is an addiction
to worldly pleasures being like loose strings that does not vibrate and thus
cannot produce any sound. In order to be balanced one must find the middle way
between these two extremes.
A girl wandering by saw his gaunt figure and thought he was the spirit
of the river. She made an offering to him of rice pudding with milk. Siddhartha
ate and recovered from his weakened state. His companions thought he had abandoned
his quest and had lost his way and so departed his company. Siddhartha sat down
under what is now know as the Buddhi tree in a region of India called Bodh-gaya
and vowed not to rise until he uncovered the Truth. After 49 days of meditation
he became enlightened and fully aware. Henceforth he was know as 'Buddha', meaning,
"The Awakened One". He discovered that the reason for human suffering is ignorance,
and revealed the way to remove that suffering.
The Four Noble Truths
The way to free oneself from the bonds of suffering is known as "The Four
Noble Truths" and total liberation is known as Nirvana. Buddha worried that
he would not be able to teach humanity the Dharma, the way to liberation. He
observed humanity and saw them mired in illusion, desires and hatred and he
had grave doubts whether they could comprehend the truth of the Dharma, which
was difficult to understand. He was told that there would be those few that
would understand and so with compassion for all creatures, he began to teach.
The "Four Noble Truths" are:
The knowledge that suffering exists – life in this existence is full of
The reason for suffering – suffering is caused by ignorance arising from
lack of self-awareness and lack of a basic knowledge of what is reality
It is possible to remove the causes of suffering
The Dharma is the way of liberation from suffering
The first truth is a way to diagnose the malady
The second truth identifies the causes of the malady – our ignorance as
to how to grasp the self and reality
The third truth is the possibility of a remedy for the malady
The fourth truth is the way to liberation
Dharma Ring Silver and Gold
The Dharma Wheel – Eight noble path
These four truths lead us to the eight stages of liberation from Samsara,
the wheel of birth and death and suffering. This is the way described by Buddha
to attain peace and tranquility, to satiate desires and to arrive at a full
awakening of the nature of reality. It is the way to rid oneself of the cravings
for gain (objects), hatred and illusion. This way is known as the fourth way,
the way represented by the wheel of Dharma – a wheel with eight spokes
representing the eight elements of the way.
In the words of the Buddha himself the eight ways are:
Right intention and thinking
Right manner of living (livelihood, occupation)
Right concentration (attention)
These eight parts are connected to three other basic divisions
The field (discipline) of reason (wisdom) – the connection (correlation)
between right view and right intention
The field of morals – right speech, action and occupation (the way in
which you sustain yourself)
The field of recognition – as manifest in right efforts, awareness and
These parts of the Way support one another. For example, is it up to the practitioner
to understand beforehand what the reasoning behind all the world of phenomenon
As soon as the first way, right view, arrives, the practitioner can continue
on his journey to right intention and this in turn will lead to right speech
and so on.
Right view (can also be translated as "right perspective", "right vision" or
"right understanding". It is the right way of looking at life, nature, and the
world as they really are.
is that which relates to suffering, to the root of suffering and to ending it.
Correct knowledge is also dependent on the personal strengths and abilities
of the practitioner. An example of correct understanding: The law (principle)
of Karma: for all actions of the body, of speech and of knowledge, there is
a karmic result.
Understanding existence: all that is created will cease to exist, all phenomena
are temporary and this is the source of suffering
Understanding suffering: old age, birth, sickness, pain, sadness, distress and
despair are suffering.
Longing and desire are the reasons for suffering and the end of yearning is
the way to end suffering. Erroneous (mistaken) understanding, which arises from
ignorance, leads to erroneous intentions, erroneous speaking, actions, and an
erroneous way of life, efforts, awareness and attention. The practitioner must
make correct efforts in order to rid himself permanently of erroneous understanding.
The purpose of correct understanding is to clear the path of all confusion,
lack of understanding, and pitfalls of illusion.
This is where the practitioner succeeds in permanently removing incorrect or
immoral intentions. For instance, one can decide not to harm or cause suffering
to any living thing. This is the use of will (power) to change immoral incorrect
intentions. Renunciation of materialism obligates one to the path of spirituality
and prevents one from causing harm to living things.
the right way to implement speech – abstaining from falsehoods, from disagreement,
from humiliating speech and from useless, futile words.
ethical action that does not harm or destroy others or oneself (for instance
the taking of a life or stealing)
refraining from participation in enterprises that directly or indirectly harm
living beings (for example trade in weaponry or selling meat)
constant effort to abandon all thoughts, words and actions that are erroneous
and harming. The practitioner diligently thinks, uses words and actions that
are helpful to himself and others.
It is up to the practitioner to maintain wakeful awareness, which influences
the consciousness and the body.
(attention): This refers to practices that enhance the ability to concentrate
or focus the consciousness. For example, attention on breathing (the breath)
or concentration on a specific object. Correct concentration (Samadhi) allows
one to disengage (detach) from the five senses and to enter a meditative state.
In this way the practitioner can unfold intelligence (wisdom) and investigate
by direct experience the true nature of phenomenon. This way thwarts the polluting
of consciousness, promotes experiencing the true nature of reality and ultimately
leads to full awakening. During the course of right concentration, the practitioner
must examine within himself the truth of his understanding. This process will
unfold (germinate) right knowledge and in due course he will attain liberation.
With right view the intention is towards uncovering and observing the essential
truth of things, things as they are, and not how they appear to the eye and
not according to how the practitioner wants to see them. Correct liberation
is the result of correct knowledge. This is the result of the application of
the way of Dharma. In this way one can fully actualize (realized) and understand
the essence of reality
This article cover the basic principles of Buddhism which are the base
for David's Buddhist
jewelry designs. Each design is crafted to bring you the wearer a sense
of aliveness, happiness and insight into our true nature.
David Weitzman is the force behind Ka Gold Jewelry. David has dedicated himself for many years to the search for sacred knowledge. He has vast knowledge in the fields of Kabbalah, sacred geometry, Egyptian wisdom, Jewish tradition, Tibetan Buddhism and other sacred concepts.