This week’s literacy quote of the week comes from the Religion department who have chosen a quote from Buddha to enlighten all in our community as we approach the Christmas break.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha
The life story of the Buddha begins in Lumbini, near the border of Nepal and India, about 2,600 years ago, where the man Siddharta Gautama was born.
Although born a prince, he realized that conditioned experiences could not provide lasting happiness or protection from suffering.
“I teach because you and all beings want to have happiness and want to avoid suffering. I teach the way things are.”
The Buddha decided he had to leave his royal responsibilities and his family in order to realize full enlightenment. He left the royal palace secretly and set off alone into the forest.
Over the next six years, he met many talented meditation teachers and mastered their techniques. Always he found that they showed him mind’s potential but not mind itself.
Finally, at a place called Bodhgaya, the future Buddha decided to remain in meditation until he knew mind’s true nature and could benefit all beings.
After spending six days and nights cutting through mind’s most subtle obstacles, he reached enlightenment on the full moon morning of May, a week before he turned thirty-five.
This state of unconditional and lasting happiness has become known as the state of enlightenment.
After his enlightenment, Buddha traveled on foot throughout northern India for the next forty-five years where he taught others how to reach this same state.
“I can die happily. I have not kept a single teaching hidden in a closed hand. Everything that is useful for you, I have already given. Be your own guiding light.”
Buddha’s non-dogmatic teachings still characterize Buddhism today.