Why is transitoriness so important in Buddhism


Siddharta's first years

About 2560 years ago, a son was born into the Shakyas' royal family. The parents who rule a kingdom in present-day Nepal call him Siddharta. That means "who has achieved his goal".

Soon after the birth, there are increasing signs that the son is an unusual child. Flowers sprout from the earth when he takes his first steps. The father invites three wise men to the court who are supposed to predict the future of his son and future heir to the throne.

The wise men prophesy that Siddharta will only become heir apparent and warrior if he does not come into contact with the suffering of this world. But when he realizes that lasting happiness is not possible in the world, he will leave everything and bring a new perspective into the world.

In order to keep Siddharta away from suffering, the parents surround him with abundance and all kinds of distractions. So he grows up with absolute carefree and married Princess Yasodhara at the age of 16.

The realization

Siddharta's life changes fundamentally when one day he leaves the palace and is confronted with the reality of life for the first time. For three consecutive days he sees a suffering sick person, then a frail old man and finally a dead person - the three signs of impermanence.

He understands the basic problem of human existence: There is nothing that can really be relied on permanently, neither material goods, nor fame or friends. Everything is dependent on other things, changeable and perishable. All ultimately painful.

By meeting a meditating mendicant monk, Siddharta suddenly understands that the key to lasting happiness lies in realizing the true nature of the mind. To find the way to this knowledge is his goal from now on.

Shortly after the birth of his only son Rahula, he left his small family. He is later called Buddha Shakyamuni, a sage from the Shakya family. He was 29 years old when the prophecy of the wise men was fulfilled.

The search

In the robe of an ascetic he wandered around poor and homeless in order to find final redemption as a monk. For six years he wandered the Ganges valley, met famous religious teachers, studied and followed their methods. He practices life-threatening fasting and renunciation - without success. Finally he withdraws to a river and practices meditation.

Under a tree, a poplar fig, he experiences the longed-for enlightenment after six days and nights of deep immersion.

For the next seven weeks, Buddha, the awakened, remains seated under the tree. The place where Buddha achieved enlightenment is now an important place of pilgrimage. It is located near the town of Bodhgaya, in the state of Bihar.

The message

Siddharta now knows the answer to the four primal questions, what is suffering, how it arises, how it can be overcome and which is the way to achieve it. These "Four Noble Truths" are henceforth his message. Everything is summarized in it.

In the gazelle grove of Sarnath at the gates of Varanasi, Buddha meets five wandering ascetics who have been with him before, but who had left him. They become his first disciples and form the core of the monastic community, the Sangha.

From now on the wheel of teaching, the Dharma, is set in motion. For 45 years Buddha taught his disciples to lean on the three jewels: on Buddha, as the goal and expression of the full development of the spirit, on the teaching, the way there and on the Sangha, the spiritual friends who accompany one on this path .

At the age of 80, Buddha left his body. He dies of food poisoning in Kushinagara, Nepal and is part of the final liberation.