NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

Nepal Celebrates the Buddha's Birth: Noble Truths


Buddhists around the world will celebrate the 2,558th anniversary of the birth of the Buddha this Wednesday. In Kathmandu preparations are already on.

The word Buddha indicates an enlightened being, and Buddhists believe that there have been several of them in the course of history. The most recent of these was Siddhartha Gautam, an individual whose life is recorded in history.

Siddhartha Gautam was the son of King Suddhodhan of the Shakya dynasty, who ruled in Kapilvastu in southern Nepal in the fifth century BC. At the birth of prince Siddhartha, a wise man told the king that the boy would be either a great emperor or a great sage, destined either to rule the world or to save it. The king took this prophecy to heart and taught Siddhartha to be a warrior and statesman. The king also kept his son isolated from the outside world, and as a child Siddhartha saw nothing of aging, pain, or death.

When prince Siddhartha reached maturity he was shocked and dismayed by his discovery of the evils of the world, and he renounced his family and crown and went on a decades-long quest to find "the truth."

Siddhartha roamed the plains of what is now north India and followed the traditional ways of seeking enlightenment: meditation, yoga and mortification of the flesh. He learned many truths but not the final truth he sought. One day at Bodhgaya in India, Siddhartha sat under a great tree and vowed to stay there until he perceived the ultimate answer. In a moment of complete understanding, he was released from attachment to the world and became enlightened.

boudhanath stupa.png
Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu with 100,000 butter lamps lining its base.
Photo: John Child in Kathmandu

For the rest of his life, Siddhartha Gautam, now a Buddha, taught his Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to enlightenment. The Buddha's teachings were a personal philosophy and a structure for living a good life. He clearly did not intend to start a religion and expressly forbade his followers to worship him.

When the Buddha died, eighty years to the day from his birth, his cremated remains were divided, distributed, and placed under eight burial mounds at places where he had taught. Those mounds became some of the earliest symbols of Buddhism, and throughout the Buddhist world those mounds are remembered still in the monuments called, in various places, stupas, chortens, and chaityas.

At the main stupas in Kathmandu, all more that 1,500 years old, devotees will light butter lamps and string prayer flags on Wednesday to celebrate the day.

John Child is The NewsBlaze Nepal Correspondent, a journalist in Kathmandu who writes about goings-on in and around Nepal and her neighbors. Read more stories by John Child in Kathmandu.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Nepal News

The Himalayan country has seen unrest as Madhesi groups with close ties to India demanded revisions to the Constitution. India sided with the group allegedly prevented fuel tankers from crossing its border.
A mob attacked police vehicles by throwing stones, so police fired tear gas and live rounds at protestors, a market and homes, killing four non-protestors.
Empower Nepali Girls NGO switches focus to support devastated communities in Nepal, after the recent earthquakes, changing the lives of hundreds of Nepali.
D.R. Prasai writes about the massive 2015 earthquakes that have affected Nepal, and the miserable performance of the internationally backed government failure.
Here is what caused the magnitude 7.8 earthquake and scores of aftershocks in Nepal and surrounding areas, moving the affected area 10 feet south and three feet higher.
John Child reports an update on day 10 after a massive earthquake hit Nepal and surrounding countries. Good work by locals and others contrasts government incompetence.
...More Nepal  


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site