Nichiren Shu Buddhist Temple of UK

The Buddha

The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was born in what is today Southern Nepal, approximately 2500 years ago. Siddhartha was a prince, the son of the tribal leader of the Śākya Clan. He was married, had one son, Rāhula, and lived the life of a nobleman in his country. At the age of 29, having been educated and trained as a prince, Siddhartha left his family. He observed the unsatisfactory qualities of life and sought a solution to them. He decided to become a monk, and began ascetic practices. Studying under many teachers, Siddhartha mastered arduous yogic practices, starving himself and enduring the elements for many years. However, this still offered no release from the suffering, and he realised that despite all he had learned he still had not gained what he had sought for so long. 

Having abandoned the ascetic way (much to the dismay of his peers) he sat down under a Bo Tree near Uruvelā and started meditating; vowing not to leave the spot until he attained enlightenment. During his meditation under the Bo tree, Māra, the King of Illusion, confronted the prince-ascetic, trying desperately to dissuade the him from his quest. Although Mara tempted the prince and threatened him, he remained steadfast and refused to bow to the Devil King's illusions and trickery. After several weeks, Siddhartha finally achieved his goal and became the Buddha, the Awakened One. 

After his enlightenment, the Buddha returned to where his peers he had previously practised austerities alongside. Realising that he had reached his goal when they saw him approaching, they praised him and became his faithful students. The Buddha Śākyamuni (the sage of the Śākya clan) began to explain to them what he had come to realise through his awakening and guided them through his teachings on their own paths to becoming Buddhas. He continued preaching the Dharma until he passed away at age 80.