Tibet Overland Tour
11 days | Departs Kathmandu/BeijingTibet Autonomous Region has long been known as the "Roof of the world" and is no idle statement. The land veiled in secrecy, closed to the outside world for centuries. 'The Roof of the World" is now open to you. The valley bottom ...read more
At the age of 29, Siddhartha asked his charioteer, Channa, to take him out of the city as he was not allowed to go out of the palace as the King was afraid as the astrologer had predicted the Prince to become an ascetic. During two trips, Siddhartha saw the "Four Sights" that changed his life. On the first trip, he saw old age, sickness, and death. The second trip, he saw a wandering holy man, an ascetic, with no possessions. Siddhartha started questioning the holy man and the man told him that he wanted to win salvation. That night, Siddhartha silently kissed his sleeping wife and son, and ordered Channa to drive him out to the forest. In the forest, Siddhartha took off his sword, and cut off his hair and beard.
He then took off all his princely garments and put on a yellow robe of a holy man. He then ordered Chianna to take his possessions back to the King.
Wandering through the northeastern India, Siddharth sought out holy men, and learned about Samsiara (reincarnation), Karma, and Moksha. One day, Siddhartha realised that his years of penance only weakened his body, and that he could not continue to meditate properly. When he stepped into the river to bathe, he was too weak to get out, and it is believed that the trees lowered their branches to help him.
At that instant, a milk-maid named Nandabala came and offered a bowl of milk and rice, which Siddhartha accepted.
Refreshed by the meal, Siddhartha sat down under a fig tree (often refeired to as the Bo tree, or Tree of Enlightenment) and resolved to find out an answer to life and suffering. While meditating, Mara (an evil god) sent his three sons and daughters to tempt Siddhartha with thirst, lust, and distractions of pleasure but Siddhartha stayed unswayed in deep meditation, and recalled all his previous rebirths, gained knowledge of the cycle of births and deaths, and with certainty, cast off the ignorance and passion of his ego which bound him to the world. Thereby, Siddhartha had attained enlightenment and became the Buddha (enlightened one).
Buddha went to the city of Sarnath. There Buddha began teaching holy men what he had learned. This preaching was called his Deer Park Sermon, or "Setting in Motion the Wheel of Doctrine." Siddihartha revealed that he had become the Buddha, and described the pleasure that he had first known as a prince, and the life of severe asceticism that he had practiced. Neither of these was the true path to Nirvana. The true path was the Middle Way, which keeps aloof from both extremes. At an age of about eighty, a blacksmith named Cuanda fed buddha with a meal that caused him to become ill.
Buddha even then forced himself to travel to Kushinagara, and laid down on his right side to rest in a grove of shala trees. It is said that as a crowd of followers gathered, the trees sprouted blossoms and showered them on Buddha. Buddha told Ananda, "I am old and my journey is near its end. My body is like a worn-out cart held together only by the help of leather straps." Three times, Buddha asked the people if they had any questions, but they all remained silent. Finally Buddha said, "Everything that has been created is subject to decay and death. Everything is transitory. Work out your own salvation with diligence. After passing through several states of meditation, the Buddha died, reaching Parinirvana (the cessation of perception and sensation).
The birth of prince Siddharta was a significant event in the history of mankind. He was born in Kaliyuga year, 2,748 (563 B.C) to king Suddhodana and queen Maya in the Royal Grove of Lumbini between Devadaha and Kapilavastu. The royal family belong to the Gouthama Gothra of the Sakya clan of the solar race. The kingdom Kapilavastu, was between the Nepalese foot-hills and the river Rapti. King Suddhodana was a wealthy knight and land owner. On the fifth day of the birth of the prince, the name ceremonies were performed and the royal soothsayers prophesied that the newly born was destined to be either a universal monarch or the supremely enlightened one, Buddha. Out of the eight soothsayers there was one who firmly predicted that the prince would become the Buddha. King Suddhodana was shocked on this prediction and inquired "what will my son see, that will be the occasion of his forsaking the house hold life?". The soothers said "Four signs" and described them as 'A man worn by age, A sick man, A dead body and finally a hermit. The king appointed an innumerable and magnificent guard and retinue to protect his son from any such sights. He took special care to see that this young prince does not see any thing out side the royal surroundings. He built Three places for the prince. One for the summer, another for the rainy season and the other for the winter. All amusement were provided for him in the way of water sports, boating, archery, riding and in all knightly accomplishments. Hundreds of girls were appointed for his services and entertainment. When prince Siddharta was sixteen years of age, king Suddhodana sought for wife for his son. It was king's desire to attach the prince to still more to the worldly life. By this time the prince had already experienced the desire to became a hermit. King Suddhodana was aware of this position.
There was the princess Yasodhara, prince Siddharta's cousin, the daughter of Suprabuddha of Kapilvastu and he decided to engaged the young Siddhartha's heart on her. The king devised plans to relish his wish. The marriage was celebrated with all magnificence. Prince Siddharta, who was to be the Bodhisattva lived in beautiful palaces with his wife surrounded by all the physical and intellectual pleasures that could be devised by love or art, he felt an ever more insistent call to the fulfillment of his spiritual destiny. This time came for him to see the Four Signs which were to be the immediate cause of the Great Renunciation. One day the Bodhisattva desired to visit the pleasure gardens of the royal family. He obtained permission from his father. King Suddhadana made all possible arrangements for the princes visit and ordered that every inauspicious sight should be removed. On the day that arranged the prince proceeded the royal gardens in the specially decorated chariot with the charioteer Channa. It was on this occasion that the gods took counsel to show him the four sights, that made him to seek for the true knowledge which could end misery. First he saw an old man, Secondly a diseased man, Thirdly a dead body and the Fourthly a Bikshu dressed in yellow garments sitting under a shady tree. He made inquires from the charioteer Channa and on the answers given conceived the prince of the futility of worldly pleasures. The prince who was delighted resolved that he would make a renunciation. When the King Suddhodana knew princes decision, he tried to persuade him but it was a failer. On the morning of the day of the going forth, when the Bodhisattva was being attired, a message was brought to him that Yasodhra had borne him a son. Instead of rejoicing he said "A bond has come in to being, a hindrance for me." The child was named Rahula. The Bodhisattva resolved to accomplish the Great Renunciation and he called for Channa, the charioteer to announce his departure. While Channa was getting ready with the Chariot, the Bodhisattva went to the Yasodara's chamber to take one look at his son. The mother and the child were asleep and he decided that " I will return and see him after I have attained enlighten.". In that very night mounting his horse with his charioteer he left the city and went as far as the frontiers of the kingdom. Bodhisattva took the sharp sword that Channa bore and served with it his long locks and jeweled crest and cast them in to the waters. It was the time that he was in need of a hermits dress. suddenly an angel appeared in the guise of an hunter clad in the russet robes of a forest-sage, he receiving the white Muslim garments of the prince, rendered to him the dark red robes in return, and so departed. Bodhisattva them asked Channa, the charioteer to lead back the horse to the city and give the royal robes to his father. Karnataka, the horse attended to all that had been said and happened died of a broken heart on the banks of the river Anoma. Channa returned to the city weeping and wailing, and the Bodhisattva was left alone. It was the beginning of a great departure and the beginning of the search of Sal vatic on for entire mankind, and the entire universe. The Eight important places in his noble life, begins from Lumbini, the place where he was born. Then, Bodhgaya the places where he attained enlighten. Sarnath is the most important where he turned the wheel of law or the place where he delivered his first sermon. In between Sarnath and Kushinagar where he attained Parinirvana there are places of important Sravasti, Raj Griha, Sankasya and Vaisali where Lord Buddha lived in monasteries and preached sermons.