The Buddha is the person who attained ‘Samma Bodhi’ (Right Enlightenment). It is, therefore, essential to know what is Samma Bodhi and how it was attained.
In the sixth century B.C., the Sakya State of Kapilvastu was ruled by the king Suddhodana. Siddharth Gautama was the son of the king Suddhodana. In the year when Siddharth was twenty eight, there was a major clash over the water of the river Rohini between the servants of the Sakyas and the servants of the Koliyas. With a view to settle the issue once for all, the Sakya Sangh passed the resolution to declare war against the Koliyas, to which, Siddharth opposed. As a consequence of opposition, he had to accept the punishment to become Parivrajaka and leave the country. After leaving the country Siddharth once thought, ‘ the conflict between nations is occasional, but the conflict between classes is constant and perpetual, which is the root of all sorrow and suffering in the world.’ To find a solution for this problem of Social Conflict, he decided to examine the then established philosophies.
Siddharth studied Sankhya Philosophy, mastered the techniques of Samadhi Marga and practiced the austerities and mortification of the severest sort for six years, but he was no nearer to the solution to the problem of misery in the world. Despite failure of all these paths, he was still hopeful and determined to achieve the enlightenment.
Siddharth sat for meditation under the Banyan tree for four weeks and reached the final enlightenment in these four stages – 1.Reason and Investigation 2.Concentration 3.Equanimity and Mindfulness 4. Added Purity to Equanimity and Equanimity to Mindfulness. Thus, his mind was concentrated, purified, spotless, with defilement gone, supple, dexterous, firm and impassionate. While acquiring this highest state of mind, he did not forget his problem of misery in the world and concentrated on it. On the night of the last day, he realized two problems – 1.There was suffering in the world 2. How to remove this suffering and make mankind happy. He thought that the suffering and unhappiness in the world was an incontrovertible fact. So he concentrated his mind on the second problem- how to remove suffering and unhappiness. To solve this problem, he asked himself two questions -1.What are the causes of suffering and unhappiness which an individual undergoes? 2, How to remove unhappiness? He got a right answer to both these questions. This answer is called ‘Samma Bodhi’ (Right Enlightenment). Thus, Siddharth Gautama became a BUDDHA.
The Buddha taught – JUSTICE, LOVE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY
The Buddha’s doctrine is the doctrine of righteousness and his aim was to establish kingdom of righteousness on earth. His doctrine is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. One who follows His doctrine, he will be happy. He was Marga Data (Way Finder) and not Moksha Data (Giver of Salvation).
Some people say that there were twenty seven Buddhas but the history of their being is not available, except the above. Their existence could not be proved. The Buddha himself said that the things based on speculation should not be believed.