I-Introduction & General Information

Buddhism is one of the most popular religions in Asia, particularly in South East Asia in countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka and others. There are over 600 million Buddhists in the world. Although some argue that Buddhism is not as popular as it used to be in the past, yet, we do hear of famous people such as Richard Gere converting to Buddhism as they get fascinated by the teachings of this Oriental religion which is based on self-denial and spirituality.

II-The Birth of Buddha

Buddhism started with Buddha (The Enlightened) and most of the teachings of Buddhism developed during his lifetime in which he tried to reach the highest levels of spirituality and self-denial.

A-Pre-birth Phase

According to the Karma law, human beings, lived different lives at different times. However, Buddha lived in a divine world called Tushita where all joys are satisfied (Corless, p.5). He found out that this life of his was not permanent and so decided to descend to the human world to release himself from suffering, because it was in the human world where he could reach Buddhahood or enlightenment (Corless,p.5).

B-Buddha in Mayadevi’s Womb

He appointed Maitreya to be his successor as Buddha and departed to Jambudvipa where he grew in the womb of Queen Mayadevi (Corless,p.7). It is believed that the material body of his mother illuminated while she held him in her womb. The mother died shortly after the Buddha came out from her side without any pain to rule the world with his wisdom. The mother’s womb is believed to have transferred to another heavenly world so that it would not bear any children. The birth of the Buddha according to the Western Calendar was in the year 563 BC (Corless,p.7).

III-The Life of Buddha

A-Buddha’s Upbringing

He was named Prince Siddhartha and his father the King tried to prevent his son from meeting any unpleasant scenes or experiences. He was taught the arts of war...