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>> Previsous page    An Offering  17. The Great Battle
18. Awakened   19. Whom to Teach  20. The First Teaching  21. A Mother's Grief  
next page >>  21. A Mother's Grie 22. A Rude Man 23. Words of Praise  24. Kindness to Animals 25. The power of Love  26. The return 27. The King and the Spirit Tree 28. Equal love to All 29. The Final days

An Offering

 In a small village at the edge of the forest lived a herdsman and his wife Sujata. She just given birth to her first child and was very happy. She took the finest milk from her husband's cows and prepared a delicious meal from it. Now she was taking this food into the forest as an offering to the spirits she thought lived there. She had often prayed to these spirits and wanted to thank them for helping her have such a healthy baby.

As she entered the forest she saw Siddhartha sitting there. His body was thin and weak, but his face was radiant and handsome. Sujata gazed at him in surprise. "I have never seen anyone like that before," she thought to herself. "Perhaps it is the king of the tree spirits himself !" And so she took the specially prepared food and placed it before him.

Siddhartha slowly opened his eyes and saw the bowl in front of him. Smiling silently to Sujata he lifted it to his lips and began to drink. To her amazement, his body grew more and more radiant as he drank. When he was finished he placed the bowl down and thanked her saying, "you thought I was a spirit, but I am only a man in search of the truth. Your offering has made me strong again. Now, I am sure that I shall find the truth. Much good will come from-what you have done today. Thank you."

The five men who were living in the forest with Siddhartha saw him accept this special food from Sujata. They were very disappointed and said to themselves, "Siddhartha has given up his search. He is no longer following the holy life. Look, he bathes himself and takes rich food again. How can we stay with such a man any longer? come. Let us leave this forest and travel to Benares. We can continue our practices in Deer Park near there."

And so they left, thinking that Siddhartha was longer interested in discovering the truth. But Siddhartha, strengthened by his meal and prepared to meditate, was now ready to find what he had been looking for all these many years. He stood up, waded across the river and headed towards what would be known in later years as the Tree of Enlightenment.

The Great Battle

 The moment that the world had been waiting for was now at hand. Siddhartha, who had given up a kingdom in search of truth, was approaching the tree. On his way, he passed a man carrying freshly cut grass and asked him for a small bundle. This he would use his seat.

As he drew closer the air became very still. It was as if the whole world was holding its breath, anxiously awaiting what would happen next. The branches of the tree bent down as if welcoming him to come and sit down under its shade. Siddhartha carefully arranged the grass into a small cushion and sat down, facing the east. He crossed his legs in a firm meditation posture on rested his hands in his lap. Then he made a bold and determined vow: "I shall not arise from this position until I have reached my goal, even if I die sitting here !" And all the spirits of the air looking on rejoiced, hearing Siddhartha's great pledge. It was the full moon day of the fourth month, and the sun was about to set. But the ancient stories tell us that not everyone rejoiced at this moment. There was one force, called Mara, who was terrified and angry. For Mara, She is the name the ancient Indian people gave to the evil forces that disturb our minds. Mara is our greed, hatred, ignorance, jealousy, doubt and all the other poisons bringing people unhappiness and grief.

Thus, when Mara saw Siddhartha seated under the tree of enlightenment, he was enraged. Calling his sons and daughters around him he shouted, "Look, all of you. Siddhartha is seated in meditation. If he is successful and discovers the way to end all suffering, what will happen to us? Don't you understand that we shall lose all our power ? We can not harm people if he teaches them the truth. We must disturb his meditation, or else we doomed !" So Mara and his evil forces tried everything to disturb Siddhartha. They produced a fearful storm and hurled lightning bolts down around him. They churned up a great wind until everything around seemed ready to crash down. But beneath the branches of the tree everything remained calm, protected by the force of Siddhartha's meditation.

Mara saw that the storm had no effect so he turned to his troops and shouted, "Attack!" The whole horde of evil spirits, demons and nightmare shapes turned against Siddhartha. They ran towards him wildly, yelling blood-curdling screams. They shot poisoned arrows of hate at him. But as these arrows flew towards the Siddhartha, they turned into lotus petals and fell harmlessly at his feet. Nothing could disturb the peace of his meditation. "If these weapons and fearful shapes do not distract him," Mara thought, "perhaps a vision of beauty will disturb his mind." All at once the frightful demons turned into the most beautiful and alluring of women. These bewitching creatures danced in front of the meditation, but even they could not affect him. Memories of the pleasure palaces, visions of his wife and son, heavenly music, delicious food-nothing could break through the calm determination of this seeker of truth.

Mara felt defeated. But he had one last plan. Dismissing his attendants, he appeared alone in front of the Prince . Addressing him in a mocking voice he said, "so you are the great Prince Siddhartha ? you think you are a great meditation. So many holy people have failed to find the truth, but you think you will succeed ! "How foolish you are ! Don't you know that it takes a lot of preparation to find the truth you are looking for. First you wasted twenty-nine years pampering yourself. Then you wasted six more years starving yourself. Now you sit here thinking that wisdom will just come to you. How foolish ! Quit this meditation, or at least show me a witness who will swear that you are worthy of succeeding where all others have failed. "

These scornful words failed to bother Siddhartha . Silently he lifted his right hand from his lap, reached in front of him and touched the earth. Yes, the earth itself was Siddhartha's witness ! For countless lifetimes he had appeared on this earth in various forms. He had practiced generosity and patience, he had acted lovingly and had avoided harming others, and he had meditated on the truth. He had done all these things-sometimes as a man, sometimes as a woman; sometimes rich, sometimes poor-over and over again. He had done this all , just for the sake of discovering the end to all suffering. And the earth was his witness. Mara realized that now he was truly defeated, and faded away like a bad dream. Siddhartha was left completely alone. The storm clouds parted and the moon shone brightly in the sky. The air smelled sweet and a light dew glistened on the tips of the grass. Everything was ready.


Siddhartha's mind was calm and relaxed. Slowly his concentration deepened and his wisdom grew brighter. In his mind's eye he saw far into the past. He saw that when one life ended, another began. Death only brought the body to an end; life itself continued on and on finding a new body again and again. He saw that when a person did evil in one life-such as harming another-he or she experienced sadness in the future. But when a person acted with love, happiness and joy followed. Nothing anyone did was ever lost, but was carried on from life to life, bringing happiness or pain.

As he discovered how all life is linked together in this way, deeper truths appeared to his mind. The sun, planets, all the stars, the galaxies of the universe-they all appeared in his meditation. He saw how everything, from the smallest speck of dust to the largest star, was linked together. Everything was constantly changing , growing, decaying, and growing again. Nothing happened without a cause, and every cause produced and effect.

Then he saw all the sufferings of the world. He saw how everyone-from the smallest insect to the greatest king-ran after pleasure, only to end up with unhappiness. And he discovered the reason for all this unhappiness. He saw that people do not really understand that everything is always changing. They are blind to this truth. In their blindness they fight and steal and kill for the things they want, but these things can never bring them lasting happiness. Soon they change or decay, and the search starts again.

He saw that people fight against the things they dislike. Their whole life is filled with hatred and anger. And every time they harm someone else, they suffer for it later. They go from lifetime to lifetime creating more unhappiness for themselves. They are searching for peace, but find nothing but pain.

Finally he discovered the way to end all this suffering. If a person could see the truth clearly-as he himself and seen it this night-all running after pleasure and away from pain would stop. There would be no more greed or hatred in the person's mind. He or she would no longer do anything to harm anyone else. Thus, there would be no more unhappiness to be felt. With all hatred finished, the person's heart would fill with love. And this love would bring a peace and happiness unlike anything else.

When Siddhartha had seen all this, even the last speck of darkness disappeared from his mind. He was filled with a radiant clear light. He was no longer and ordinary person. He had become fully enlightened to the truth. He was now a Buddha. He had reached his goal ! With a calm and peaceful smile, he arose from his meditation. It was morning, and the sun was rising in the east.

Whom to teach

All of nature rejoiced that glorious morning. Fresh flowers blossomed everywhere and sent their sweet perfume into the air. Birds sang joyfully and creatures everywhere forgot their fear. Rainbows and beautifully coloured clouds appeared in the sky, and people marvel led to see such wondrous sights.

Buddha himself was filled with the highest happiness. His mind, free from all darkness and pain, felt a boundless joy. For days and weeks he stayed near the Tree of Enlightenment, enjoying the bliss and happiness only a Buddha knows. Then he thought, "it was so difficult for me to reach the end of suffering and become a Buddha. I had to work so hard for so long. When I see how blind and ignorant most people are, I wonder if there is anyone who can understand the truths I have discovered. How could I possibly teach them? Perhaps it is better for me to live the rest of my life in the forests alone and enjoy the happiness of being a Budhha myself." Then he heard an inner voice which said, "please do not forget us ! We are the suffering beings of the world. We have been waiting for this moment ever since your birth, and even before that. We have hoped and prayed these for many years that you would leave the princely life and discover the way to end all suffering. Now that you have found this path, please teach it to us. Unlike you, we are still suffering."

But another thought arose in buddha's mind: "who will be able to follow the teachings I have to give ? Who is strong and brave enough ? Who will try hard and long enough ?" And the inner voice came again: "It is true that our minds are clouded in ignorance, O Buddha. But for some people this ignorance is not so thick. They will be able to understand you. For their sake, please teach us all the true path !" And Buddha smiled and said, "Of course, of course, I shall teach. The only reason I felt the princely life was to find a way to help others. Now that I have become a Buddha, I shall do everything I can."

"But even a Buddha can not remove the sufferings of others if they do not try to help themselves. People must want to get better before a doctor can cure them. In the same way, they must want to hear the teachings of the truth before anyone can help them. But whoever comes to me with an open mind will find that I am ready to teach them in every way I can."

Then he thought, "who, among all the people in world, should I teach first ? Who is the most ready? He remembered Arada and Udraka, the two teachers he had met six years before. "They would be the best to teach, but I can see that they have already died and left this world." Then he thought of the five men who lived with him for so long in the forest. "They are ready to understand the truth, " he thought, " I shall teach them first." He knew that he would find these men in the Deer Park near Benares, the holiest city of ancient India. "I shall go there," Budhha proclaimed, " and begin the work I came to do."


The First Teaching

 It was a long way to Benares and Budhha walked slowly through village and farm. Everyone was immediately attracted to him. He was tall and handsome and moved with dignity and grace. Just seeing him brought calmness and joy to the people. He spoke kind and gentle words of comfort to everyone he met. Whether they were rich or poor, simple or intelligent, of noble birth or low, Buddha treated them all equally, with great love and respect.

Finally, he reached the Deer Park. From a distance the five men saw him approach. Quickly they s whispered to one another, "Here comes that good-for-nothing Siddhartha. Let us have nothing to do with such a quitter ! Ignore him if he comes near." But as Buddha approached the men immediately felt that there was something very special about him. Forgetting their plan to ignore him, they automatically stood up as he drew near. With great respect they prepared a seat for him, took his robe, brought him some water and said, "Welcome Siddhartha, to the Deer Park. We are honored that you have joined us here." Buddha answered, " I thank you for your kind welcome, O monks. But you should know that I am no longer simply Siddhartha, and it is no longer right for you to call me by that name." "By what name should we call you then ?" they asked. "The whole world is asleep in ignorance," he answered. "When someone discovers the truth, he or she is asleep no longer. Now I am awake, having discovered the truth. All such Awakened Ones are called Buddha."

Then the five men, with great respect, said, "O Buddha, please teach us what you have learned so that we too may awaken." And so, in answer to their request, Buddha delivered his first teaching. It is called "
Turning the Wheel of the Dharma" and "Dharma" is the truth he discovered. "O monks, " he began, "you must know that there are four Noble Truths. The first is the Noble Truth of suffering. Life is filled with the miseries of old age, sickness, death and unhappiness. People chase after pleasure but find only pain. Even when they find something pleasant they soon grow tired of it. Nowhere is there any real satisfaction or peace.

The second is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering. When our mind is filled with greed and desire, sufferings of all types follow. For example, if a rich man is attached to his wealth, his miserliness will bring him nothing but pain.

The third is the Noble Truth of the End of Suffering. When we remove all craving and desire from our mind, suffering will come to an end. We shall experience a peace and happiness that is beyond words.

Finally, the fourth truth is the Noble Truth of the Path. This path leads to the end of all suffering. If we avoid harming all other living beings, if we sharpen and focus our mind, and if we gain wisdom, each of us can reach perfect happiness, the end of all misery."

When they heard these words the five men felt as happy as if they had found a great treasure of gold. " Oh, Buddha," they said, "you have indeed found the truth. Please teach us the path to perfect wisdom and happiness and we shall be your followers." It is said that many unseen spirits also heard these first teachings and flew to the ends of the earth crying, "The Buddha has begun to teach. Let us the world rejoice !"


A Mother's Grief

 Buddha taught in many different ways. To simple people and to children he taught by telling stories. To those people with high intelligence, Buddha gave detailed explanations of the path. To others, he taught without speaking any words at all. But, perhaps, his most powerful teaching was his own example, the very way he lived his life. He always acted with kindness and love. He was patient with everyone, even the most ignorant and foolish.

Very soon, many people were attracted to him and became his followers. If someone had a problem, he or she would go to Buddha and ask his advice. There was one woman, named Gotami, whose child had just died. She was so sad that she became crazy. She went everywhere trying to bring her child back to life. Her friends felt sorry for her and said, "Gotami, you should go and see the Buddha. Perhaps he can help you."

She went before Buddha still holding her child in her arms. "Please bring him back to life for me," she cried. Very gently Buddha answered her, " I can help you, Gotami, but first you must bring me something. I need one small mustard seed. However, it must come from a house where no one has ever died." Gotami quickly went out in search of a mustard seed. She asked at one home and the woman there answered, "Of course you can have a mustard seed. You can have whatever you want... But you should know that last year my husband died. "

"Oh," Gotami replied, "then I must search elsewhere" and ran off to the next house. But everywhere she went, the same thing happened. Everyone wanted to help her, but someone had died in every family she visited. One person told her, "Three years ago I lost my daughter." Another said, " my bother died her yesterday." It was always the same.

At the end of the day she returned to the Buddha. "What have you found, Gotami?" he asked. "Where is your mustard seed. ? And there is your son? You are not carrying him any longer." She answered, "Buddha, today I have discovered that I am not the only one who has lost a loved one. Everywhere people have died. I see how foolish I was to think I could have my son back. I have accepted his death, and this afternoon I buried him. Now I have returned to you to hear your teachings. I am ready to listen. " Then Buddha said, "Gotami, you have learned a great deal today. Death must come to everyone sooner or later. But if you learn the truth you can live and die in happiness. Come, I shall teach you." And so he taught her, and soon she found more peace and happiness than she had ever known before.

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BCP Infini BCP Infini

I believe we can go beyond all limits.

I love to create things that surprise.
"Creating is not a work. It is to breathe, it is to exist."

I am Carl-Philippe Brenner, a young graphic and web designer based in Bordeaux, France. I graduated from Design Institut (Web Designer and Webmaster), Bordeaux.
I am currently working as a freelance for various compagnies from Europe, Africa and Latin America.
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Graduated from IDAE Institut de Design et d'Am�nagement d'Espace (Web Designer and Webmaster), Bordeaux.


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