Gautam Buddha was one of the greatest religious teachers that the world
has seen. He is the founder of Buddhism, a religion that is popular in
Burma, China, Japan, Thailand and other South Eastern Countries.
Buddha was born in 563 B.C. as
Siddhartha, the prince of
Kapilavastu (in Nepal).
Buddha's father, Suddhodana,
was king of the Sakhyas. Buddha's
mother was named Maya.
Maya died seven days after her
son's birth. The child was brought
up by Maya's sister Mahaprajapati,
who became his foster-mother.
The name Siddhartha means
"wish-fulfilled" or "one who has
accomplished his goal".
It was predicted that Siddhartha
would give up all the worldly
pleasures and follow a simple life.
The Birth of
Suddhodana apprehended that his son
may become a recluse and turn away
from the world if he was left to himself.
Siddhartha was married off at the age
of sixteen. His wife's name was Yasodhara
and he had a son named Rahul.
One day he ventured out of the palace
and saw suffering, pain and death for the
He felt that one day he would also
become a prey to old age, disease and
death. This experience changed his life.
He realized that worldly happiness was
One day, at midnight, Siddhartha left
the palace, giving up his wife and young
Buddha spent many years in the company
of saints and finally one day when he was
sitting under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya
(Bihar, India) he was blessed with the divine
This was the turning point, as he realized
that the truth is within every human being.
The search outside was pointless.
After this, Siddhartha was known all over
the world as Buddha, the “Enlightened One”.
He was also known by the name of Sakhya
Muni, which meant an ascetic of the Sakhya
This awakening was achieved during a
night of meditation, which passed through
various stages as the illumination that
Gautama had sought slowly welled up in his
In the first stage, he saw each of his
previous existences, and then
understood the chain of cause and
In the second, he surveyed the death
and rebirth of all living beings and
understood the law that governs the
cycle of birth and death.
In the third, he identified the Four
the universality of suffering
the cause of suffering through
the solution to suffering and
the way to overcome suffering.
This final point is called the Noble
Lord Buddha preached: "We will
have to find out the cause of sorrow
and the way to escape from it.
The desire for sensual enjoyment
and clinging to earthly life is the
cause of sorrow.
If we can eradicate desire, all
sorrows and pains will come to an
end. We will enjoy Nirvana or
According to Buddhism, by
following the eightfold path one
could overcome desires, which are
the root cause of grief and misery.
Buddha died in 483 BC at the age
of 80 years.
Jainism is one of the world's oldest religions. This ancient religion was
passed on to us through the high spiritual genius of one of the greatest
religious teachers of all time, Mahavira. However, Mahavira was not the
founder of Jainism. He brought together in a systematic form the beliefs
and philosophy of his predecessors, preached them widely throughout
his home country, and lay the foundations of an organized Jain 'church'
with monks, nuns and lay persons following his teachings. The social
order which he created has endured to the present day.
Lord Mahavira was the twenty-
fourth and the last Tirthankara of the
Mahavira was born in 599 B.C as a
prince in Bihar, India.
At the age of 30, he left his family
and royal household, gave up his
worldly possessions, including
clothing and become a monk.
According to Jain philosophy, all
Tirthankaras were born as human
beings but they had attained a state
of perfection or enlightenment
through meditation and self
Tirthankaras are the Gods of Jains.
Tirthankaras are also known as
Arihants or Jinas.
Tirthankara - One who establishes
the four fold order (Monk, Nun,
Layman, and Laywoman) of religion.
Arihant - One who destroys his
inner enemies like anger, greed,
passion, ego, etc.
Jina - One who conquers his inner
enemies like anger, greed, passion,
The followers of Jina are known as
The Three Jewels of Jainism
Mahavira taught that the real path to
free the soul from the bondage of karma
was to follow the three-fold path.
First, we must have RIGHT FAITH , we
must believe in truth.
Second, we must have the RIGHT
KNOWLEDGE, we must study to
understand what life is all about.
Third, we must follow RIGHT
CONDUCT, the conduct which our faith
and knowledge show us to be correct.
These are the 'three jewels', or
ratnatraya of Jainism.
Mahavira persevered with this
austere life style, marked by long
spells of fasting and other penances,
and by deep meditation.
He carefully avoided harming or
annoying other living beings
including animals, birds, and plants.
These qualities earned him the
name Mahavira, meaning very brave
During this period, his spiritual
powers developed fully and at the
end he was able to reach a stage of
absolute realization of self.
This realization is known as keval
jnana or the perfect enlightenment.
The Five Pillars of Jainism
At the heart of RIGHT CONDUCT for Jains lie
the five great vows:
Nonviolence (Ahimsa) - not to cause
harm to any living beings
Truthfulness (Satya) - to speak the
harmless truth only
Non-stealing (Asteya) - not to take
anything not properly given
Chastity (Brahmacharya) - not to indulge
in sensual pleasure
(Aparigraha) - complete detachment from
people, places, and material things.
Jains hold these vows at the center of
their lives. The monks and nuns follow
these vows strictly and totally, while the
common people try to follow the vows as
far as their life styles will permit.
Mahavira organized his followers, into
a four-fold order, namely:
layman (Shravak), and
Later on they were known as Jains.
The ultimate objective of his teaching
is to preach how one can attain total
freedom from the cycle of birth, life,
pain, misery, and death, and thus
achieve the permanent blissful state of
This is also known as liberation,
nirvana, absolute freedom, or Moksha.
Mahavira made religion simple and
natural, free from elaborate ritual
complexities. His teachings reflected
the inner beauty and harmony of the
Mahavira taught the idea of
supremacy of human life and stressed
on the importance of a positive attitude
Mahavira's message of nonviolence
(Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non stealing
(Achaurya), celibacy (Brahma charya),
and non possession (Aparigraha) were
based on universal compassion.
Mahavira's message reflects the
freedom and spiritual joy that a living
being (the soul) is capable of achieving.
Significant Teachings of
Mahavira said that, 'A living body is
not merely an integration of limbs and
flesh but it an abode of the soul which
potentially has perfect perception
(Anant darshana), perfect knowledge
(Anant gyana), perfect power (Anant
virya), and perfect bliss (Anant sukha).
Mahavira emphasized that all living
beings, irrespective of their size, shape,
and form, spiritually developed or
undeveloped, are equal, and we should
love and respect them. In this manner, he
preached the gospel of universal love.
Mahavira rejected the concept of God
as a creator, a protector, and a destroyer
of the universe. He also denounced the
worship of gods and goddesses as a
means of material gain and personal
Significant Teachings of