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Siddhartha Gautama was a son of the Shakyas chief in Lumbini, modern-day Nepal, who became a spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism. After he encountered the truth about human suffering, Gautama lived an ascetic life and later gained the title of Buddha, which means ‘the enlightened one’.
See the fact file below for more information on Buddha or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Buddha worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Personal Life and Early Experiences of the Real World
- Siddhartha Gautama was born in the 6th century B.C. to a large Hindu clan at the foot of the Himalayas, now part of Nepal. His father was the ruler of their small kingdom, making him a part of an influential family who lived in luxury.
- His mother died seven days after giving birth to him. A spiritual man prophesied that young Siddhartha would be someone important and influential like a king, religious leader or military man.
- In order to protect his son from the miseries of human life, Siddhartha’s father kept the boy inside the palace where he lived in seclusion for 13 years. Siddhartha was sheltered from knowledge about religion and human suffering.
- When he was in his 20s, Siddhartha ventured outside the walls of the palace. Immediately, he encountered an old man making him realized that people grow old. On his subsequent trips, Siddhartha saw a diseased man, a decaying corpse and an ascetic man, which all led him to learn about human suffering.
- At the age of 29, Siddhartha, his wife and son left the kingdom to live an ascetic life.
The Way to Enlightenment
- In the subsequent years of his life, Siddhartha partook in studying and practicing various religions as his guide to life. He was not satisfied and redoubled his efforts and went into severe fasting. Despite enduring pain, Siddhartha could not find satisfaction until he encountered a young girl who offered him a bowl of rice.
- Upon eating, drinking and bathing, Siddhartha realized that achieving inner liberation was not through harsh physical constraints.
- Since then, he encouraged people to live a balanced life instead of extremism. Such a path was later called the Middle Way.
- That same night, Siddhartha sat under a Bodhi tree where he meditated until he saw the truth he was looking for. He remained there for several days clearing his mind and purifying his thoughts. During his meditation, an evil demon named Mara challenged his attempt to become the Buddha, but Siddhartha finally saw the answers to his questions about human suffering, banishing Mara and achieving the moment of enlightenment.
- He then became known as Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, or The Enlightened One.
Emerging Buddhism and Death of Buddha
- According to legend, upon reaching enlightenment Buddha was encouraged by the god Brahma to teach and communicate to others what he knew.
- He gathered his first ascetics and preached his first sermon explaining the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Paths known as the Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma, which later became the foundations of Buddhism.
- The ascetics who abandoned Buddha in the middle of his meditation became his first disciples and formed the Sangha or community of monks.
- All constraints like race, sex and class are ignored for those who wanted to join the Sangha, as long as they have the desire to attain enlightenment through the Eightfold Paths.
- Few archaeological and historical records have been found to provide detail into Buddhism’s humble beginnings.
- Many believe that Buddha died traveling and preaching the Dharma. Upon his death at the age of 80, his followers were relatively small in India. It is said that he told his followers to follow no leader.
- According to the ancient Buddhist text, Mahaparinirvana Sutra, his followers cremated his remains and divided them into eight portions. Each of these portions was sent to states visited by Buddha during his lifetime. In order to house such remains, a stupa was built. Others believe that Ashoka ordered the erection of eight stupas.
- During the 3rd century B.C., Buddhism became India’s state religion during the reign of Ashoka the Great. India’s political and social climate was highly influenced by Buddhist monks.
- Compared to other religious figures, Buddha did not claim himself as a god or prophet. He emphasized personal knowledge and effort as a means of salvation, not devotion to any gods.
- There are several stupas claiming to house the relics of Buddha, but no scientific records can prove such claims.
Faces of Buddha and Buddhism Facts
- Today, about 10% of the world’s population practices Buddhism. That’s approximately 500 million people. There are three main branches of Buddhism, including Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana, all practiced in different geographical regions.
- Compared to other religions, Buddhism does not refer to any sacred central text. Moreover, its followers are not required to believe in one true God, instead, they believe in three elemental concepts: 1. Nothing is permanent, 2. All actions have consequences, and 3. It is possible to change. Buddha’s teachings are referred to as dhamma, which means truth, doctrine or law. Moreover, the teachings of Buddhism is more about letting go of the past and future in order to focus on the present moment.
- The lotus flower is one of the most recognized symbols of Buddhism because it represents the journey to enlightenment: A lotus grows in muddy water, yet its flower opens pure and clean.
- Buddha statues often depicted him with half-closed eyes as a symbol of meditation. He is also seen with elongated earlobes, which may symbolize wisdom, understanding and his wealthy background. At the top of his head is a flamelike headdress, which stands for supreme knowledge.
- In Hinduism, Buddha is seen as an incarnation of the god Vishnu, while most Buddhist see him as human.
- The fat, smiling Buddha often seen in Chinese restaurants are depictions of a Chinese folklore character called Budai.
- Anyone who can attain enlightenment through the Eightfold Paths can be called Buddha.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Buddha across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Buddha worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Siddhartha Gautama who was a son of the Shakyas chief in Lumbini, modern-day Nepal, who became a spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism. After he encountered the truth about human suffering, Gautama lived an ascetic life and later gained the title of Buddha, which means ‘the enlightened one’.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Buddha Facts
- The Enlightened One
- Spin the Dharmachakra
- Buddhism Infogram
- Enlightening Terms
- Buddhism and Others
- Buddha Fest
- Paths to Eight
- Four Noble Truths
- Buddhism in Map
- Let’s Meditate!
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Link will appear as Buddha Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.