Every year, the Poornima day of the Vaishakha month is celebrated as Buddha Jayanti. It is the day on which Lord Buddha took birth for the welfare of the humankind. Born as Prince Siddhartha, Lord Buddha renounced his life of material pleasures to save the mankind from a life of suffering and pain. He grew up on the palace grounds, never exposed to the hardships of the world. He was married to Princess Yashodhara at the young age of 16 and also had a son. But when he came face to face with the true nature of life, he was shaken to the core.
He beheld the four sights – an old man, a person with a diseased body, a dead body, and an ascetic. Questions arose in his mind that wouldn’t let him live a life of pleasure when the world was in such pain and suffering. To find a solution, he renounced his life as a Prince and wandered the forests seeking knowledge and truth. It was after six years that he received enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. Since then, he preached his wisdom to the world and when he died at the age of 80, he left behind a legacy that is unparalleled in its teachings. His teachings were not something new. They were not complex. They were simple and easy to understand even for the most unintellectual person. He changed the lives of many people with his wisdom. He did not show any kind of partiality towards the different sects of the society. For Gautama Buddha, a rich merchant, a holy ascetic, and a slave girl were all equal in stature. He accepted each and every one and taught them the truth of life. There are many instances that depict the simple and profound nature of his wisdom. We have listed some of the most popular of such stories. Read on to be inspired.
*The Widower And The Bag Of Ashes-
Lord Buddha narrated this story to Dighanakha to show how rigid beliefs and blind attachment to doctrines can be harmful. Once upon a time, there lived a widower with a young son who was only five years of age. One day, the widower left the son in his house and went away for some business. At that time, a few robbers entered the house and looted it. They also kidnapped the boy and burnt the house. When the widower came back, he found a young boy’s body charred in the remains of the house. The widower mistook it to be his own son. He was so distraught that after cremation, he stored the ashes of the boy in a bag. He became obsessed with the bag and carried it everywhere. At nights, he would cry holding the bag. Meanwhile, the real son somehow managed to escape the clutches of the robbers and found his way back to his father. The boy kept knocking the door for a long time claiming to be the son. But the widower was crying with the bag of ashes in his arms. He thought that it was the neighbor’s boy mocking him and ignored the knocks. The poor son kept knocking and calling out to his father but finally had to wander off on his own.
*The Woman And A Handful Of Mustard-
This was an incident that took place as Lord Buddha was on his travels to preach the new way of life. It teaches us that sorrow befalls everyone. One must have the courage and move forward. A woman was mourning her son’s death. When she heard of Lord Buddha’s arrival, she ran to him and begged him to return the life of the boy. Lord Buddha agreed but said that to bring the boy back to life, he needed a handful of mustard from a house that has not known death. The woman wandered from house to house and found that death had touched every house and family in some form or the other. She came back to Lord Buddha and said that she understood what Lord Buddha wanted to teach her. Death is a universal truth and no one can escape its clutches. The only thing one can do is to pray for the peace of the souls that have departed.
*Lord Buddha And The Angry Man-
With this story, Lord Buddha demonstrated that anger and such negative emotions only hurt oneself. A man was very angry at Lord Buddha and his preaching. He believed that it was all a farce and Lord Buddha was fake. He went up to the Lord and started to insult him. When he was done, Lord Buddha smiled and asked him a question. He said, “Son if you buy a gift and the person who is to receive it refuses to take it, to whom does the gift belong to?” The man replied, “To me, of course.” Lord Buddha said, “The same way all the anger that you gave me hasn’t affected me. I refuse to accept it. So, it now belongs to you. This way all the anger and abuse has only hurt your own self.”