I killed one more day in and around Varanasi at a place called Saranath, checking out where Buddha gave his first sermon. After achieving enlightenment Buddha or 'Siddhartha Gautama' gave his first sermon, known as The First Turning of the Wheel of Law. He delivered the sermon to his disciples - 5 ascetics that he had fasted with before attaining enlightenment. The sermon was based on the four noble truths that are: 1. Life is rooted in suffering (dukkha). 2. Suffering is caused by craving (tanha) for power, pleasure and long life 3. By eliminating this craving there is release from suffering and so the chance to achieve nirvana. 4. The way to eliminate craving and thus suffering is to follow the Noble Eight fold path.
The Noble Eight fold path was what Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) discovered was required to reach enlightenment after dedicating a large part of his life to trying to find enlightenment and finally doing so. Born in India in c.563BC as a wealthy prince of the Brahmin caste (the highest caste), Siddhartha was shielded from the world outside by his father who forced him to remain inside their palace's grounds until twenty nine when he finally
ventured outside. What he saw, namely the suffering of the people outside of his palace's grounds, set him on his life's path of seeking enlightenment and understanding the human condition. At the age of 25 he sat under a tree in Bodh Gaya where he remained for 49 days before he attained nirvana, thus becoming the Buddha. Buddha means 'One Who is Fully Awake'.
So after checking out the spot where he gave his sermon I walked around the temples representing the major countries of buddhism's different architectural styles etc. This was fairly interesting as it gave you an inkling of how buddhism had developed in different ways, especially in the far east. After that I visited a museum and then that was about it for the day....
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