The Life of the Buddha Part I
1. What is your religion?
My religion is Buddhism.
2. What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the Teaching of the Buddha.
3. Who is the Buddha?
The Buddha is the All-knowing one.
The Birth of Prince Siddhattha
4. What was the Buddha's name?
His name was Siddhattha Gotama.
5. Who was he?
He was Sakya Prince.
6. Who was his Father?
His Father was King Suddhodana.
7. Who was his mother?
His mother was Sirimahamaya
8. When was he born?
He was born in the year around 623 B.C on the Vesak Full moon day of May.
9. Where was he born?
He was born in the Lumpini Park at Kapilavatthu on the borders of Nepal.
10. What happened to the mother after his birth?
The mother died seven days after his birth.
11. Where was she reborn?
She was reborn in the Tusita Heaven.
12. Who brought up the Prince?
His mother's young sister, Maha Pajapati Gotami, brought him up.
13. Was she also married to King Suddhodana?
Yes, she was also married to King Suddhodana.
14. Had she any children?
Yes, she had a son named Nanda and a daughter named Sundary Nanda.
15. Were the people happy over the birth of Prince Siddhattha?
Yes, the people were very happy.
16. Did wonderful things happen on his birthday?
Yes, many wonderful things happened on his happy birthday.
17. Can you mention any wonderful event?
The baby Prince walked on seven lotuses. At each step, a lotus flower sprung up from the ground to support His feet.
18. Did he say anything?
He said , " Aggo hamasmi lokassa,…….." and so forth.
19. What is the meaning of Pali words?
Their meaning is, "I am supreme in the world. This is my last birth: henceforth there shall be no more birth for me."
20. Why did he say so?
He said so because he would become a Buddha later.
21. Was the Prince a simple child?
No, he was a wonderful child.
A Sage visit Him
22. Did any great person come to see this infant Prince?
A great sage named Asita, also called Kala Devila, came to the palace to see him.
23. What did the King do?
The King brought the child to pay him due respect.
24. So what happened?
The Prince's feet turned and rested on the matted locks of the sage.
25. Was the sage displeased at this?
No, he at once rose from his seat and salute him with joined hands.
26. Why did he do so?
Because he knew that the Prince would become the Buddha in the future.
27. What did the royal father do?
He also saluted him in the same way.
28. Was there any change in the sage?
The sage at first smiled and then swept.
29. Why did he smile?
He smiled because the Prince would become a Buddha.
30. Why did he sweep?
He swept because he would not be able to see the Buddha.
31. What happened on the fifth day after the birth of the Prince?
The King invited many learned Brahmins to name the Prince.
32. How was the Prince named?
He was named Siddhattha which means "wish-fulfilled".
33. Did those Brahmins foretell anything?
Seven of them raised two fingers and said that the Prince would either become a Universal monarch or a Buddha.
34. What did the younger Kondanna say?
The younger Kondanna raised one finger and said that he would surely become a Buddha.
35. Why was he called Gotama?
Because Gotama was his family name.
36. Did any wonderful take place in his childhood?
A strange thing took place at a Ploughing Festival.
37. What was the Prince placed?
On a festival day the King with the baby Prince and his nurses and many others went to the field to plough.
38. Where was the Prince placed?
He was placed on a couch under a rose-apple tree.
39. Who are watching him?
The nurses were watching Him. Later they also went aside to see the Ceremony.
40. What did the Prince do when He was thus left alone?
The thoughtful Prince sat meditating on the couch.
41. Was it a strange thing?
It was certainly a very strange thing for a little child.
42. What did the King do, seeing this strange sight?
The king was so pleased that he saluted Him, saying "This, dear child,, is my second salution".
43. Was the Prince happy?
The Prince was very happy as a royal child.
44. Did he receive a good education?
Yes, he was even better than his teachers.
45. Was he skilled in arts too?
Being a son of warrior race. He was especially trained in the art of warfare.
46. Was he an obedient boy?
He was an obedient boy and good boy.
47. Was he kind?
He was a kind to all, especially to poor animals.
48. Was he sorrowful?
Never, but he was very thoughtful.
His Married Life
49. What happened to the Prince at the age of sixteen?
He married his beautiful cousin. Prince Yasodhara.
50. Why did he marry at such an early age?
Because it was a custom in ancient India.
51. Who was Yasodhara?
She was the daughter of his father's sister, Pamita.
52. Who was her father?
Her father was King Suppabuddha.
53. Had she any brothers?
She had one brother named Devadatta.
54. What was her age when she married?
She was also sixteen.
55. Mention some other of the same age.
Kaludayi, Channa and Kanthaka.
56. What was the tree that sprang up on the Prince's birthday?
The Budhi Tree at Buddha Gaya.
57. How did the Prince marry Yasodhara?
By showing his skill in the art of warfare.
58. Did the Prince and Princess lead a happy married life?
They led a very happy married life because they agreed with each other in every way.
59. How many palaces had they?
They had three palaces for the three seasons.
60. What did the Prince do after the marriage?
He was merely enjoying worldly pleasures, living within the palace.
61. What happened as time passed by?
The Prince always used to think alone.
62. Had he any worried?
No, he felt pity for all beings.
63. What happened one day when he visited the park?
He thought that he would get old, fall ill and die.
64. What did he see?
He saw four strange sights.
65. What are they?
They are an old man, a sick person, a corpse, and a noble hermit.
66. Was the Prince changed on seeing them?
The Prince was greatly changed and he understood the nature of life.
67. What did he think?
He thought of leaving the world in search of Truth and Peace.
68. Did he receive any happy news when he was in the park?
He was informed that a son was born unto him.
69. Was he glad to hear the news?
He was not. He regarded his first and only a son as a fetter.
70. What did he say?
He said Rahu jato, a fetter has arisen.
71. Hearing it, how did King Suddhodana name his grandson?
He name him Rahula.
72. What happened on his way home?
A young lady named Kisa Gotami seeing him uttered:
"Nibbuto nuna sa mata
Nibbuto nuna so pita
Nibbuto nuna sa nari
Yassa'yam idiso pati"
73. What does this verse mean?
Peaceful is the mother
Peaceful is the father
Peaceful is the wife
Who has such a husband as he.
74. Had this saying any effect on him?
Yes, he was urged to seek Peace.
75. How did he show his gratitude to the lady?
By sending his necklace as a present to her.
76. Returning home, what did he think?
He thought of leaving the world to seek Truth and Peace.
77. At mid-night what did he do?
He went to the room of Yasodhara. He opened the door, and stood at the threshold.
78. Did he kiss the child?
No, he gazed at his wife and child who were fast asleep.
79. Did he love them?
He loved them deeply as he loved all.
80. Why did he want to leave those dear ones?
Because he pitied them and all others.
81. Out of love for the world what did Prince Siddhattha do?
Without even informing his beloved father, he left the palace at mid-night.
82. How did he leave?
With Channa, his charioteer, he rode into the dark on his favorite horse named Kanthaka.
83. In what year did he renounce the world?
He renounced the world in his 29th year.
84. Where did he go?
He went far, and crossing the river Anoma rested on its bank.
85. What did he do to his garments?
The Prince removed his garments and handed them over to Channa.
86. What did he say to Channa?
He said "Friend Channa, take these garments and horse, and go home. I shall ordain myself".
87. Did Channa also want to join him?
Yes, but Prince Siddhattha did not allow him to do so.
88. What happened to the horse?
The horse died out of grief and was born in the Tavatimsa heaven.
89. How did the Prince ordain himself?
With his sword he shaved his head and beard, and eearing yellow robes he became a monk.
90. Who gave him the robes?
A former friend of his, named Ghatikara Maha Brahma.
91. Did he get only the robes?
No, he received all the eight Requisites of a monk.
92. What is the Pali word for the eight Requisites?
Attha Parikkhara is the Pali word.
93. Mention the eight Requisites.
They are: The double robe, the upper robe, the under robe, bowl, knife, needle, belt, and the strainer.
94. Was Siddhattha any more a Prince?
No, he become a penniless wandering ascetic.
95. Was he known by another name?
He was called Bodhisatta.
96. What is the meaning of Bhoddhisatta?
Bodhisatta means a wisdom-being. It is the name given to one who is trying to become a Buddha. Bodhisatta also known as Boddhisatva, is one who really wishes to become a Buddha.
97. Had a Bodhisatta a place to live?
He had no fixed abode. He was living in caves or at the foot of trees.
98. How was he supported?
He lived on alms given by the charitable.
99. What kind of life was he leading?
Alone he was leading a pure simple life seeking Truth and Peace.
Struggle for Enlightenment
100. What did the Buddhisatta do after his ordination?
He spent fasting a week in the Anupiya Mango Grove, enjoying the bliss of solitude.
101. What did he do on the eighth day?
With bowl in hand, eyes cast down; he went from door to door, in the streets of Rajagaha seeking alms.
102. Was it a strange sight to the people?
The people and the King Pimpisara were amazed at the sight of such a noble figure seeking alms in the city.
103. What was the king's order?
The king ordered the people to go and see who he was.
104. What did the Bodhisatta do after seeking alms?
After getting enough food to eat he went to the Pandava rock.
105. What did Bodhisatta feel when he saw the food?
It seem as if his bowels gushed out to the mouth on seeking this mixed food which he had never seen.
106. Did he eat the food?
He advised himself and ate the food.
107. What happened when the messengers reported this matter to the king?
The king hurried to the scene, and offered him his kingdom.
108. Did he accept it?
No, he refused and said that he was intent on Buddhahood.
109. Was the king displeased?
The king was pleased to hear his lofty object.
110. What did the king say?
He invited him to visit his kingdom first after his Buddhahood.
Seeking the Truth
111. How did he seek Truth?
He went at first to a well known ascetic named Alarakalama and studied his doctrine.
112. Was he pleased with his system?
He was not pleased with his system because he taught him up to a certain mental stage only.
113. Did he leave him?
As he did not get what he sought, he went to another famous ascetic named Uddaka Ramaputta.
114. Was he pleased with the system of his second teacher?
He was not pleased with his system too as the also taught him up to a still higher mental stage.
115. Why was he not satisfied with their systems?
Because he was seeking Nibbana, the end of all suffering.
116. Was he therefore discouraged?
He was not discouraged though he met with disappointment. He made up his mind to find out the Truth for himself.
117. Which place did he choose for his meditation?
He chose Uruvela, a beautiful quiet Spot.
118. Who attended on him during his search for Truth?
Five monks named Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji attended on him.
119. Who was Kondanna?
He was the youngest Brahmin who foretold his future on the name giving day.
120. Who were the others?
They were the sons of four others Brahmins who were present on that occasion.
121. How long did the Bodhisatta struggle to gain Buddhahood?
He struggled for six long years?
122. How did he strive to gain Buddhahood?
He did many penances. He underwent much suffering. He practiced many forms of severe austerity. He tormented his body so much so that his body was reduced to almost a skeleton.
123. What happened to his delicate body?
His golden- colored skin turned pale. His blood dried up. His eyes were sunk. He was almost on the verge of death.
124. Who approached him at this stage?
Mara, the Evil One, approached him.
125. What did Mara say?
Mara said: "You are lean. Near to you is death. Live. O good Sir. Life is better. Living you could perform merit."
126. What was the Bodhisatta's reply?
He replied: "O Evil One, you have come for your own sake. I need no merit. I care not for life I am intent on Buddhahood."
127. Did the Bodhisatta tell Mara who his army was?
He said that the Mara's army consisted of ten kinds of passions.
128. Did Mara succeed in tempting the Bodhisatta?
No, he went a way disappointed.
Attainment of Buddhahood
129. Did the Buddhisatta Change his method?
He changed his method as his penances proved useless.
130. What new path did he adopt?
He gave up extremes and adopted the Middle Path (Majjhima Patipada).
131. Did he think that he could not gain Buddhahood with a weak body?
He thought that he wanted strength to gain Buddhahood. So he gave up fasting and ate some food.
132. Were the five monks pleased at this change of method?
The five monks were disappointed, and they went to Isipatana leaving him alone.
133. Was he discouraged?
No, he had an iron-will. He was happy that he was alone.
134. What happened one day as he was seated under a banyan tree?
A generous lady named Sujata offered him some milk rice.
135. Did this food give him any strength?
Yes, he felt strong and made a firm resolve not to rise from his seat until he gained Buddhahood.
136. Under which tree was he seated?
He sat under the famous Bodhi tree at Buddha Gaya.
137. Why is it called the Bodhi tree?
It is called the Bodhi because the Bodhisatta gained Buddhahood under that tree.
138. What happened in the first watch of the night?
He gained the knowledge by first watch he was able to remember past lives.
139. What knowledge did he gain in the middle watch?
He obtained the Divine Eye by which he was able to see the death and rebirth of beings.
140. What happened in the last watch?
He destroyed all passions, understood the Four Noble Truths, and become a Samma Sambuddha.
141. What do you mean by Samma Sambuddha?
Samma Sambuddha means a Fully Enlightened of Awakened One.
142. What is the First Noble Truth?
The First Noble Truth is Suffering.
143. What is the cause of Suffering?
The Second Noble Truth is the cause of Suffering.
144. What is the cause of Suffering?
The cause of suffering is craving.
145. What is the Third Noble Truth?
The Third Noble Truth is the End of Suffering.
146. What is the End of Suffering?
The End of Suffering is Nibbana.
147. What is the Fourth Noble Truth?
The Fourth Noble Truth is the Path leading to the End of Suffering.
148. On what day did the Bodhisatta gain his Enlightenment?
On the Vesak Full moon day of May.
149. In which year did He become a Buddha?
He became a Buddha in His 35th year.
150. How was He named after His Enlightenment?
He was named the Buddha Gotama.
151. Can you also become a Buddha?
Yes, we all can become Buddhas.
152. Were there Buddhas in the past?
There were many Buddhas in the past.
153. Will there be Buddhas in the future?
There will be many Buddhas in the future.
154. What will be the name of immediate future Buddha?
Metteyya (Maitreya) will be the name of the immediate future Buddha.