Siddhartha Gautama, whom became known as Buddha, was a wealthy prince who renounced his life of luxury in order to contemplate the true meaning of life. After meditating extensively under a banyan tree, he came to some conclusions about life itself.
Buddha's road to enlightenment lasted for seven years. While in a deep meditative state, he looked far into his mind while trying to get to the heart of life and creation itself. After finding out that self-denial wasn't the way to go, he began to take better care of his body and found that meditating in a healthy body brought more clarity. He started to teach and his first speech is known as "The Turning of the Wheel of Truth." With this, he arrived at the Four Noble Truths.
The Four Noble Truths
Different stages of meditation exist. Some people enter into a light meditative state for relaxation. Others go into a deep meditation in an attempt to reach a higher state of consciousness. While deep in meditation, Buddha learned of what he referred to as the Four Noble Truths.
The first one is suffering, also known as dukha. The reality is that everyone suffers during their lifetime. Whether it be physical or mental, no one has a perfect life and ultimately, everyone dies. This may seem like a no brainer to most, but to Buddha, he was shielded from the world while growing up and was quite surprised when he found the world wasn't a perfect place.
The second truth is attachment, (trishna.) People become attached in life without understanding that nothing is permanent. The third truth is liberation that can also be referred to as nirvana. According to author Gary Gach of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism, "Nirvana represents the state of ultimate perfection, beyond dualism, beyond words." Suffering can be eliminated by living for now.
The final truth is known as marga which is when liberation can take place. This is when personal freedom is achieved. It's a way to live one's life without suffering.
Through meditation, Siddhartha Gautama was able to reach spiritual enlightenment. He took what he learned and spent the rest of his life teaching others. Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy that deals with the teachings of the man who became known as Buddha.
The Four Nobles truths that Buddha taught were all about getting rid of the attachments in life that can cause suffering and live life in the now. This once wealthy prince gave up his luxurious lifestyle in order to seek the true meaning of life and found it through meditation.