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Friday, June 25, 2010

Buddha Tattoos


Siddhartha Guatama was born a prince, but one of the sages present at his birth predicted greatness that would surpass any regal power. He was sure that Siddhartha would attain 'supreme knowledge', that is, become a Buddha.

Married at sixteen, the young prince resided in the royal court of his father until he was in his late twenties, when his wife bore him a son. Up until this time, Siddhartha had lived a protected existence within palace walls, but he began to take notice of the general population and their lowly state of poverty, sickness, and ultimately, death. He saw the truth behind human existence - and was shocked - at how little control people had over their fates.



Siddhartha left the palace, left his family behind, and became a wandering ascetic and disciple of various Hindu teachers. He even attracted a few disciples himself. But after years of searching and self-denial, he became disillusioned by the path he was on, and gave up the ascetic life. Consequently, his disciples gave up on him, yet Siddartha kept meditating. The year was 528 BC, and the place was under the Bodhi tree in northern India, when Siddhartha experienced his 'awakening'. He woke up to the nature of reality and realized that there is an answer to endless suffering. Gathering his former disciples around him, the new Buddha instructed them in the foundation of what would become Buddhism.

He would call these basics, THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS.

1. All Life is Suffering. To live means to suffer. Suffering is a natural part of life and all of us suffer. The cause of this is impermanence. Being born, we must die, and between these two events we experience a never-ending stream of physical and emotional pleasures and pains, of which none can be sustained forever, nor kept forever at bay. Because everything is impermanent, loss is guaranteed, with suffering sure to follow.

2. All Suffering is Caused by Attachments. The origin of suffering is attachment. Attachments are our cravings and expectations, of people and things. Not only do we clamour after transient things, but we are ignorant of how and why the mind is so attached to all these things, thing that must and will surely pass. Attachment begins with desire - desire for physical objects and pleasures, for ideas and virtually anything we can perceive of, including the phantom to which we cling most desperately, the illusion of 'self'. Upon close examination, we find that the 'self' has no substance at all.

3. Suffering Can Be Ended. The cessation of suffering is attainable. The cure is dispassion and equanimity in the face of all fear and desire. Easier said than done-but it can be done - that's the third noble truth. Happiness and contentment are attainable. The state of nirvana brings freedom from suffering in all its forms. But nirvana is a state unfathomable to those who have not attained it.

4. Enlightenment Comes From Following the Eightfold Path. The path to the cessation of suffering is the 'middle way'. Neither excessively hedonistic nor overly ascetic, walking a fine line leads to a gradual purification that brings an end to craving, ignorance, delusions, and ultimately to the end of the cycles of rebirth. The path to enlightenment or, Nirvana.

Buddha under the Bodhi treeHow to achieve freedom from suffering, how to attain this state of nirvana? The Buddha himself described a practical path that devotees can practice in order to rid themselves of attachment and delusion. Along with the Four Noble Truths, THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH constitutes the essence of Buddhism.

Right View, or Right Understanding. This means to understand reality as it is, which includes accepting the Four Noble Truths. It means to come to terms with the fact of impermanence of all things, and to understand the law of karma. This isn't just an intellectual exercise, but comes through developing the larger mind Since our view of the world shapes our thoughts, which influence our actions, cultivating 'right view' is an all-important tenet of Buddhism.

Right intention. This refers not to any kind of cognitive 'thinking' but to our attitudes and mental energies that affect our actions. This is where 'commitment' comes into play. Do we have the intention to pause and consider the downside of desire? Do we intend to leave a trail of goodwill wherever we go? Do we aim to live a life of harmlessness to others and to develop compassion? We should be committed to ethical and mental self-improvement. We should be committed to overcome our own sufferings and prevent those of our actions that cause suffering in others.

Right Speech. Ethical conduct begins with right speech, conscious speech. Unconscious talk cannot help but involve lying, deceit, slander, and personal offense - and at its least offensive, just idle chatter. In other words, speak from the heart and only when necessary.

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Tattoos by Vikram

Tattoos by Vikram
Tattoos in Hyderabad