Gautam Buddha’s Experiences: Lessons For All

When Buddha was going round begging for alms as a mendicant, His father, Shuddhodhana, called him and said: “Son! Why are You going about as a beggar? I am a king and You are leading the life of a beggar. This is not proper at all”. Buddha gave him a fitting reply. “Sire, you are Brahman and I am Brahman. You are not father and I am not son. Both of us are Brahman. In the phenomenal world, you belong to the lineage of rulers. I belong to the lineage of renunciants. All those who follow My ideals are all renunciants. Your lineage is based on Raga (attachment). My lineage is based on Viraga (renunciation). To those who have attachment, it becomes a Roga (disease). To the renunciants, detachment becomes the means to Nirvaana (liberation from bondage)”. Buddha taught His message in this way to His father, wife and son.
- “Purity – The Path to Liberation”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 30, May 15, 1997, Brindavan

One day He saw a farmer distributing grains. Buddha went to him and asked, “Where is My share of alms?” The farmer said to Him, “Oh lazy monk! Why should I give You alms? I give food to those who work hard. I also work hard. I till the soil. I sow the seeds, remove the weeds, water the fields and harvest the grains. But You do not do anything”. The farmer thought that he was working hard. Buddha replied, “I cultivate the land of the heart, I water it with love, I remove the weeds of bad tendencies, I harvest the grains of wisdom and I get the fruit of bliss”. 
- “Sense Control is the Highest Sadhana”, 
Summer Showers in Brindavan 2002, Brindavan

One day in His wanderings, Buddha came to a village. The residents of the village were performing a Yajna and, as a part of the rituals, were preparing to sacrifice an animal. Buddha saw this and advised the villagers not to do so. He said, “No harm must be done in any manner whatsoever to any living being, because God dwells in all”. Buddha added, “This is what I have learnt. God dwells in all; therefore the individual is God and God is the individual. Hence, it is wrong to kill this animal”. The head priest replied, “Sir, we are not killing this animal; we are offering it liberation”. Amused by the reply, Buddha said, “You are offering liberation to an animal that did not ask for it. Instead, why don’t you liberate a person who is asking for it? Your argument has no basis in the scriptures. No Veda advocates what you are saying. Your observation is false and untrue. Do you think liberation can be granted by inflicting harm, pain, and injury? No! Your father, mother, wife, and son all want liberation. Why don’t you offer them in sacrifice and grant them all the liberation that they seek? You are so eager to liberate an animal that has no desire for it but unwilling to liberate fellow humans who are hungering for it. What kind of perverted logic is this? What you are trying to do is the worst of sins. Never hurt, injure, or kill living beings”. This is how Buddha conveyed the idea: Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah. Ahimsa (nonviolence) is the greatest Dharma of all.
- “Buddha’s Message”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 2000, Brindavan


Once, Buddha was traveling from village to village giving spiritual discourses. One day, He felt tired and asked one of His disciples to address the gathering. He went inside to take rest. The disciple during the course of his speech said, “In this world, there has never been a spiritual master greater than our master, Buddha, and there will not be another like Him in future”. The audience gave a thunderous applause. On hearing this, Buddha came out. One of the disciples told Him the reason for the people’s joyous applause. Buddha smiled and called the disciple who delivered the lecture. “What is your age?” He asked. The disciple said he was thirty-five years old. “How many kingdoms have you visited so far?” Buddha asked him again. The disciple said he had visited only two kingdoms. Buddha said, “You are thirty-five years old and have seen only two kingdoms. You have not understood the present completely. Then how can you say anything about the past and the future? It is meaningless to say that a master like Buddha was never born before and will never be born again. Many Avatars and sages have taken birth in this sacred land of Bharat. Many more Avatars and noble souls will be born here in future also. There are many noble souls in this world, I offer my respects to all of them”. 
In this way, Buddha reproached His disciple. It is foolish for a man with little knowledge to behave like a learned man. No one can estimate the sacredness and greatness of this country, Bharat. To be called an Indian is in a great qualification and honour. How can one describe the great good fortune of the Bharatiyas, for the Lord Himself has taken birth several times in this sacred land to show the path of Divinity to mankind? Many saints, sages, and men of sacrifice were born here. The sacredness and renown of Bharat are unmatched. That is why Buddha chose this country as His motherland. 
- “Control Your Senses”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 32 Part 01, May 30, 1999, Brindavan

Once, Buddha went to a farmer’s house for begging alms. But instead of offering alms, the farmer started abusing Buddha. He said, “You are eating and growing like a buffalo. Eating thus, you have become lazy. You are not only spoiling Yourself, but also the youth”. Buddha continued sitting on the slab in front of the house. The farmer got furious and shouted, “Will You go away from my house or not”? Then Buddha replied, “Sir, to whom will the alms go, if you have given it and the recipient doesn’t accept it?” The farmer replied, “This question of Yours does not need any terrific brain work. Of course, if You don’t accept it then I will keep the alms with me.” Then Buddha said, “I asked you for alms and you gave me the food of accusations. But I don’t accept the food given by you. So, the accusations will go back to you only”. Hearing this, the farmer realised his mistake and fell at Buddha’s feet.
- “Life is Love, Enjoy it”, My Dear Students, Volume 04, April 1993, Kodaikanal


Buddha was once resting in a forest. He was by Himself. A fearsome demon came to Him and said, “I am very hungry. Are You prepared to become a meal for me?” Buddha smiled and replied, “I am ready! Death is certain to come some day or the other. Why then should I not die today, especially if I can satisfy your hunger?” Never be afraid of death, because it is a certainty; no one can escape it. Buddha was not afraid of death, and that was why He was ready to become a meal for the demon. The moment the demon heard the reply, it transformed into a dove and said, “Today, You have demonstrated Your enormous capacity for sacrifice. From now on, I too shall spread your message everywhere”.
- “Buddha’s Message”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 2000, Brindavan

Once, Buddha entered a village along with His disciples. A lady approached Him and requested Him to have food in her house. Buddha blessed her and accepted her invitation. Seeing this, many villagers, including the village headman, warned Buddha, saying, “O Buddha, You are one of wisdom and have renounced everything. She is not a woman of good character. It is not proper for You to have food in her house”. Buddha smiled and asked the village headman to come forward. Buddha, holding the right hand of the headman, asked him to clap. The headman said, it was not possible for him to clap since one of his hands was in Buddha’s hold. Buddha said, “True, it is possible to clap only when two hands come together. Likewise, this lady cannot turn bad by herself unless there are men of bad character in the village. The men of this village are the root cause of her bad character”. The villagers realized their folly, fell at Buddha’s feet and sought His forgiveness. Through His teachings, Buddha instilled sacredness and wisdom in people. Buddha’s teachings are highly sacred, with profound inner meaning.
- “Control Your Senses”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 32 Part 01, May 30, 1999, Brindavan


At the time Buddha had to give up His body, He had a small coin with Him. There is a story behind that coin. To please Buddha, kings and emperors built great mansions for Him to stay; but Buddha was not happy with this. One day an old lady came to Him and said, “Sir, I am poor and do not have much money. But I love You and want to give You something. I have this small coin. Please accept this as my offering”. Buddha was very happy; the amount was small but the heart of the giver was large and full of love. Large amounts gifted with pomp and ostentation, do not count for much. A small gift with pure love is far more precious.
- “Buddha’s Message”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 2000, Brindavan


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