The exhibition on the Buddha's life and teaching at Dhamma Giri, on which this book is based, is extremely short. `The Picture Gallery of the Buddha's Life' at the Global Vipassana Pagoda has many more illustrations but that too is short. A complete picture gallery of events from the Buddha's life would be very huge. Drawing from this, as well as from related events from his previous lives, any television channel could produce a serial of more than a thousand episodes.
There are many misconceptions about the Buddha and his teachings in India. It is essential to remove them and to reveal the truth, especially to Vipassana meditators. Otherwise, one will remain oblivious of the facts and will remain confused. This "Glimpses of the Buddha's Life" exhibition will certainly dispel some misconceptions, if not all.
Why did Prince Siddhattha renounce royal comforts, his beautiful young wife and newborn baby and choose the difficult life of an ascetic? He had no quarrel with his family members and didn't leave them due to tensions as a consequence of any quarrel. He had loving relations with all of them. Therefore, when he discovered the universal path of liberation from suffering, he shared this knowledge with his family and relatives in addition to innumerable suffering people of the world.
The sole purpose of his search was to discover the true cause of suffering and the right means for its eradication. He spent six years of his life making strenuous effort to discover the truth and he finally found the real solution to this problem. Pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu the truth that he had never heard before manifested itself.
This truth was not prevalent in society nor was it being practised in the s spiritual field. How then could he have heard of it? From whom could he have heard of it? Let us take a look at what was prevalent as the truth in the spiritual traditions in India during the Buddha's time. Let us also look at the truth discovered by him which, far from being popular, was not even known?
In almost all traditions in those days, the belief was that the six sense doors .(eyes, nose,. ear, tongue, body and mind) constantly come in contact with their respective sense objects (form, odour, sound, taste, touch and thoughts). Because of this contact, one constantly generates tanhei—craving to preserve and increase what is pleasant and aversion to get rid of what is unpleasant. Whenever craving or aversion arises due to contact, suffering arises. Craving or aversion comes with suffering. Thus, the commonly held belief was that when the sense doors come in contact with sense objects, one should not generate tanha—craving or aversion. On coming in contact with sense objects, one should not react with craving or aversion. The Buddha understood that this is only the apparent truth and not the ultimate truth. It is partial truth, not the complete truth. Partial truth can only yield partial benefit, not full benefit. When the six sense doors, that is, the six sense organs come in contact with their respective objects (salayatana paccaya phasso) a sensation arises in the body (phassa paccayei vedana) i and when the sensation is experienced, craving (tatzher) arises (vedana paccaya tarthit) . Clearly, if we are not aware of phassa paccayd vedana—the sensations that arise as a result of contact we are ignoring the deep root and getting entangled in the superficial branches.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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