Little-Known Stories from History: Lao Zi, Confucius, and Shakyamuni (Part 3)

By Bu Ming
Clearwisdom.net


Shakyamuni

When the great Tao was spreading in the land of China, in another ancient country, India, Shakyamuni’s Buddha law had started to spread at the same time.

Shakyamuni was born in Kapilavastu in ancient India. His mother, Queen Mayadevi, gave birth to Shakyamuni at Lumbini (today’s southern Nepal) on the way back to her mother’s house. It was said in later generations that when Shakyamuni was born, he walked seven steps forward, and with each step, a lotus flower was created, and he said with one finger pointing to the sky and one finger pointing to the earth, “Above the heaven and under the earth, I am the most important.” This was actually made up by later generations. In this universe, there are numerous Gods and Buddhas of different heavens. Who dares to be so arrogant and boastful? Shakyamuni would never have done so. This story is actually the result of fanatical religious sentiment. A Buddha would be happier to see people cultivate according to his teaching rather than extolling out of nothing.

Shakyamuni held compassionate feelings for all mankind from a very young age and liked to ponder on the truth of life. When he was 19 years old, Shakyamuni abandoned his throne to cultivate. Back then in India, there were different sects for cultivation. First, Shakyamuni cultivated “Wu Xiang Ding” (nothingness, thought, Samadi) for three years and finally succeeded, but he thought that it was not the Tao and the ultimate truth, so he abandoned it. Then Shakyamuni cultivated “Fei Xiang Fei Fei Xiang Ding” (No thought, Not No thought, Samadhi) for three years and finally reached this realm. However, he found that wasn’t the Tao either, so he abandoned it, too. Twice, Shakyamuni abandoned what he knew was not the Tao. Then he couldn’t find any real master, so he went to a snowy mountain where it was severely cold to be a complete ascetic and cultivate. He ate only one dried fruit and starved to the point where he no longer looked like a human. He suffered this way in order to find the truth. But six years later, he found that being an ascetic was not the Tao either, so he came down from the mountain.

Shakyamuni went to the Ganges River where he fell over and lost consciousness because he was so thin and couldn’t endure starvation any more. A woman goatherd happened to be passing by and offered him some good cheese. Shakyamuni got good nutrition and recovered his strength. But he had no way to find a real master to guide him, so he crossed the Ganges River and came to a Bohdi tree on the bank of Ganges River and sat down to meditate. He vowed to become the “supreme enlightened being” or else he would die there.

Shakyamuni meditated under the Bohdi tree for 49 days. Early in the morning of the 49th day, he lifted his head and looked at the bright stars in the sky. With this one look, his divine and supernormal powers were instantly unlocked, and his thoughts were opened. He then suddenly remembered everything he had cultivated before and knew his current and previous lives and all the things he should know after reaching enlightenment. Because of the impact of the energy released from Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, a shock occurred over a very large geographic area at the moment of his enlightenment. People thought it was a slight earthquake, mountains collapsing, or a tsunami, but it was actually caused by Shakyamuni’s enlightenment. Of course, Buddha’s energy is compassionate and won’t harm people. Shakyamuni knew he had attained the Tao, because he already possessed wisdom and ability after enlightenment. After twelve years of arduous cultivation, Buddha Shakyamuni finally reached enlightenment. Then Shakyamuni started his 49 years of preaching his Fa.

The characteristics of Shakyamuni’s school are “precept, samadhi, wisdom.” Precepts are for giving up all everyday people’s desires and attachments; samadhi refers to sitting in meditation for actual cultivation, and wisdom refers to becoming enlightened with great wisdom. The many thousands of volumes of scriptures all elaborate on these three characteristics. Of course, the details are very complicated when speaking broadly, but at the core are these three characteristics.

The characteristics of Shakyamuni’s school are “precept, samadhi, wisdom.” Precepts are for giving up all everyday people’s desires and attachments; samadhi refers to sitting in meditation for actual cultivation, and wisdom refers to becoming enlightened with great wisdom.

Back then, eight religions were practiced in that society. The Dharma Shakyamuni taught battled ideologically with seven other religions all the time. At that time, Brahmanism was very strong and competed with Shakyamuni the most. Mr. Li Hongzhi has told us:

“You know, Brahmanism was what Shakyamuni opposed the most. He believed that it was a religion that had turned evil, and it was set in opposition to the Buddhism of Shakyamuni. Actually, I can tell you that what Shakyamuni opposed was Brahmanism and not the gods of Brahmanism. During Brahmanism’s earliest period what people had faith in was Buddhas–Buddhas even earlier than Shakyamuni. But over a long period of time, people abandoned their proper faith in Buddhas and turned the religion evil, even to the point of using killing as ritual sacrifice to Buddhas. By the end, the god that they believed in hadn’t the appearance of a Buddha; they began to believe in evil spirits and demons with the image of monsters. Humans made the religion evil.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Houston Fa Conference”)

People’s words and behavior had the Buddhas’ teachings from prehistory, so Brahmanism entered the Dharma ending period. At that time, Shakyamuni’s Dharma started to spread in India. Because what Shakyamuni taught was the righteous Fa and he continuously corrected other religions’ principles, many people from other religions abandoned their religion and converted to Buddhism. For example, one of his students who later became the She Li Buddha and achieved the highest wisdom among all students was once a practitioner of Brahmanism. He argued with Shakyamuni and came to know that Shakyamuni was teaching the righteous Fa, so he left Brahmanism and became the wisest disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way, Shakyamuni’s Fa became stronger and stronger while other religions gradually declined. Buddhism gradually became unacceptable to the practitioners of other religions. The conflicts between religions intensified to the extent that Luo Xing religious people openly killed Buddhists. Mu Jian Lian, who was Shakyamuni’s number one student in possessing supernormal power, was killed by a rock pushed down from the top of a mountain by Luo Xing religious people and became the first Buddhist martyr. People from other religions also captured Buddhists and threw them into fires or tied them to posts and killed them with arrows. Buddhists were beheaded in groups of 500. All these persecutions were truly sad!

After Shakyamuni reached Nirvana, other religions prospered again. Buddhism went through many reforms and it eventually incorporated something from Brahmanism and became a new religion called Hinduism. Hinduism no longer believes in Shakyamuni, nor does it worship any Buddha. Buddhism started in India, but it disappeared from India in the end. However, the Buddhist Dharma became widespread in other regions such as Southeast Asia and China and deeply influenced the cultures of these countries.

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References
1. ‘Teaching the Fa at the European Fa Conference’ By Master Li Hongzhi
2. Zhuan Falun by Master Li Hongzhi
3. ‘Teaching the Fa at the Houston Fa Conference’ by Master Li Hongzhi

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