Geography of Religion Wk 9


  • 5th century BC, South foothills of the Himalaya
  • Soon before King Suddhodana’s wife, Mayadevi, gave birth, she had a crazy dream which foretold that her son would either be a universal monarch or an enlightened Buddha
  • On her journey to visit her parents in the capitol of the neighboring clan, she stopped in a grove and was visited by 2 celestial beings
  • The baby emerged able to walk and talk and told Mayadevi that this was his last birth
  • They called the baby Siddhartha, “the one who attains the goal.”
  • The prince was raised in a palace and treated as…well…a prince. He married and his wife gave birth to a son.
  • Then, one day, the prince ventured outside of the palace gates and witnessed sickness, death, and poverty. Siddhartha then saw a Sadhu–a Hindu mendicant who had renounced the physical world to seek enlightenment
  • According to legend, he then shaved his head with his sword, took the name Gautama, and traveled to the Ganges Plain
  • 6 years later–close to death–he withdrew into meditation on the bank of the Nairanjana River and up sprang a religious movement–Buddhism

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