Expat Magazine

The Story of Lord Buddha

By Hanna

Recently M and I visited the birth place of Lord Buddha in Lumbini, Nepal. Here is my version of the story, as told with a few pictures from the German Monastery in Lumbini, Nepal.

Siddhartha Guatama’s mother was called Maya Devi and his father was called Suddhodana. Whilst Maya Devi was pregnant according to the the tradition at that time she left for her father’s kingdom to give birth. One night she had a dream that a white elephant carrying a white lotus entered her right side. It is said she then knew she would give birth to the Buddha.

The Story of Lord Buddha

As Maya Devi traveled back to India her labor pains started. Whilst in Lumbini, she gave birth to Siddhartha Guatama. it is often depicted that Maya Devi clung on to a branch whilst Brahma and Vishnu looked on. It is believed by Buddhists that Siddhartha took his first seven steps and where he had stepped lotus flowers grew.

After Siddhartha was born, an astrologer predicted that he would be one of two things in life: either a great spiritual teacher or a great king. Siddhartha’s father wanted him to be a great king and in his attempt he hid away all knowledge from Siddhartha so he could only become the latter. It was so that Prince Siddhartha grew up like any other prince. He took part in past times enjoyed by royalty and even married and had a son.

prince life

But Prince Siddhartha was not content with his life behind the royal walls. He finally persuaded his father to let him visit outside the walls and see what life was like. It was on this trip that he finally saw the suffering and pain that existed in the world. It is said that his father ordered for all sick people to be removed off  the streets in preparation for the prince’s visit. However, the prince still came across an old man lying by the side of the room. Prince Siddhartha was so moved by the man’s journey into old age that he took three more trips outside the walls. It is said on his other trips he saw a sick man, a corpse and a holy man.


It was after seeing suffering for the first time that Prince Siddhartha realised the fundamental truth of life – old age, sickness and suffering were a fate that no one could avoid. Feeling discontent from life, Siddhartha left the palace one night leaving his wife, son and parents behind. After reaching the edge of the city, Siddhartha chopped off his hair and took off his royal robes. From seeing the holy man on his visit outside the palace, Siddhartha felt a strange sense of direction and felt it was a sign for him to follow the same life.

cut off hair

He spoke with different holy men whilst wondering through the forests in the hope he would seek his answers. After learning from one man, Siddhartha started a life of self discipline. He engaged in extreme fasting and self denial for six years. In this time he became frail, weak and ill. During this time in his life, Siddhartha started meditating. Yet, Siddhartha realised his self denial was not changing anything in the world. It was at this point that Siddhartha understood he should take  ‘the middle way’ of life instead, a way that was neither rich nor poor.


Unsure of what to do, Siddhartha did the only thing he knew to. He sat under a Bodhi tree and meditated. He meditated for many days and nights and nothing could stop him. ‘Demons’ were sent to tempt him from his meditative state through dancing, singing and merriment. However, Siddhartha could not be stirred.


After many more days of meditation and contemplating the truth of life, Siddhartha attained enlightenment. From that day on he was known as the Lord Buddha. A Buddhist legend states that Lord Buddha was happy to continue his life in peace and solitude. But, Brahma, the king of all God’s, came to Buddha and asked him to be a teacher and share his enlightened being with others.


Lord Buddha then gave his first sermon and introduced the Wheel of Law also known as the Wheel of Teaching.  This was centered around the concept of dharma and started Buddhism as the religion it is today. Many of the people that Lord Buddha preached to became enlightened in their lifetime.


For the next 45 years of Lord Buddha’s life he continued his teachings. At the age of 80 years old Lord Buddha died and left his body behind on earth. Upon his death he attained Nirvana which is the ultimate spiritual feat. This meant that Lord Buddha broke the cycle of birth and rebirth on Earth. His body was then cremated and scattered around 8 sites where a stupa was built to contain the ashes.


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