A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

So many paths

At that time in India there were many schools of beliefs to be found. Siddharta wandered learning from the different masters. He learned to transcend reality, the need for material, goods among them. These he found unsatisfactory, for they did not address the questions of birth, suffering and death. Siddharta and several others tried asceticism. This consists of the self denial of everything. He slept on a bed of nails, reduced his food till he was soon near death himself. A young lady mistook him for a forest spirit, and thinking he was one of the forest gods, gave him some rice milk. It wasn’t much, but it was enough Siddharta revived, renounced asceticism, and bathed then slowly regained his strength over the next while. He had two revelations during this time. First that the mind needed a healthy body to support it, he realized a sound mind and body were two sides of the same page. The other was that extremism of any type wasn’t healthy. He started to listen to all sides, then find the harmonious middle path. He overheard two musicians discussing sitar strings. If it is wound too tight it can snap, if it is too loose it won’t make a sound, however find that perfect midpoint and it would sing the purest notes. He had the revelation of what we now refer to as the middle way. He thought about it, told his fellow ascetics about this, they thought he had lost it. However after they left, the young lady continued to appear every day, offering him food. As his health improved came mental revelations, fresh ideas, new insights. He was on the path to wisdom.


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