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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Which filled him with amazement and distress


ancient town of Kapilavastu

in the now dense terai region of Nepal. His father was Suddhodana, a prince of the Sakya clan, and his mother Queen Mahamaya. According to the legends it was foretold of him that he would enter upon the ascetic life when he should see "A decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man, and a monk." His father tried his best to keep him away from these by marrying him and surrounding him with luxuries. But on successive occasions, issuing from the palace, he was confronted by those four things, which filled him with amazement and distress, and realizing the impermanence of all earthly things determined to forsake his home and try if he could to discover some means to immortality to remove the sufferings of men. He made his "Great Renunciation" when he was twenty-nine years old. He travelled on foot to Rajag@rha (Rajgir) and thence to Uruvela, where in company with other five ascetics he entered upon a course of extreme self-discipline, carrying his austerities to such a length that his body became utterly emaciated and he fell down senseless and was believed to be dead. After six years of this great struggle he was convinced that the truth was not to be won by the way of extreme asceticism, and resuming an ordinary course of life at last attained absolute and supreme enlightenment. Thereafter the Buddha spent a life prolonged over forty-five years in travelling from place to place and preaching the doctrine to all who would listen. At the age of over eighty years Buddha realized that
the time drew near for him to die. He then entered into Dhyana and passing through its successive stages attained nirvana [Footnote ref 1]. The vast developments which the system of this great teacher underwent in the succeeding centuries in India and in other countries have not been thoroughly studied, and it will probably take yet many years more before even the materials for

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[Footnote 1: _Mahaparinibbanasuttanta_, _Digha_, XVI. 6, 8, 9.]

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such a study can be collected. But from what we now possess it is proved incontestably that it is one of the most wonderful and subtle productions of human wisdom. It is impossible to overestimate the debt that the philosophy, culture and civilization of India owe to it in all her developments for many succeeding centuries.

Early Buddhist Literature.

The Buddhist Pali Scriptures contain three different collections: the Sutta (relating to the doctrines), the Vinaya (relating to the discipline of the monks) and the Abhidhamma (relating generally to the same subjects as the suttas but dealing with them in a scholastic and technical manner). Scholars of Buddhistic religious history of modern times have failed as yet to fix any definite dates for the collection or composition of the different parts of


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