1. The Buddha was given the name Siddhartha. His family name was Gautama, and so his full name is Siddhartha Gautama.
2. The four sights were while Buddha was traveling for pleasure in the countryside; his chariot passed a decrepit old man. On second ride, the prince saw a diseased man, and again was dismayed and deeply disturbed. On a third trip, Gautama saw a corpse for the first time. These first three sights were penetrating lessons about the reality of suffering and the impermanent nature of life’s pleasures. The truths of old age, disease, and death. Eventually Gautama saw a religious ascetic, a man who had chosen to lead a homeless life of solitude and self-denial.
3. Starvation did not lead to salvation. And so, six years after leaving the palace, in another famous episode, Gautama accepted a simple meal of rice and milk. He quickly regained enough strength to proceed on his quest.
4. Gautama had overcome the distraction of fear and passion, represented in legends by Mara and his daughters. Now Gautama turned his focus inward and entered a meditative trance. He ascended through levels of ever deepening awareness, until he would perceive with perfect clarity the true nature of the human condition.
5. The first Buddhist monastic community, or Sangha, was formed, consisting of men and women from all walks of life.
6. To this day being a Buddhist means taking refuge in the tradition’s Three Jewels, or three focal elements: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
7. Buddhism and Hinduism both regard time as cyclical. They maintain that the universe is eternal, with ages of creation and destruction following one after the other. Because of this eternal time scheme, both Buddhism and Hinduism are considered eternal.
8. The Buddha was discontented with many of the religious features of his day, especially the speculative philosophy and the sacrificial rituals that were the domain of the Brahmin class. As the Upanishads...