Evergreen Buddhist Culture

May All Beings Be Well and Happy!
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Drawing upon the Pali Canon, this exploration reconstructs the series of events that culminated in Samana Gotama cutting off all defilements, becoming an Arhant and the Buddha. Detailing the experience that took place while Gotama was sitting under the Bodhi Tree some 2500 years ago, in the three watches of that critical night (6 - 10 pm; 10 pm - 2 am; 2 - 6 am), the author shows how Gotama's seeing his own past lives as well as those of his kith and kin, friends and enemies, and so on, in a continuing life-cycle, served as the very empirical basis for arriving at the first Noble Truth of dukkha, when we can almost hear him inwardly say to himself, "Oh man, what suffering!" It was this initial discovery that prompted him to explore its natural concomitants of Arising (of dukkha), Cessation and the Path, giving us the Four Noble Truths. The crux of the argument is this: had it not been for Gotama's experience of seeing his past lives under the sharpest mindfulness and concentration, through a cessation of ordinary perception, we would have to take the Four Noble Truths as not being experientially discovered, as claimed by the Buddha himself, but as a philosophical, or logical, construct, which they are not. Dr. Sugunasiri is one of Canada's leading Buddhist scholars and elders.