The Buddhadharma is very vast and deep. While applicable to our life today, it is rooted in the ancient past of northern India. The wise and compassionate Buddha is assumed to have lived to age 80, passing away after 45 years of teaching individuals how to free themselves of suffering, extending friendship, love, acceptance and peace to all beings in our transient world. He did not find satisfactory spiritual practices at the beginning of his search but after six years of experimentation with different forms of ascetic disciplines, he left them behind to awaken to inner knowledge of the nature of existence and the mind. His insights into the nature of the universe matured over forty-nine days of solitary meditation. He began to teach all who came to him and eventually developed a large following. He shared many different kinds of teachings to different people in different times and places over a wide swath of north India. His words were recorded by memory alone by disciples near and far. I recommend Thus We Heard: Recollections of the Life of the Buddha (2010) by Walpola Piyananda and Stephen Long for an informative narrative of what may have happened when Buddha’s followers first gathered to collect their memories of their exalted teacher.


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