Author Topic: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.  (Read 13372 times)

Offline nirmal

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Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« on: February 26, 2011, 08:36:52 am »
All doctrines preach about care and love for the family especially the aged but Buddha left his family and got enlightenment.

What could we learn from this?

Did he prove the doctrines of all religions wrong?

Was it selfish of him to abandon his wife and child in order to seek enlightenment?

 

Offline Sunya

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 09:13:54 am »
It's completely fair to question the Buddha's decision to abandon wife and child. On initial inspection, it may seem selfish and irresponsible. Yet in a way, his decision to leave was a utilitarian act. It was a sacrifice made for a larger cause. How could he be of greatest service to others? Not by devoting his attention solely to his family and their material well being. This is not to say he had no respect or care for his wife and son; only that his love was beyond physical. He needed to break his selfish attachment to them in order to cultivate undiscriminating compassion.

Although his original intent was to free himself from suffering - which can be interpreted as a selfish wish if it involves abandoning wife and child while benefiting only oneself - soon after his awakening he chose to teach others how to free themselves from suffering as well. He later returned to his family, although not in the same role as before, and they subsequently joined him in the Sangha. In some suttas, the Buddha instructs his adult son Rahula on aspects of the Dhamma. He inducts his wife Yasodhara as a bhikkhuni. Both are said to have become arahants.

If his choice was ultimately selfish, he would have been incapable of enlightenment. He had no malicious intent to cause them suffering. Leaving them could even have helped not only himself, but also his wife and son learn non-attachment. It sets an example that proves how love is not of the nature we think it to be in our mundane lives.

Offline Tsongkhapafan

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 09:34:35 am »
Many people in relationships stay together out of attachment.  Buddha was demonstrating a complete lack of attachment and did the right thing.  Many Mahayanists believe that Buddha was already enlightened, but according to common appearances, he was not and he left his family to seek enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.  The needs of the many are always more important than the needs of the few.  There would be little value in Buddha staying with his wife and child when he could achieve enlightenment to benefit them  as well as all other living beings.

It's like the following analogy.  If your family was living in poverty, but you had some skills that could make you all rich but you needed to make the right connections to be able to do so, out of love you would leave your family and go and seek employment.  Later, when you had become rich, you would return to your family and share with them the riches you had gained so that they could be as wealthy as you.  This is what Buddha did; and he did it out of love for universal family, all living beings.

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 12:18:00 pm »
The Buddha left his previous life, abandoning wife, child, family, and tradition on a quest or obsession.  Recall that he wasn't the Buddha then but Prince Siddhārtha Gautama. Later, the Buddha was born as were the doctrines and traditions that became Buddhism.  His abandonment was typical of Humans, he learned much after that.
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline nirmal

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 01:14:07 pm »
Many people in relationships stay together out of attachment.  Buddha was demonstrating a complete lack of attachment and did the right thing.  Many Mahayanists believe that Buddha was already enlightened, but according to common appearances, he was not and he left his family to seek enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.  The needs of the many are always more important than the needs of the few.  There would be little value in Buddha staying with his wife and child when he could achieve enlightenment to benefit them  as well as all other living beings.

It's like the following analogy.  If your family was living in poverty, but you had some skills that could make you all rich but you needed to make the right connections to be able to do so, out of love you would leave your family and go and seek employment.  Later, when you had become rich, you would return to your family and share with them the riches you had gained so that they could be as wealthy as you.  This is what Buddha did; and he did it out of love for universal family, all living beings.

Milarepa gave us a hint in his song

When my mother lived, I had gone away
When I came home, my mother had passed away
Little profit even though we could both stay
I should like to live in cave and pray
When the house stood firm, the master was away
When the master came back, the house broken lay
Little profit even though we could both stay
So I would like to live in cave and pray
Parents native place and my home
All empty and nothing handsome
Those fools may enjoy all of them
But I should like to overcome

"My path is called total self-abnegation for the purpose of attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime and to attain Buddhahood thus we must scatter this life's aim and objects to the wind" - Milarepa

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 01:43:11 pm »
Besides, at some point his wife, son, adopted mother, cousin... The whole family took up robes. It can hardly be said he abandoned them...

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 08:15:14 pm »
Besides, at some point his wife, son, adopted mother, cousin... The whole family took up robes. It can hardly be said he abandoned them...
That was much later of course.

The upshot is that it all worked out. If he had failed in his quest he would have just been another idealistic seeker that ran out on his responsibilities. Presumably they were wealthy enough that they did not lack for food and shelter, but still. Evidently he didn't fail however. And as Shakespeare said, "All's Well That Ends Well". Come to think of it that sounds like a pithy summation Dzogchen and Zen to me.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 08:20:01 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline nirmal

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 07:11:50 am »
I wouldn't be able to do what Buddha had done.I couldn't leave my family because I have attachments.I'm pinned down as my youngest son is still in the U.Then again many have gained Enlightenment while still being in this attached state because of diligence in practice. I have six people in my group who have gained Enlightenment(I'm not one of them).Gurus can help us along the path,books can guide us and we can learn from Buddha's experience.Thus Enlightenment can be gained while still having attachments.
We  can also gain Enlightenment while still working and looking for money and living in a semi-attached state that is as a simple human being.

Am I wrong in having such thoughts?

Offline pickledpitbull

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2011, 08:59:27 am »
Nirmal,

I don't think you're wrong at all.  How is living amongst those we love not Nirvana?

Enlightenment does not require being sequestered in a monastery.  It's right where you are.  Now, in the present.

Metta

You've been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn't and you're not.


~ Cheri Huber

Offline LastLegend

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2011, 05:09:27 pm »
I wouldn't be able to do what Buddha had done.I couldn't leave my family because I have attachments.I'm pinned down as my youngest son is still in the U.Then again many have gained Enlightenment while still being in this attached state because of diligence in practice. I have six people in my group who have gained Enlightenment(I'm not one of them).Gurus can help us along the path,books can guide us and we can learn from Buddha's experience.Thus Enlightenment can be gained while still having attachments.
We  can also gain Enlightenment while still working and looking for money and living in a semi-attached state that is as a simple human being.

Am I wrong in having such thoughts?

It is not the right time now
Beware of philosophies for the sake of knowledge without actual practice for these philosophies only increase the attachment of 'I.'-Te Cong

What is the definition/essence of meditation of all forms?-Te Cong

Thien la gi? Thien la roi phan biet chap truoc.- Lao Phap Su

You have the recipe. Now make the cake instead of thinking about cake.- La Tao Viec

Thuong Tru Tang Nhu Lai= Knowing the presence of Buddha.

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2011, 05:38:49 pm »
I wouldn't be able to do what Buddha had done.I couldn't leave .......

Am I wrong in having such thoughts?
You are you and not him. You will do what you are to do, when you are to do it. Do not strive to be like another be true to your nature. Nothing wrong with that and if there were, nothing could be done about it anyway!
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline Disney Land

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2011, 09:33:53 pm »
Without his sacrifice for all families of the past, present and future, nobody really know true love and care. Upon his successful search and attainment of enlightenment, his family were liberated and attained the same level as well. Only after his attainment, doctrines of various means of love and care were documented to benefit even more sentient beings    :anjali:
n Elder Master once said:
Those who skillfully discourse on Mind and Self-Nature surely can never reject Cause and Effect; those who believe deeply in Cause and Effect naturally understand the Mind and Self-Nature in depth. This is a natural development.
If it were not for a period of penetrating cold, the plum blossom could never develop its exquisite perfume!

Offline nirmal

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 12:03:57 am »
Without his sacrifice for all families of the past, present and future, nobody really know true love and care. Upon his successful search and attainment of enlightenment, his family were liberated and attained the same level as well. Only after his attainment, doctrines of various means of love and care were documented to benefit even more sentient beings    :anjali:

We can ease financial worries and career demands by simplifying our own lifestyle and adjusting our priorities.

We can fulfill our life purpose of attaining Buddhahood while also devoting time and attention to our family.

Could we not?

Offline LastLegend

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2011, 12:15:33 am »
[quote author=nirmal link=topic=2402.msg37149#msg37149
We can ease financial worries and career demands by simplifying our own lifestyle and adjusting our priorities.

We can fulfill our life purpose of attaining Buddhahood while also devoting time and attention to our family.

Could we not?
[/quote]

Caring for family is Dharma.

I understand we want to look up to Buddha as a role model. However, he was extraordinary.
Beware of philosophies for the sake of knowledge without actual practice for these philosophies only increase the attachment of 'I.'-Te Cong

What is the definition/essence of meditation of all forms?-Te Cong

Thien la gi? Thien la roi phan biet chap truoc.- Lao Phap Su

You have the recipe. Now make the cake instead of thinking about cake.- La Tao Viec

Thuong Tru Tang Nhu Lai= Knowing the presence of Buddha.

Offline nirmal

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Re: Buddha abandoned his wife and child.
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2011, 12:41:11 am »
[quote author=nirmal link=topic=2402.msg37149#msg37149
We can ease financial worries and career demands by simplifying our own lifestyle and adjusting our priorities.

We can fulfill our life purpose of attaining Buddhahood while also devoting time and attention to our family.

Could we not?

Caring for family is Dharma.

I understand we want to look up to Buddha as a role model. However, he was extraordinary.
[/quote]

His sacrifice was great in leaving his family and living with extreme simplicity, poverty and chastity.We live in a challenging world with a challenging economy. Some couples have to work day and night to survive.Some work non=stop to support a luxury lifestyle.
We work too but by reducing our desires and living in a simple and meaningful way and putting Buddhism into daily practice, we could also gain Enlightenment right from under our rooftops.

 


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