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10 Interesting Facts About Buddha
We love Buddha, as you may be able to tell from our clothing collection, which includes items such as the Short-Sleeved Green Protector Buddha T-Shirt and the Long-Sleeved White Buddha T-Shirt. Our interest does not end with how great he looks on clothing, however. Buddha is such a fascinating character that it’s hard to choose just ten interesting facts about him. We have done our best, however, and hope you enjoy this small insight into this religious leader and spiritual teacher.
1. Siddhartha Gautama was originally a wealthy prince
He left his rich roots behind in order to follow a path of truth after seeing the sickness and poverty that existed beyond the palace walls.
2. Buddha was not fat
Buddha did not actually look like the chubby man who appears on our Orange Laughing Buddha T-Shirt. He is actually portrayed like this as it was seen as a symbol of happiness in eastern culture. It would have been very difficult for the Buddha to be overweight given that he fasted regularly, practiced moderation, and walked hundreds of miles in order to spread enlightenment.
It is actually thought that the fat Buddha seen in so many images represents a Buddhist monk called Hotei a Budai, who lived at the start of the 900s. The confusion may have arisen because of teachings saying that every person is actually Buddha. Only Chinese-influenced images show an overweight Buddha. Asian images show the Buddha as being slender.
It is also unlikely that Buddha had the bun that can be seen in this Multi-Colored Fleece Sweatshirt, despite the fact that it is shown in a multitude of different images. It is likely, however, that this style came about as a result of the influence of Greek sculptures and architecture. This is why he can also be seen in images with a halo and wearing a toga-style robe.
3. Prophecy of greatness
Just days after his birth, a wise old man predicted that Siddhartha would be a saint or great king with world-changing capabilities.
4. Buddhist teachings
Buddha taught his followers three major tenets: not to get angry, not to hate others, and not to be ignorant.
5. Not a god
Buddha is not seen as a god by practicing Buddhists. Instead, he is viewed as a teacher. Buddha himself did not believe that goddesses or gods were actually relevant as part of a supreme goal of achieving enlightenment.
6. Stolen tooth
Buddha died at the age of 80 and his final request was that his followers worked hard to achieve their own salvation. During his cremation ceremony, it is thought that one of his teeth was taken. It is said that it was smuggled into the country of Sri Lanka and is still there today.
7. Not vegetarian
It is quite possible that Buddha was not vegetarian. Many Buddhists do not eat meat as Buddha’s instruction to do no harm is extended to animals. Yet Buddhists will eat food given to them without complaint or requesting anything. This philosophy and the culinary history of Asia means that Buddha is likely to have been offered - and eaten - meat during his travels.
8. A Christian saint
The Christian church actually canonized Buddha. Stories that originated in Buddhism were adapted into Christianity stories and were so loved that Buddha was made a saint. The Bible’s Josaphat is said to be based on Buddha.
9. Equal rights
Buddha was a pioneer when it came to equality of the sexes. Unlike the male-dominated Indian Brahman caste system, Buddha believed in treating men and women equally. Most monastic orders, particularly when Buddha lived, shunned female participation, but Buddha offered a stark contrast to this sexist practice.
10. Spot of enlightenment
It is said that in order to achieve enlightenment, a young Siddhartha promised to sit beneath a fig tree to meditate until he could transcend suffering. What followed was a marathon of meditation and a mental struggle with the god of desire, known as Mara, but he is said to have been awakened. It is from this time that Siddhartha was known as the Buddha.
What is said to have been his spot of enlightenment beneath the bodhi fig tree has been preserved. Buddhists still make pilgrimages to Bodh Gaya, or the "place of enlightenment", which is situated in Bihar, northern India.
Standing on the spot is the Mahabodhi Temple, which was built around two and a half centuries after Buddha died. Buddhists visit the spot to meditate, chant and make offerings in order to renew and reinforce their commitment to their journey along the path of enlightenment.