The Birth of the Buddha – Great Causes and Conditions

In 624 B.C, Prince Siddhartha was born in Lumbini garden. Therefore, we know that the Buddha is a historical figure. Though we can have read or heard about the history of Buddhism before, we still may not have enough faith that the Buddha was a real person. It was the same with me, too. I enjoyed reading Buddhist sutras. I found them very meaningful and treasurable. But at that time, I still didn’t have full faith in the existence of the Buddha. Only after making a pilgrimage to India – homeland of the Buddha, seeing the relics and visiting many vestiges do I have full faith in the Buddha.

As a Buddhist with great faith, we can confirm that Shakyamuni Buddha is a real person recorded in the history. When it comes to physical appearance, He was born human being like us. He was born by Queen Maha Maya. According to Buddhist sutra, how the Bodhisattva Prabhapala in Tusita Heaven chose His birthplace, country and the time of entering the Queen’s womb was a very careful investigation. For a great Saint like the Buddha, it’s sure that His birth wasn’t a normal phenomenon, but a great phenomenon with full accumulated causes and conditions. In Buddhism we have a phrase “great causes and conditions” which implies essential causes and conditions. In some cases, small causes are needed. For example, a strand of hair falling down needs a small cause. But for a great phenomenon to happen, we need the great harmony of many factors and conditions.

The birth of the Buddha is a huge event. It is such a rare occasion that according to the sutra, it was like the appearance of Udumbara flower which blooms only once every thousands of years. On the way home to her mother through Lumbini garden, the Queen gave birth to Prince Siddhartha under the Udumbara tree. That was a truly special and rare event. If it hadn’t been for this event, there wouldn’t have been our Buddha. If it hadn’t been for this event, there would be no Buddhism as well as Buddha’s teachings for us to practise now. There would be no path of liberation as well.

An excerpt from a sermon of Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh to Ba Vang Pagoda‘s Sangha on the pilgrimage in India.

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