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By Sophie Royer

Il y a 2500 ans, en Inde, après des années de quête spirituelle, Siddharta Gautama accède enfin à l'ultime vérité. Devenu le Bouddha - littéralement l'Eveillé -, il va dès lors enseigner à ses contemporains los angeles voie qui permet d'échapper à los angeles souffrance. Après sa mort, los angeles doctrine du sage proceed à se propager à travers l'Inde, avant de gagner toute l'Asie. Au XIXe siècle, les Occidentaux découvrent le bouddhisme. A leur travel, ils ne tardent pas à être touchés par l'humanisme de son message. Première faith de l'histoire de l'humanité à vocation universelle, le bouddhisme n'a rien perdu de son éclat. Mais que sait-on vraiment de l'identité de son fondateur ? En étudiant le contexte politique et spirituel de l'Inde ancienne, en croisant les récits légendaires rapportés par les disciples du maître avec le fruit des recherches scientifiques, cette biographie appréhende l. a. determine du Bouddha historique, sa vie et sa pensée.

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At the edge of the forest he alighted, cut off his long black hair with his sword and sent it back to the palace by the hand of Channa. He exchanged his princely robes with those of a beggar, and went forth into the homeless life, alone. The purpose of his search was clear, the extinguishing of craving, selfish craving, the cause of suffering in this life and of rebirth on the Wheel. It is said that he had recently heard a maiden singing when she fell in love with his beauty a'S he passed her by: Happy indeed is the Mother, Happy indeed is the Father, Happy indeed is the Wife, Who has such a Husband.

Such was the immediate effect on him that his friend Moggallana, on seeing him, knew at once that he had ' attained the Immortal ', and he too, being told the Dhamma in the same remarkable formula, attained arahantship. That these two men, later to become the chief disciples of the Tathagata, should achieve such attainment at second-hand, as it were, and by such a formula is difficult to accept utiless it be, as the esoteric tradition tells, that a number of men of high attain­ ment had earned the right to be on earth at the time of the Master's final incarnation, and were therefore 'ripe' for such an experience.

The Library must have been one of the finest in the world, while the teachers at any one time included the finest brains in India. The Prajiia-Paramita One of the greatest of these teachers was Nagarjuna, per­ haps the greatest Buddhist philosopher. He formulated, or at least consolidated, the Madhyamika, or Middle Path School, which attempted to reconcile the doctrines of realism and nihilism, the v,ehicle for his teaching being the veritable library of works known' as the Prajiia-Paramita. In the very brief Prajiia-Paramita-Hridaya Sutra, recited daily through­ out the Far East in a thousand monasteries, the emptiness of all form is magnificently summarized.

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