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Sunday, March 13, 2011

did Buddha have PTSD

The man that would become the founder of the Buddhist religion was born to an Indo- Aryan tribe in what is now the border areas of India and Nepal.  Siddhārtha Gautama lived from 563-483 BCE and it was just after a turbulent time in the area.
The common view of Buddha, not Asian but in reality Indo- Aryan
His father was King Suddhodana, the chief of the Shakya nation, one of several ancient tribes in the growing state of Kosala; Gautama was the family name. 

The Aryan war chariot was well known and feared by all the enemies of the state, Buddha would have been trained and excelled in its use.  As the son of the King he would be trained in weapons, philosophy and methodology of how to be a true and just king.

In 600 BCE there was an Aryan invasion of the splendid city of Ravana and the occupiers imposed a apartheid type system as well as massacring many innocents.  There was a mass slaughter during the war but also in the times of peace, human sacrifice, forced labour, slavery, religious conversion, and even included the destruction of texts and temples.

So Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) grew up and married into this world.  At age 29 after witnessing what the Buddhist texts called the four sights.
1.   an old man seen as frail and weak
2.   a sick and diseased person
3.   a corpse off to be cremated
4.   he saw a priest walking and it was a vision of what his future could be.

If we look at these sights not as they are recited 2000 years later but as they are fit in with the facts of the time.  They could be the witnesses of war.

gaurav singh tomar
Siddhartha and his war horse Kanthaka
As the son of a King and the future of privilege and wealth laid out before him, a beautiful wife and and child.  He had everything he needed or could ever want.
But for some reason he decided to walk away from that very life.    
Buddhas in Baiyman before they were destroyed by the Taliban 2001
"Siddhartha initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. Having been recognised by the men of King Bimbisara, Bimbisara offered him the throne after hearing of Siddhartha's quest. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment.
Siddhartha left Rajagaha and practiced under two hermit teachers. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama, Siddhartha was asked by Kalama to succeed him, but moved on after being unsatisfied with his practices. He then became a student of Udaka Ramaputta, but although he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness and was asked to succeed Ramaputta, he was still not satisfied with his path, and moved on.
100 CE

Siddhartha and a group of five companions led by Kondanna then set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through near total deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practicing self-mortification.  After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path. As he laid there, a boat passed him and he overheard the conversation that the two musicians aboard it were saying: "If you tighten the string too tight it will snap, but if it is too loose it will not play." From this, he realised that he would have to take a "middle-way" to reach enlightenment and not by using extremes."

Could his witnessing war, atrocities, apartheid and inequality be the reason?
What are some of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.....
PTSD effects soldiers today and in the past
Flashbacks and nightmares, as well as relieving the event, images, sounds and smells can trigger these flashbacks.
Is this the face and body of a man suffering from PTSD
Someone who has PTSD sometimes will withdraw from families and friends and even have dis associative states.  There can be changes in sleep patterns, and alertness, depression and dependence on alcohol  or drugs.  There can even be problems with gastro and intestinal disorders with overeating or anorexia as the result.

Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) as an 
ascetic, starving himself to reach enlightenment
A religion called Buddhism that now has between 500 million and 1 billion adherents.  This religion could be created from a simple reaction to PTSD from a time of war.

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