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why die trying?
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Sujata offers

Six long and arduous years had passed - years of commitment to the traditional practices of painful self-mortification thought to be indispensable for deliverance from the round of rebirth. Yet, he was no closer to his goal. He became disillusioned with these methods. Such self-imposed bodily punishment only resulted in dullness of spirit, incredible physical disability and profound exhaustion. He concluded that the body, as a vehicle for enlightenment, must be physically fit to train the mind. He began to go on almsround. Slowly, he regained his strength and vigor, preparing himself for the greatest struggle which lay ahead. His five companions had attended him, hoping he would realize and impart some higher realization to them. Seeing him take nourishment, they concluded he had given up his discipline and abandoned his goal. Growing disappointed, they left for the Deer Park at Isipatana (near Varanasi), leaving him alone. The Bodhisatta realized now that a life of self-indulgence would lead him far away from accomplishing his aim. Conversely, he concluded that no one could be enlightened through self-torture of the body. It was at this time he recalled his childhood experience at the Ploughing Festival when he sat under the cool shade of the rose-apple tree, contemplating his breathing and reaching the first stage of meditative bliss. Considering the course to pursue, the Bodhisatta determined the middle path must be the proper way to realize harmony of body and mind, just as a precisely-tuned stringed instrument, having neither too slack nor too taut a string, emits a perfectly balanced and lovely sound. This was the beginning of his search for the Middle Way.

Contents | Birth | 4 Sights | Renunciation | Austeristies | Middle Way | Enlightenment | Teaching | Home | 2 Disciples | Women | Last Disciple | Death