Who is the Buddha? Why have his teachings and ideas from 2,600 years ago endured, echoing in every corner of the world and earning the respect of the public even today?
According to Grandmaster JinBodhi, Buddhadharma is a set of laws that transcend natural laws, and whoever embraces them will benefit. How can Buddhadharma be incorporated into the lives of modern people? How can we find our “life compass” and the power to grow from the wisdom of the Buddha? Find out the answers in this lesson by Grandmaster JinBodhi

【You will learn】

  • The life story of the Buddha from birth to enlightenmen
  • Mastery of the secrets of fate transformation to obtain auspiciousness and wealth


2,600 years ago, a great man was born. That’s not all; he was also extremely compassionate. That’s how we describe him.

His father, Suddhodana Gautama, was also known as “The Pure Rice King.” That was what people called him. His mother, Queen Maya, had a dream. In her dream, she saw a white elephant with 6 tusks. Ordinary elephants only have 2, right? One at each side of their trunk. This one had 3 on each side. You don’t see this in everyday life. The elephant entered Queen Maya’s womb through her right side. After waking, she thought about her auspicious dream. She thought she should tell someone about it. And so, she told the king.

The king also thought it was an auspicious dream, but he didn’t know the meaning behind it. So, he gathered a few self-cultivators and some people with dharmic powers. He wanted to hear their interpretation of the queen’s dream. After a brief discussion, the group of dharma practitioners had an answer. They told the king that a boy would arrive. If the boy succeeded the king as the next ruler, his achievement would shake the world. The boy would demonstrate great ambition. “The boy’s achievement would surpass you, my lord.” That was the prediction.

The king’s guests also said that, as someone blessed with such capacity, the boy should go on a journey of self-cultivation upon becoming an adult. If he swore to benefit all sentient beings, that was even better. His name would reach every corner of the world. People around the world would praise him and sing his name because of the benefits he would bring. He would be a great king who would enlighten the whole world. The king and queen were delighted to hear this. To them, it was more than good news. It was a gift from Heaven.

Also, when the boy was born, strange sights appeared in the sky. Apart from the bright illumination, there were also Divine guardians. The deities were overjoyed at the birth of the boy. They were celebrating. The land was christened by the Divine dragons. I think that refers to an auspicious rain. It was possible. I guess you could refer to him as the prince. So, immediately after his birth, the prince stood up and took 7 steps. Wherever he placed his foot, a lotus flower bloomed. After taking the 7 steps, he stopped and pointed to the sky and the earth. He declared, “Under Heaven and on Earth, I am the supreme one.”

That’s what the legend says. If the stories are true, what a miraculous birth that was. Many one-year-old toddlers can’t speak. The little prince was no ordinary man. He was no ordinary mortal like us. What about his father? Like all fathers, he loved his son very much. The king named his son Siddhartha Gautama. What about the prince’s mother, Queen Maya? She died 7 days after the prince was born. Yes, that’s what happened. For me, she had a mission, and she accomplished it. Her mission was to come to our world and give birth to Prince Gautama. She completed her mission and returned to where she came from.

The prince grew up in his father’s palace. Being a prince, he lived a different life compared to ordinary people. He had all the luxuries, maids and servants. People were loyal to him and took good care of him. With his mother gone, his aunt cared for him like a mother. How did he grow up? To prepare the prince for the future succession, the king made many arrangements. The prince had much to learn, such as languages, history, astrology, martial arts, and the strategies to govern a country. To sum up, whatever could be learned at that time, the prince learned it all.

The prince did his part and did it well. He was smart and a quick learner. I think he was doing well. The king and the prince’s aunt were happy with his progress. And so, the prince grew up adored by everyone in the palace. People married young back then, even the royals. His marriage was arranged by his father. So, everything went as planned. That’s the story.

One day, the prince, about 20 years old, left the palace. He wanted to see what it was like outside the palace gates. He saw people suffering from sickness, old age and death. That’s the reality, the ugly truth. That’s the cycle all humans go through. He was unhappy, devastated. He felt pain; he was sorrowful. He spent some time looking around. After that, he was inspired by what he’d seen. For the first time, he felt a sense of mission. He then started thinking about a solution to solve what he’d seen: the suffering from health problems.

He’d seen people in their final moments. People feared death; at their dying moments, their eyes were full of hopelessness and fear. He vowed to rediscover what death was. He wanted to know: If death was unavoidable, what could be done to face it without fear, and with more broadmindedness? Not just death, all suffering: birth, old age, sickness, poverty, negative emotions, worries, fear, war, poverty, etc. I’m just naming a few.

There must be a way to overcome all this suffering. The prince thought he might have to face them in the future. He knew, more than anyone. His mother died days after he was born, right? So he knew what that felt like. He experienced the pain of losing someone, a pain that would stay with him forever. The more he thought about it, the more worried he became.

Just like you and me, he was a human after all, and we’re all in the cycle. Being a prince, he shouldn’t have had any worries. What about ordinary humans? His father, the king, was also bound by worldly suffering. Even the king had his own worries. He was a human, after all. So it’s normal. No matter who you are, rich or poor, you’re going to have your own worries. What matters is how you face them. The questions got the prince thinking deeply.

In his late 20s, about 29, he made a big decision. As I mentioned earlier, under the king’s arrangement, he married a beautiful, kind, smart wife. That wasn’t enough to banish his worries about suffering and people’s fear of death. He had no answers to all that. He continued to look for an answer; that was what he vowed to do. One day, executing his plans, he left the palace at night.

After leaving the palace, Siddhartha practiced meditation deep in the mountains. What did he do? He meditated most of the time. His practice was about tormenting his body. He ate very little food. How little? He ate only one grain of rice a day. It was not about filling his stomach; it was just enough to stay alive. He also meditated. He practiced as such for about 6 years.

Practicing as such was tormenting and taxing. The young Siddhartha was so thin because he ate so little. He was just skin and bones, no flesh. We’ve all seen it before, in paintings, Buddhist classics and statues: a young man, looking so thin and malnourished, right? That was how Siddhartha looked after 7 years of practicing. That’s the famous “The Youth of the Himalayas.” What’s the idea behind this name? I think it refers to the time of Siddhartha’s self-cultivation and how thin he got from eating so little food.

Fast-forward 6 years; Siddhartha went to the river to bathe. When you’re starved, a bath would further drain your strength. That’s what happened to Siddhartha; he fainted. Luckily for him, a shepherdess was nearby doing laundry. She saw the unconscious Siddhartha and saved him.

One day, he was close to a huge tree. It was a bodhi tree. Placing some kusha grass under the tree, Siddhartha was going to meditate again. This time, he vowed to enter into a deep, enlightened state. For Siddhartha, that was a do-or-die situation. If he failed to achieve enlightenment, he vowed not to get up. The ultimate truth was his only goal. Lowering his body, he started meditating. He had recovered his strength, so everything went smoothly; he was able to quickly enter into a deep meditative state. There he began to break away from the 6 realms of existence.

OK, let’s be more realistic. To break away from Earth, you need a rocket to fly past the Earth’s atmosphere. If you want to break away from the solar system, it’s harder. I’m bringing this up so you know how difficult it is. Being a human, you’re born to survive in the human realm. You’re bound in this realm, period. When Siddhartha vowed to achieve enlightenment, he was vowing to attain ultimate wisdom from Heaven. It’s not ordinary wisdom, but wisdom that allows an understanding of all truths. No mortal can achieve such a feat.

When Siddhartha made such a vow, he might have angered the spirits that watch over the human realm. They might have even punished him. Indeed, Siddhartha did have some trouble. He had some scary encounters. For example, he saw huge, venomous snakes. In India, these are quite common, right? He was almost devoured alive. He wasn’t scared, and even showed compassion. He didn’t fight back. Apart from his compassion, he also showed fearlessness toward death. He was more than just composed; he was in an incredible calm state. Evil failed, because Siddhartha conquered it.

What next? What about beautiful women? Siddhartha was a young man. Could he be seduced by women? I’m talking about beautiful women who dance and sing well. Threatening him didn’t work. What about seducing him? If he’d succumbed to his lust, he wouldn’t have been able to meditate well. This trick would work against most men. These were fine, beautiful women; most men would die for their singing and dancing. They were perfect seduction weapons. Siddhartha ignored them. They failed, as expected.

Evil beings thought Siddhartha was no human. Nothing sent by evil seemed to work. Swords, blades, demons, women… None of them managed to work on Siddhartha. He stood firm and he was fearless. He’d witnessed too many deaths, and people being reborn just to die again because of the cycle. Would death scare him? I guess not. That explains his fearlessness. He wouldn’t back off even if swords rained down on him. Would death scare him? No way. The swords that rained upon him eventually turned into flowers. To sum up, Siddhartha was tested many times, but he passed his tests.

Days later, under a clear night sky, a miracle finally befell Siddhartha. He finally achieved instant enlightenment. He not only became one with the Universe, but also with all sentient beings, as well as birth, sickness, old age and death. He was able to feel all humans. As such, he was able to understand all humans. At the moment of enlightenment, he became aware of everything. He understood all truths.

His father, the king, upon finding out that he’d snuck out of the palace, protected him as all fathers would. The king had assigned a few bodyguards to be at Siddhartha’s side. They were his disciples, servants and bodyguards. They were Siddhartha’s first audience, at Sakyamuni Buddha’s first public teaching. His first teaching took place deep in the mountains. Imagine a lion’s roar; that’s how loud he was.

His 5 servants who were keeping him safe became full-time cultivation practitioners. What were they practicing under Sakyamuni? Freeing themselves from all worldly sufferings. That was when he first talked about liberation. From what? Birth, old age, sickness, death, fear, pride, arrogance, ignorance and so on.

Thanks to his enlightenment, he understood the truth behind mistakes. Our mistakes come from our hearts; we cause our own mistakes. Remember the 5 poisons? Greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. That’s all of them. Do you know why we sin? Our sins are caused by the 5 poisons in our hearts. There are 5 main types of sins: Killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech and abuse of alcohol. Sakyamuni knew it all along, thanks to his ultimate wisdom.

Also, I want to talk about social classes. In Ancient India, discrimination based on social class was common. People were labeled and discriminated against. It’s a grouping thing. For example, if you’re poor, you’re ranked the lowest in society. It still happens now. When did it first start? Nobody knows for sure. Sakyamuni believed in equality. Regardless of social class, rich or poor, everyone was welcome to listen to his teachings. He allowed everyone to listen, right? That’s how it was.

To him, everyone is equal. It’s about treating everyone the same, regardless of, say, your gender. What’s that? Gender equality. Sakyamuni believed that humans and livestock are also equal. He found out the truth of rebirth. If you die as a human, you could be reborn as an animal. You could be a cow, pig or sheep. What about an ant? It’s possible.

He even saw that. What kind of eyes did he see with? The Divine-Eye, or Buddha’s Eye, maybe. That’s what a buddha’s wisdom can do: see through previous and future lifetimes. That’s what we call ultimate vision. What else did Sakyamuni see? The truth of life. All lives go through the cycle of life. Their existence depends on each other. They exist and perish together. That’s how life works.

Let me share an example. When I was young, I lived in Tibet. Wolves were the most feared. Wolves are carnivorous. Various animals inhabited the grassland; wolves in packs were the most common. Lynx were quite common, so were snow leopards. Snow leopards are white, with black spots. They’re not that big, some locals called them big cats. As a kind of leopard, they’re skillful predators. There were tigers too.

These animals were hunted by the locals. Now, they’ve become an endangered species. They’re now protected from hunters. Why? To keep the numbers of sheep in balance. All lives are interdependent. That’s how the food chain works. In his enlightened state, Sakyamuni saw through the cycle of life. Who could have such wisdom?

And then, people asked, “Why are we fated differently?” Some are born into a wealthy family. They live a wealthy life forever. Some are born into a wealthy family, but are still poor. They could be rich in childhood, but, their rich father was beheaded, and their family exiled. That’s how their poverty began. Some are born into a family of beggars, and they beg for the rest of their lives. Why do such things happen? Easy; it’s because of the merits and karma from previous lifetimes. That’s the most straightforward answer.

I learned of this when I studied Buddhism. This is the way I believe. That’s the truth. All the kindness we’ve offered and our sins, from previous lives to our current life, are coded in our life. Unfortunately, we lack the wisdom to decode them. That’s the code of life. Although we have naked eyes, we lack the wisdom to comprehend what we see. What I know is: The formation of our body, our hands and face, is all coded.

Whether we live rich or poor is decided by the kindness or evil we’ve committed. What we did previously affects our current life. That’s how it is. If we’re rich now, it’s because of our merits from the past. It’s the merits from our kindness in our previous lifetime. So, if we keep doing good deeds now, our future generations will benefit from it. That’s how it is. This is how to transform fate and free ourselves from the shackles of Nature. It’s called the law of merit.

We often say “Heaven decides,” right? Precisely speaking, what we have is decided by our past. And what about the future? It’s decided by what we do now. Our present decides our future. So, do good deeds to have a good future. In Ancient China, traditional philosophy and Taoist teachings shared one belief: Heaven decides everything, including fate. Sakyamuni Buddha believed otherwise. To him, our past makes our present, and our future is shaped by our present. That’s how it is.

This is simple math. Do nothing; gain nothing. No disasters will befall us, and we gain no wisdom. What if we do good? We’ll become richer. Maybe we’ll live longer. Do more good deeds, and our children will be blessed. Do even more good deeds, and our children shall live a prosperous and wealthy life. Let’s talk about subtraction. When we do evil instead of good deeds, our luck decreases. When our luck runs out, we could end up in jail or even die. How? It might be suicide. Yes, it’ll cause some trouble. This is the law discovered by the Buddha. So in order to have a good fate, practice kindness and do good deeds. This is so important.

Fate discussion can be scientific too. It’s not vague at all; it’s real. At this point, I have so many thoughts I want you to know. Listen, and you shall understand. If you want to understand more, you should listen to me singing “A Hymn to the Buddha.” The lyrics reflect my thoughts on all the transformations I’ve been through thanks to the Buddha.

Let’s sing together. If you can’t read the lyrics, just listen.

The lyrics reflect my genuine feelings. Buddhadharma changed me, and I believe it can change many people. Read, understand and feel it; you shall benefit from it and have your fate transformed. Even your personality and abilities can be transformed.

Buddhadharma is a collection of truths that are capable of freeing one from the Law of Nature. Whoever gets it will benefit from it. So if a beggar gets it, they can rise to fame and success. If a coward gets it, they’ll become incredibly strong.