The Buddha as the man who woke up, is regarded as one Buddha among a potentiality of myriads of Buddhas, everybody can be a Buddha everybody has in himself the capacity to wake up from the illusion of being simply this separate individual. The Buddha made his doctrine very easy to understand, because in those days there wasn’t very much writing being done and people committed things to memory and so he put his doctrine (or method) in various formulae which is very easy to remember, and I’m going to explain it in those terms so you can remember it just as well.
He of course practiced the various disciplines that were offered in the Hinduism of his time, but he found that in a certain way they had become unsatisfactory, because they had overemphasized asceticism had overemphasized putting up with as much pain as you can, there was a feeling you see that if the problem of life is pain, let us suffer… and this is the root of the ascetics you see who lie on beds of nails, who hold a hand up for ever and ever and ever who eat only one banana a day, who renounce sex, who do all these weird things, cause they feel that if they head right into pain and don’t become afraid of it, then suffer as much pain as possible, they will by this method overcome the problem of pain and they will set themselves free from anxiety.
There’s a certain sense in that, as you can obviously see, supposing for example you have absolutely no fear of pain, you have no anxieties you, have no hang ups, how strong you would be, nobody could stop you, you would have ultimate courage. But the Buddha was very subtle, he was really the first Historical Psychologist, the great Psychologist, Psychotherapist, he was very suttle, because he saw that a person who is fighting pain was trying to get rid of pain, is still really fundamentally afraid of it. And therefore the way of asceticism is not right, equally the way of hedonism (or seeking pleasure) is not right, so the Buddha’s doctrine is called the middle way which is neither ascetic or hedonistic, so it’s summed up in what are called the Four Noble Truths.” ~Alan Watts…
Art by: Todor Kyurkchiev
The image you have on this picture is not The Buddha. He is the Chinese version of Maitreya Bodhisattva, morphed from Budai, an ancient Chinese Buddhist monk from Chinese folklore. Thank you.