9 Aha! Moments that blow Oprah off the Screen
Circa 600 BC: Siddhartha Gautama
The mother of all peak experiences was downloaded 2,600 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama, the spoiled son of an ancient Indian chieftan in present-day Nepal. His father tried to shield him from reality but he devoted himself to ending human suffering at the age of 29 after seeing a sick man, a beggar and a corpse for the first time. Siddhartha quit his father’s royal household, his wife and went into a state of extreme self-denial.
Six years later, at the end of an intense stretch of meditation under a pipal tree in the northern Indian city of Benaras, he grasped the entirety of the universe’s machinery of birth, death and rebirth — and grokked the formula for cutting through the body of human pain. At this point, Siddhartha became the Buddha, and manifested the so-called 9 characteristics of the “Awakened One.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS, Siddhartha's Aha! Moment:
The Buddha’s four Noble Truths . . .
All human life is suffering.
All suffering is caused by human desire, particularly the desire that impermanent things be permanent.
Human suffering can be ended by ending human desire.
Desire can be ended by following the “Eightfold Noble Path”: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
BONUS SLIDE: Why we pick on Oprah