Buddha's motivation or drive

Maybe, if you like it too, we can collect some texts on Buddha’s motivation or drive.

I will start with two text:

-“Mendicants, before my awakening when I was still unawakened but intent on awakening—I too, being liable to be reborn, sought what is also liable to be reborn. Myself liable to grow old, fall sick, die, sorrow, and become corrupted, I sought what is also liable to these things. Then it occurred to me: ‘Why do I, being liable to be reborn, grow old, fall sick, sorrow, die, and become corrupted, seek things that have the same nature? Why don’t I seek the unborn, unaging, unailing, undying, sorrowless, uncorrupted supreme sanctuary, extinguishment?’
Some time later, while still black-haired, blessed with youth, in the prime of life—though my mother and father wished otherwise, weeping with tearful faces—I shaved off my hair and beard, dressed in ocher robes, and went forth from the lay life to homelessness”
Once I had gone forth I set out to discover what is skillful, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace” (MN26).

-“Peril stems from those who take up arm
just look at people in conflict!
I shall extol how I came to be
stirred with a sense of urgency.

I saw this population flounder,
like a fish in a little puddle.
Seeing them fight each other,
fear came upon me.

The world around was hollow ,
all directions were in turmoil.
Wanting a home for myself,
I saw nowhere unsettled.

But even in their settlement they fight
seeing that, I grew uneasy.
Then I saw a dart there,
so hard to see, stuck in the heart.

When struck by that dart,
you run about in all directions.
But when that same dart has been plucked out,
you neither run about nor sink down. (Snp4.15)


So true and so relevant to today and forever. Dhamma, the teaching is well spoken by the Buddha, visible in the here and now, timeless, onward leading, inviting inspection and to be realized by the wise.
With Metta

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“Mendicants, before my awakening—when I was still unawakened but intent on awakening—I thought: ‘Alas, this world has fallen into trouble. It’s born, grows old, dies, passes away, and is reborn, yet it doesn’t understand how to escape from this suffering, from old age and death. Oh, when will an escape be found from this suffering, from old age and death?’ Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists is there old age and death? What is a condition for old age and death?’ Then, through proper attention, I comprehended with wisdom: ‘When rebirth exists there’s old age and death. Rebirth is a condition for old age and death.’…….

SN12.65 Nagarasutta


Yes, thanks. This is also in DN14. It is there the Bodhisattva Vipassi who has the same thoughts.
In the translation of Walshe: “This world, alas, is in a sorry state: there is birth and decay, there is death and falling into other states and being reborn. And no one knows any way of escape from this suffering, this ageing and death. When will deliverance be found from this suffering, this ageing and death?” 'And then, monks, the Bodhisatta thought: “With what being present, does ageing-and-death occur? What conditions ageing-and-death?” And then, monks, as a result of the wisdom born of profound consideration the realisation dawned on him: “Birth being present, ageing-and-death occurs, birth conditions ageing-and-death…”

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The Five Regular Recollections are a good meditation on the Buddha’s motivation to seek the escape from samsara.

For others, sickness is natural, and so are old age and death. Though this is how their nature is, ordinary people feel disgusted.
If I were to be disgusted with creatures whose nature is such, it would not be appropriate for me, since my life is just the same.
Living in such a way, I understood the reality without attachments. I mastered all vanities—of health, of youth,
and even of life—seeing renunciation as sanctuary. Zeal sprang up in me as I looked to extinguishment.
Now I’m unable to indulge in sensual pleasures; there’s no turning back, I’m committed to the spiritual life.”



I wonder,

  • was Nibbana as a goal/concept allready known before or at the time of the Buddha? Was the Buddha grown up/familiar with the idea that there is samsara and one can escape it?

  • do you think that Buddha aimed at going out like a flame? Becoming non-existent as it were? End his life?

You might get some insight on the subtleties of this in chapter XIII, Awakening, in Bhikkhu Analayo’s book “A Meditator’s Life Of the Buddha” where everything the Buddha had worked through came together and led him to what took him beyond what had previously been known about samsara and nibbana.


I recognize this. It is indeed true, even in buddhist Sangha. We take up arms. Armed with…‘only this is true…’ or…‘this person is foolish’…‘this person has wrong view, only i have right view’, or ‘this text clearly says…’…we attack, we defend, we fight and in the back of our minds we enjoy and justify…it is worth fighting for, it is a holy fight, justified war, right, true fight, needed fight’.

It is easy to take up arms, i find. Easy to defend, fight, battle. Also in Buddha Sangha there is a lot of fighting going on. It is easy to justify taking up of arms…like…‘but i am defending a pure Dhamma’!..'I am fighting for a great reason, very important for the world’. Taking hold of such ideas one becomes defensive, a warrior. But is one battling the inner demons of lobha, dosa and moha? I do not think so.

I am a fighter too. People can pretend they are not, but i think it is very seldom to meet a non-fighter, one at peace. I am not. Do not challenge me…or…

It is very true what Buddha says above.

In all this battling, defending, taking up arms one can feel very alive and kicking. I think it comes down to having wrong priority, always focused on defending wrong things, things that are not really that important but one feels they are very important.
I think we get bored without anything to defend. Who are we without our battles? In this passion we feel alive and kicking. It is hard to let go and really go beyond this fight. We take lots of things, i feel, much to serious. Oke, i do. The structure of moha i belief.

This need to battle and to have something to fight for is hard to overcome.
If one associates with the sick, with the dying, needy, then one becomes more sensitive for what is really important in life and sees more clearly the foolishness of going to battle. But this can disappear again quit easily when one gets absorbed in internet discussions.

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I wish I were able to give you two likes.
With Metta