The Walking Buddha
After getting the enlightenment, Buddha himself was filled with the highest happiness. His mind, free from all darkness and pain, felt a boundless joy. Then he thought,
"It was so difficult for me to reach the end of suffering and become a Buddha. I had to work so hard for so long. When I see how blind and ignorant most people are, I wonder if there is anyone who can understand the truths I have discovered. How could I possibly teach them? Perhaps it is better for me to live the rest of my life in the forests alone and enjoy the happiness of being a Buddha myself.”
Then he heard an inner voice which said. "Please do not forget us! We are the suffering beings of the world. We have been waiting for this moment ever since your birth, and even before that. We have hoped and prayed these many years that you would leave the princely life and discover the way to end all suffering. Now that you have found this path, please teach it to us. Unlike you, we are still suffering." But another thought arose in Buddha's mind: "Who will be able to follow the teaching I have to give? Who is strong and brave enough? Who will try hard and long enough?" And the inner voice came again: "It is true that our minds are clouded in ignorance, O Buddha. But for some people this ignorance is not so thick. They will be able to understand you. For their sake, please teach us all the true Path!"
Then Buddha smiled and said, "Of course; of course, I shall teach. The only reason I left the princely life was to find a way to help others. Now that I have become a Buddha, I shall do everything I can."
Then he decided to preach his knowledge to the people. His teachings helped him have thousands of followers in such a short span of time.
After preaching the first Sermon, the Buddha travelled the countryside with his followers, explaining the Middle way. His teaching took the form of discourses followed by questions and discussions, after which his listeners could make up their own minds. He often spent time among the outcasts of society, and he made use of parables as a way of communication great truths. He was also credited with working many miracles.
Hearing of Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment, his father Shuddhodana sent a message asking him to return to Kapilavastu. On arrival his son Rahula came to him, asking for his inheritance. He replied: “I cannot offer you gold and jewels, but I can give you spiritual treasures’. Rahula was ordained a monk, and when women were later admitted to ordination, Shakyamuni’s wife Yashodhara ad his nurse Prajapati both became nuns.
Figures of the Buddha walking were first developed by the metalworkers of Sukothai in Thailand in the thirteenth century AD. They stress the active aspect of the Buddha’s ministry ad covey his accessibility in the way the Buddha seems to approach the viewer. In his image, the Buddha’s right hand is raised in the gesture of reassurance or the Abhaya mudra.