He went in search of teachers, illuminated ones who could give him the knowledge he sought. He would absorb their teachings and then move on, valuing what he had learned but always feeling that there was something more, something that he was missing. For years he practised a programme of austerities, which in many ways amount to self-torture, during which he became weaker and weaker through long periods of fasting. He began to accumulate disciples, impressed by his great feats of asceticism. Eventually he realised that his austerities were not bringing him any closer to the truth, and he began to eat again. After nearly killing himself through lack of food the Buddha realised there was a middle way between deprivation and indulgence.
Six years after leaving his home and family, he came to a place now known as Buddha Gaya, and stopped under a tree by a river. He started to relax his whole being, and stopped pushing so hard for the truth. Through meditation, he plunged deeper and deeper into his super-consciousness. After 49 days under the tree it is said he attained enlightenment where he understood the root of all suffering and also what steps were needed to end suffering.
To wear, carry or have around you symbols of the Buddha reminds us that total peace and bliss are possible. It reminds us of the words that hint at what enlightenment feels like: illumination, knowing, peace, calm, clarity, wisdom, profound love, and bliss.
To find out more read:
Beginnerís Guide to Buddhism
Thai Buddha Tealight Holder £14.60