Every episode of Down the Middle teaches me something of value. Or I get to know someone on a different, deeper level. That’s a pleasant byproduct. The aim of the show is to further my mission of spreading financial literacy to those who are less fortunate than you and me. Occasionally, I come upon a discussion that is transformative. That is why I share with you today my epiphany moment from my recent visit with Artemis Capital’s Christopher Cole.
Buddha wasn’t always meditating. Born in 563 B.C. in Lumbini near the Himalayan foothills with a given name of Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit, he was a prince who became a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader. At his birth, a soothsayer predicted he might one day become a renouncer, one who withdraws from the temporal life. Shaken, his parents indulged the boy all of life’s luxuries. What the king and queen could not do was shield their son from the world. On a series of four chariot rides, Siddhārtha saw old age, illness, a corpse and an ascetic renouncer. The realization came crashing down: Life’s pleasures on earth are but transitory; they merely mask human suffering. And so, answering his fate, he abandoned every aspect of his life, including his wife and newborn son and then, physiological sustenance in any form. Near starvation and no less the wiser, he took a different approach, taking a seat beneath a tree in that iconic meditative pose. By morning, after an interim night that lasted six months, Buddha had reached Nirvana – the answers to the causes of suffering and pain, and critically, a permanent release from them.