“Enlightened versus Delusional”
Union City High School
Siddhartha was born into a very wealthy family. Although his life seemed to be the perfect life he
missed out on the normal childhood other children his age had. The stress of his important life caused
Siddhartha to become mentally ill. This led to his fasting and in turn his enlightenment.
Siddhartha was born about 583 BCE to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. After his birth Queen
Maya died which is tragic for any child. Later a man considered to be holy said Siddhartha would one
day be either a spiritual leader or a great military leader. The King strongly preferred his son becoming
a military leader and planned to raise his son so that this would be the outcome. Growing up Siddhartha
was shielded to all outside life from the palace. He was like an animal in a cage not allowed to leave
With age Siddhartha yearned to see a world that was outside of his palace. When a man agreed to take
him on a ride around the surrounding land he discovered that the world was not the dreamland he was
raised to believe. Siddhartha saw an aged man near death, a sick man, and then the corpse of a dead
When he returned to the palace and to his wife and child he was not satisfied with anything. Siddhartha
wandered around the place at night looking at all of his riches and jewels while all he could think was
how much they cluttered the place. Being a prince no longer satisfied him nor did anything or anyone
in the palace.
After continuous days of feeling empty the Prince left during the night to attempt to find more in life.
Siddhartha went to many teachers and learned all about many religious philosophies. Although he
learned many things about religion and his life calling he once again was still not satisfied.
Siddhartha then attempted to find release in extremes. After a failed attempt with extreme pain he then
turned to starvation.
The Ficus religiosa became known as the Bodhi Tree when Siddhartha decide to sit under it and go into
deep meditation. He did not eat or sleep for several days where he is said to have fought an epic battle.
Siddhartha battled a great demon named Mara. Mara sent many armies and impurities to attack
Siddhartha. When all attacks failed and Siddhartha still sat still Mara gave his seat of enlightenment to
him. This event transformed Siddhartha into a Buddha.
Depression is a mental disorder that can be triggered by any traumatic event in a person's life.
Siddhartha's mother died when he was a young child which can be a very hard thing for a child to grow
up without. Soon after his father was told that Siddhartha would become a very successful man. This
added pressure to his life and caused him to be stuck inside of the palace like a cage. The unbelievable
stress that was placed on Siddhartha led to depression and expectations being set too high. When
expectations are set too high a person often never feels good enough or that they can never succeed in
life. This is the reason for Siddhartha running away in the middle of the night to learn more about
himself and life.
Starving ones self also known as anorexia often leads to feelings of success and accomplishment. This
would have helped Siddhartha with his depression and his feelings of uselessness. Valerie Compan
from the University of Montpellier has proven that anorexia stimulates the 5HT-4 receptors in the
nucleus accumbens which is the part of the brain that signals feelings of success and reward. When the
brain is starved of the energy and nutrients it needs a person becomes delusional and suffers the same
effects of ecstasy. The battle fought while Siddhartha was in deep meditation can be explained by this.
He thought that he was being attacked by armies when in reality Siddhartha was just on a natural high.
After Siddhartha's so called enlightenment he was not so sure he should teach what he learned. There
was no way to teach what he had experienced because it could not be put in words. People on ecstasy
often say the same thing about their trips, that they are so unbelievable that words can't explain.