Buddha

Who Was Buddha?

The name Buddha means "one who is awakened" or "the enlightened one." While scholars agree that Buddha did in fact exist, the specific dates and events of his life are still debated.

According to the most widely known story of his life, after experimenting with different teachings for years, and finding none of them acceptable, Siddhartha Gautama spent a fateful night in deep meditation beneath a tree. During his meditation, all of the answers he had been seeking became clear, and he achieved full awareness, thereby becoming Buddha.

Buddha was born in the 6th century B.C., or possibly as early as 624 B.C., according to some scholars. Other researchers believe he was born later, even as late as 448 B.C. And some Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha lived from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C.

But virtually all scholars believe Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini in present-day Nepal. He belonged to a large clan called the Shakyas.

In 2013, archaeologists working in Lumbini found evidence of a tree shrine that predated other Buddhist shrines by some 300 years, providing new evidence that Buddha was probably born in the 6th century B.C.

Siddhartha Gautama

Siddhartha ("he who achieves his aim") Gautama grew up the son of a ruler of the Shakya clan. His mother died seven days after giving birth.

A holy man, however, prophesied great things for the young Siddhartha: He would either be a great king or military leader or he would be a great spiritual leader.

To protect his son from the miseries and suffering of the world, Siddhartha's father raised him in opulence in a palace built just for the boy and sheltered him from knowledge of religion, human hardship and the outside world.

According to legend, he married at the age of 16 and had a son soon thereafter, but Siddhartha's life of worldly seclusion continued for another 13 years.

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Siddhartha in the Real World

The prince reached adulthood with little experience of the world outside the palace walls, but one day he ventured out with a charioteer and was quickly confronted with the realities of human frailty: He saw a very old man, and Siddhartha's charioteer explained that all people grow old.

Questions about all he had not experienced led him to take more journeys of exploration, and on these subsequent trips he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse and an ascetic. The charioteer explained that the ascetic had renounced the world to seek release from the human fear of death and suffering.

Siddhartha was overcome by these sights, and the next day, at age 29, he left his kingdom, his wife and his son to follow a more spiritual path, determined to find a way to relieve the universal suffering that he now understood to be one of the defining traits of humanity.

The Ascetic Life

For the next six years, Siddhartha lived an ascetic life, studying and meditating using the words of various religious teachers as his guide.

He practiced his new way of life with a group of five ascetics, and his dedication to his quest was so stunning that the five ascetics became Siddhartha's followers. When answers to his questions did not appear, however, he redoubled his efforts, enduring pain, fasting nearly to starvation and refusing water.

Whatever he tried, Siddhartha could not reach the level of insight he sought, until one day when a young girl offered him a bowl of rice. As he accepted it, he suddenly realized that corporeal austerity was not the means to achieve inner liberation, and that living under harsh physical constraints was not helping him achieve spiritual release.

So he had his rice, drank water and bathed in the river. The five ascetics decided that Siddhartha had given up the ascetic life and would now follow the ways of the flesh, and they promptly left him.

The Buddha Emerges

That night, Siddhartha sat alone under the Bodhi tree, vowing to not get up until the truths he sought came to him, and he meditated until the sun came up the next day. He remained there for several days, purifying his mind, seeing his entire life, and previous lives, in his thoughts.

During this time, he had to overcome the threats of Mara, an evil demon, who challenged his right to become the Buddha. When Mara attempted to claim the enlightened state as his own, Siddhartha touched his hand to the ground and asked the Earth to bear witness to his enlightenment, which it did, banishing Mara.

And soon a picture began to form in his mind of all that occurred in the universe, and Siddhartha finally saw the answer to the questions of suffering that he had been seeking for so many years. In that moment of pure enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha.

Armed with his new knowledge, the Buddha was initially hesitant to teach, because what he now knew could not be communicated to others in words. According to legend, it was then that the king of gods, Brahma, convinced Buddha to teach, and he got up from his spot under the Bodhi tree and set out to do just that.

About 100 miles away, he came across the five ascetics he had practiced with for so long, who had abandoned him on the eve of his enlightenment. Siddhartha encouraged them to follow a path of balance instead of one characterized by either aesthetic extremism or sensuous indulgence. He called this path the Middle Way.

To them and others who had gathered, he preached his first sermon (henceforth known as Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma) , in which he explained the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which became the pillars of Buddhism.

The ascetics then became his first disciples and formed the foundation of the Sangha, or community of monks. Women were admitted to the Sangha, and all barriers of class, race, sex and previous background were ignored, with only the desire to reach enlightenment through the banishment of suffering and spiritual emptiness considered.

For the remainder of his years, Buddha traveled, preaching the Dharma (the name given to his teachings) in an effort to lead others along the path of enlightenment.

Buddha died around the age of 80, possibly of an illness from eating spoiled meat or other food. When he died, it is said that he told his disciples that they should follow no leader, but to "be your own light."

The Buddha is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in world history, and his teachings have affected everything from a variety of other faiths (as many find their origins in the words of the Buddha) to literature to philosophy, both within India and to the farthest reaches of the world.

QUICK FACTS

  • Name: Buddha
  • Birth Year: 563
  • Birth City: Lumbini
  • Birth Country: Nepal
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Buddha was a spiritual teacher in Nepal during the 6th century B.C. Born Siddhartha Gautama, his teachings serve as the foundation of the Buddhist religion.
  • Nacionalities
  • Nepalese (Nepal)
  • Death Year: 483
  • Death Country: India

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CITATION INFORMATION

  • Article Title: Buddha Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • Url: https://www.biography.com/religious-figures/buddha
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: July 13, 2020
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014

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Siddhartha Gautama Biography: The Buddha

Twenty-five thousand years ago one’s man’s spiritual journey was the beginning of one of the world’s seven religions — boasting 376 million followers today. He is simply called “The Buddha,” and he grew up the son of a king…sheltered from the realities of human suffering. When he finally learned the harsh truth, he left his family and set off on a path to understand life itself — first as a monk and then as a teacher.

Let’s take a closer look at “The Buddha”, Siddhartha Gautama on Biographics.

The founder of Buddhism was a man named Siddhartha Gautama. He was the son a chieftain and believed to be born in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) in the 6th century B.C. His father Śuddhodana (translating to, “he who grows pure rice”) presided over a large clan called the Shakya in either a republic or an oligarchy system of rule. His mother was Queen Māyā of Sakya who is said to have died shortly after his birth. The infant was given the name Siddhartha, meaning “he who achieves his aim.” When Siddhartha was still a baby, several seers with the power of supernatural insight into the future, predicted he would either be a great spiritual leader, military leader or a king.

Since Siddhartha’s mother died, he was brought up by his maternal aunt, Maha Pajapati. His father, hoping to steer Siddhartha in the direction of the throne, shielded him from religion of any kind and sheltered him from seeing human hardship and suffering. As such, he was raised in the lap of luxury and blissful ignorance where he knew nothing about aging, disease, or death.

At the age of 16, Siddhartha’s father arranged his marriage to a cousin, Yaśodharā, who was also a teenager. She gave birth to a son, Rāhula, some years later. Siddhartha is said to have remained living in the palace until the age of 29 when everything changed.

Buddha's enlightenment

According to the story, one day Siddhartha travelled outside of the palace gates and he was deeply disturbed by the sight of an old man. His charioteer Channa explained to Siddhartha that all people grow old and that death is an integral part of life. This prompted Siddhartha to secretly venture outside the palace on more trips. When leaving, it was said that, “the horse’s hooves were muffled by the gods” so as to prevent the guards from knowing of his departure. Outside the gates on these trips he encountered a sick man, a decaying corpse, and a homeless, holy man (also known as an ascetic). Channa told Siddhartha ascetics give up their material possessions and forgo physical pleasures for a higher, spiritual purpose.

After witnessing the reality of human hardship and suffering, Siddhartha had no interest in living at the palace. He left his wife and child to discover the true meaning of life, first through living as a traveling beggar, like the ascetics he saw on the streets.

Ascetic life

“The root of suffering is attachment.”

Siddhartha first went to the city of Rajagaha and began begging on the streets to survive. He was recognized there by the king’s men and offered the throne. He rejected it but promised to come back and visit once he attained enlightenment.

When he left Rajagaha, he met a hermit Brahmin saint named Alara Kalama. Kalama taught Siddhartha a form of meditation known as the dhyānic state, or the “sphere of nothingness.” Siddhartha eventually became his teacher’s equal and Kalama offered him his place saying, “You are the same as I am now. There is no difference between us. Stay here and take my place and teach my students with me.” But Siddhartha didn’t stay, and instead he moved on to another teacher, Udaka Ramaputta. Once again, he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness and was asked to succeed his teacher. Siddhartha refused the offer and moved on.

Udaka, Teacher of Buddha Indianetzone

Through the practice of meditation, Siddhartha realized dhyana, a “state of perfect equanimity and awareness” was the path to enlightenment. He also realized that living life as an extremely deprived beggar, as he had done, wasn’t working. It had been six years, and he had eaten very little and fasted until he was weak.

After starving himself for days, Siddhartha famously accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata. He was so emaciated, she thought he was a spirit there to grant her a wish.

Siddhartha, after having this meal, decided against living a life of extreme self-denial since his spiritual goals were not being met. He instead opted to follow a path of balance, known in Buddhism as the Middle Way. At this turning point, his five followers believed he was giving up and abandoned him.

Soon after he started meditating under a fig tree (now called the Bodhi tree) and committed himself to staying there until he had found enlightenment. He meditated for six days and nights and reached enlightenment on the full moon morning of May, a week before he turned thirty-five.

At the time of his enlightenment he gained complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. He called these steps the “Four Noble Truths.”

After his awakening, the Buddha met two merchant brothers from the city of Balkh in modern-day Afghanistan. The brothers, Trapusa and Bahalika, offered the Buddha his first meal after enlightenment and they became his first lay disciplines. According to some texts, each brother gave a hair from his head and these became relics enshrined at the Shwe Dagon Temple in Rangoon, Burma.

The Teacher

“I teach because you and all beings want to have happiness and want to avoid suffering. I teach the way things are.”

Legend has it that initially Buddha was reluctant to spread his knowledge to others as he was doubtful of whether the common people would understand his teachings. But then the king of gods, Brahma, convinced Buddha to teach, and he set out to do that.

The Buddha travelled to Deer Park in northern India, where he set in motion what Buddhists call the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to the five companions who had abandoned him earlier. Together with him, they formed the first Buddhist monks, also known as saṅgha. All five attained nirvana, a state along the path to enlightenment yet not full enlightenment.  They were known as arahants, meaning “one who is worthy,” or “perfected person.” From the first five, the group of arahants steadily grew to 60 within the first few months and eventually, the sangha reached more than one thousand.

The sangha traveled through the subcontinent, expounding the dharma. This continued throughout the year, except during the four months of the Vassa rainy season when ascetics of all religions rarely traveled. One reason was that it was more difficult to do so without causing harm to animal life. At this time of year, the sangha would retreat to monasteries, public parks or forests, where people would come to them.

The first vassana was spent at Varanasi when the sangha was formed. After this, the Buddha kept a promise to travel to Rajagaha, capital of Magadha, to visit King Bimbisara. During this visit, Sariputta and Maudgalyayana were converted by Assaji, one of the first five disciples, after which they were to become the Buddha’s two foremost followers. The Buddha spent the next three seasons at Veluvana Bamboo Grove monastery in Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha.

Upon hearing of his son’s awakening, Suddhodana sent, over a period, ten delegations to ask him to return to Kapilavastu. On the first nine occasions, the delegates failed to deliver the message and instead joined the sangha to become arahants. The tenth delegation, led by Kaludayi, a childhood friend of Gautama’s (who also became an arahant), however, delivered the message.

Now two years after his awakening, the Buddha agreed to return, and made a two-month journey by foot to Kapilavastu, teaching the dharma as he went. At his return, the royal palace prepared a midday meal, but the sangha was making an alms round in Kapilavastu. Hearing this, Suddhodana approached his son, the Buddha, saying: “Ours is the warrior lineage of Mahamassata, and not a single warrior has gone seeking alms.” The Buddha is said to have replied: “That is not the custom of your royal lineage. But it is the custom of my Buddha lineage. Several thousands of Buddhas have gone by seeking alms.”

Buddhist texts say that Suddhodana invited the sangha into the palace for the meal, followed by a dharma talk. After this he is said to have become a sotapanna. During the visit, many members of the royal family joined the sangha. The Buddha’s cousins Ananda and Anuruddha became two of his five chief disciples. At the age of seven, his son Rahula also joined, and became one of his ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda also joined and became an arahant. His wife, reportedly became a nun.

Throughout his life, Buddha encouraged his students to question his teachings and confirm them through their own experience. This non-dogmatic attitude still characterizes Buddhism today.

“You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way.”

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world and t is also one of the oldest, established in the 6th century B.C. in present-day Nepal, India. Unlike other religions, Buddhists do not worship a God. Instead, they focus on spiritual development with the end-goal of becoming “enlightened” — though not in the intellectual sense of the word.

Image result for Buddhism monks

In the Western world, enlightenment is most often associated with the 18th century European Enlightenment Period, a movement characterized by a rational and scientific approach to politics, religion, and social and economic issues. In Buddhism, the simplest explanation of attaining enlightenment is when an individual finds out the truth about life, and experiences “an awakening” where they are freed from the cycle of being reborn. Central to Buddhism is the notion that to live is to suffer, and everything is in a constant state of change. All Buddhists believe, unless one has become enlightened, they will be reincarnated again and again. Enlightenment can be achieved through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. It was these four principles that the Buddha came to understand during his meditation under the bodhi tree. These are: The truth of suffering (Dukkha); the truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya); the truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha); and the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga).

Image result for Four Noble Truths

Suffering comes in many forms. Three obvious kinds of suffering correspond to the first three sights the Buddha saw on his first journey outside his palace: old age, sickness and death. But according to the Buddha, the problem of suffering goes much deeper. Life is not ideal: it frequently fails to live up to our expectations. Human beings are subject to desires and cravings, but even when we are able to satisfy these desires, the satisfaction is only temporary. Pleasure does not last; or if it does, it becomes monotonous.

Even when we are not suffering from outward causes like illness or bereavement, we are unfulfilled, unsatisfied. This is the truth of suffering.

The next noble truth is the origin of suffering. Our day-to-day troubles may seem to have easily identifiable causes: thirst, pain from an injury, sadness from the loss of a loved one. In the second of his Noble Truths, though, the Buddha claimed to have found the cause of all suffering – and it is much more deeply rooted than our immediate worries. The Buddha taught that the root of all suffering is desire, tanhā. This comes in three forms, which he described as the Three Roots of Evil, or the Three Fires, or the Three Poisons.

The three roots of evil are greed and desire, represented in art by a rooster; ignorance or delusion, represented by a pig, and hatred and destructive urges, represented by a snake. He taught more about suffering in his Fire Sermon, saying, a that is burning?

The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

The Third Noble Truth is Cessation of suffering (Nirodha). The Buddha taught that the way to extinguish desire, which causes suffering, is to liberate oneself from attachment. This is the third Noble Truth – the possibility of liberation. The Buddha was a living example that this is possible in a human lifetime. “Estrangement” here means disenchantment: a Buddhist aims to know sense conditions clearly as they are without becoming enchanted or misled by them.

Nirvana means extinguishing. Attaining nirvana – reaching enlightenment – means extinguishing the three fires of greed, delusion and hatred.

Someone who reaches nirvana does not immediately disappear to a heavenly realm. Nirvana is better understood as a state of mind that humans can reach. It is a state of profound spiritual joy, without negative emotions and fears. Someone who has attained enlightenment is filled with compassion for all living things.After death an enlightened person is liberated from the cycle of rebirth, but Buddhism gives no definite answers as to what happens next.

The Buddha discouraged his followers from asking too many questions about nirvana. He wanted them to concentrate on the task at hand, which was freeing themselves from the cycle of suffering. Asking questions is like quibbling with the doctor who is trying to save your life.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga). The final Noble Truth is the Buddha’s prescription for the end of suffering. This is a set of principles called the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle Way: it avoids both indulgence and severe asceticism, neither of which the Buddha had found helpful in his search for enlightenment. The eight stages are not to be taken in order, but rather support and reinforce each other.

Death and Legacy

“I can die happily. I have not kept a single teaching hidden in a closed hand. Everything that is useful for you, I have already given. Be your own guiding light.”

According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon reach Parinirvana, or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body.

After this, the Buddha ate his last meal, which he had received as an offering from a blacksmith named Cunda. Falling violently ill, Buddha instructed his attendant Ānanda to convince Cunda that the meal eaten at his place had nothing to do with his passing and that his meal would be a source of the greatest merit as it provided the last meal for a Buddha. Mettanando and von Hinüber argue that the Buddha died of old age, rather than food poisoning.

Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan-zu)

The Buddha’s teachings began to be codified shortly after his death, and continue to be followed one way or another (and with major discrepancies) by at least 400 million people to this day.

There are numerous different schools or sects of Buddhism. The two largest are Theravada Buddhism, which is most popular in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar), and Mahayana Buddhism, which is strongest in Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia. The majority of Buddhist sects do not seek to proselytise (preach and convert), with the notable exception of Nichiren Buddhism. All schools of Buddhism seek to aid followers on a path of enlightenment. “If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.”

The Buddha’s place in history is one of influence that spans the globe and survives, thousands of years after his death. He is immortalized as a symbol, principal figure in Buddhism, and worshipped as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá’í faith.

Today, Buddhism is the dominant religion in many Asian countries, such as Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Many forms of Buddhism exist, with Zen Buddhism enjoying considerable popularity in the United States. According to one 2012 estimate, approximately 1.2 million Buddhists live in America, with 40% of these adherents living in Southern California.

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The Life of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

A Prince Renounces Pleasure and Founds Buddhism

  • Origins and Developments
  • Figures and Texts
  • Becoming A Buddhist
  • Tibetan and Vajrayana Buddhism
  • B.J., Journalism, University of Missouri

The life of Siddhartha Gautama, the person we call the Buddha, is shrouded in legend and myth. Although most historians believe there was such a person, we know very little about the actual historical person. The "standard" biography, relayed in this article, appears to have evolved over time. It was largely completed by the "Buddhacarita," an epic poem written by Aśvaghoṣa in the second century A.D.

Siddhartha Gautama's Birth and Family

The future Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was born in the fifth or sixth century B.C. in Lumbini (in modern-day Nepal). Siddhartha is a Sanskrit name meaning "one who has accomplished a goal," and Gautama is a family name.

His father, King Suddhodana, was the leader of a large clan called the Shakya (or Sakya). It's not clear from the earliest texts whether he was a hereditary king or more of a tribal chief. It is also possible that he was elected to this status.

Suddhodana married two sisters, Maya and Pajapati Gotami. They are said to have been princesses of another clan, the Koliya, from what is northern India today. Maya was the mother of Siddhartha, and he was her only child. She died shortly after his birth. Pajapati, who later became  the first Buddhist nun , raised Siddhartha as her own.

By all accounts, Prince Siddhartha and his family were of the Kshatriya caste of warriors and nobles. Among Siddhartha's more well-known relatives was his cousin Ananda, the son of his father's brother. Ananda would later become the Buddha's disciple and personal attendant. He would have been considerably younger than Siddhartha, however, and they didn't know each other as children.

The Prophecy and a Young Marriage

When Prince Siddhartha was a few days old, it is said, a holy man prophesied over the prince. By some accounts, nine Brahman holy men made the prophecy. It was foretold that the boy would be either a great ruler or a great spiritual teacher. King Suddhodana preferred the first outcome and prepared his son accordingly.

He raised the boy in great luxury and shielded him from knowledge of religion and human suffering. At the age of 16, he was married to his cousin, Yasodhara, who was also 16. This was no doubt a marriage arranged by the families, as was customary at the time.

Yasodhara was the daughter of a Koliya chief, and her mother was a sister to King Suddhodana. She was also a sister of  Devadatta , who became a disciple of the Buddha and then, by some accounts, a dangerous rival.

The Four Passing Sights

The prince reached the age of 29 with little experience of the world outside the walls of his opulent palaces. He was oblivious to the realities of sickness, old age, and death.

One day, overcome with curiosity, Prince Siddhartha asked a charioteer to take him on a series of rides through the countryside. On these journeys he was shocked by the sight of an aged man, then a sick man, and then a corpse. The stark realities of old age, disease, and death seized and sickened the prince.

Finally, he saw a wandering ascetic. The charioteer explained that the ascetic was one who had renounced the world and sought release from the fear of death and suffering. 

These life-changing encounters would become known in Buddhism as the Four Passing Sights.

Siddhartha's Renunciation

For a time the prince returned to palace life, but he took no pleasure in it. Even the news that his wife Yasodhara had given birth to a son did not please him. The child was called Rahula , which means "fetter."

One night the prince wandered the palace alone. The luxuries that had once pleased him now seemed grotesque. Musicians and dancing girls had fallen asleep and were sprawled about, snoring and sputtering. Prince Siddhartha reflected on the old age, disease, and death that would overtake them all and turn their bodies to dust.

He realized then that he could no longer be content living the life of a prince. That very night he left the palace, shaved his head, and changed from his royal clothes into a beggar's robe. Renouncing all the luxury he had known, he began his quest for enlightenment .

The Search Begins

Siddhartha started by seeking out renowned teachers. They taught him about the many religious philosophies of his day as well as how to meditate. After he had learned all they had to teach, his doubts and questions remained. He and five disciples left to find enlightenment by themselves.

The six companions attempted to find release from suffering through physical discipline: enduring pain, holding their breath, and fasting nearly to starvation. Yet Siddhartha was still unsatisfied.

It occurred to him that in renouncing pleasure he had grasped the opposite of pleasure, which was pain and self-mortification. Now Siddhartha considered a Middle Way between those two extremes.

He remembered an experience from his childhood when his mind had settled into a state of deep peace. He saw that the path of liberation was through the discipline of mind, and he realized that, instead of starvation, he needed nourishment to build up his strength for the effort. When he accepted a bowl of rice milk from a young girl, his companions assumed he had given up the quest, and they abandoned him.

  • The Enlightenment of the Buddha

Siddhartha sat beneath a sacred fig tree ( Ficus religiosa ), known ever after as the Bodhi Tree ( bodhi means "awakened"). It was there that he settled into meditation.

The struggle within Siddhartha's mind came to be mythologized as a great battle with Mara . The demon's name means "destruction" and represents the passions that snare and delude us. Mara brought vast armies of monsters to attack Siddhartha, who sat still and untouched. Mara's most beautiful daughter tried to seduce Siddhartha, but this effort also failed.

Finally, Mara claimed that the seat of enlightenment rightfully belonged to him. Mara's spiritual accomplishments were greater than Siddhartha's, the demon said. Mara's monstrous soldiers cried out together, "I am his witness!" Mara challenged Siddhartha, "Who will speak for you?"

Then Siddhartha reached out his right hand to touch the earth , and the earth itself roared, "I bear you witness!" Mara disappeared. As the morning star rose in the sky, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment and became a buddha, which is defined as "a person who has achieved full enlightenment."

The Buddha as a Teacher

At first, the Buddha was reluctant to teach because what he had realized could not be communicated in words. Only through discipline and clarity of mind would delusions fall away and could one experience the Great Reality. Listeners without that direct experience would be stuck in conceptualizations and would surely misunderstand everything he said. Still, compassion persuaded him to make the attempt to transmit what he had realized.

After his enlightenment, he went to the Deer Park in Isipatana, located in what is now the province of Uttar Pradesh, India. There he found the five companions who had abandoned him and preached his first sermon to them.

This sermon has been preserved as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta and centers on the Four Noble Truths . Instead of teaching doctrines about enlightenment, the Buddha chose to prescribe a path of practice through which people can realize enlightenment for themselves.

The Buddha devoted himself to teaching and attracted hundreds of followers. Eventually, he became reconciled with his father, King Suddhodana. His wife, the devoted Yasodhara, became a nun and disciple. Rahula, his son, became a novice monk at the age of seven and spent the rest of his life with his father.

The Last Words of the Buddha

The Buddha traveled tirelessly through all areas of northern India and Nepal. He taught a diverse group of followers, all of whom were seeking the truth he had to offer.

At the age of 80, the Buddha entered Parinirvana , leaving his physical body behind. In his passing, he abandoned the endless cycle of death and rebirth.

Before his last breath, he spoke final words to his followers:

"Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All compounded things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation."

The Buddha's body was cremated. His remains were placed in stupas —domed structures common in Buddhism—in many places, including China, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

The Buddha Has Inspired Millions

Some 2,500 years later, the Buddha's teachings remain significant for many people throughout the world. Buddhism continues to attract new followers and is one of the fastest-growing religions, though many do not refer to it as a religion  but as a spiritual path or a philosophy. An estimated 350 to 550 million people practice Buddhism today. 

  • Shakyamuni Buddha
  • Rahula: Son of Buddha
  • The Demon Mara
  • The Historical Buddha's Disciples
  • Basic Beliefs and Tenets of Buddhism
  • Early Buddhist History: The First Five Centuries
  • What Do Buddhists Mean by 'Enlightenment'?
  • The 14 Dalai Lamas from 1391 to Present
  • The Vimalakirti Sutra
  • Proselytization and Buddhism
  • The Life of Ananda, Buddha's Disciple and Attendant
  • Buddhist Holidays, 2019–2020
  • Impermanence in Buddhism (Anicca)
  • The Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Maha Pajapati and the First Nuns

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Magazine | Feature

Who Is The Buddha?

The life story of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

Who Is The Buddha?

The Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, was born around 567 B.C.E., in a small kingdom just below the Himalayan foothills. His father was a chief of the Shakya clan. It is said that twelve years before his birth the brahmins prophesied that he would become either a universal monarch or a great sage. To prevent him from becoming an ascetic, his father kept him within the confines of the palace. Gautama grew up in princely luxury, shielded from the outside world, entertained by dancing girls, instructed by brahmins, and trained in archery, swordsmanship, wrestling, swimming, and running. When he came of age he married Gopa, who gave birth to a son. He had, as we might say today, everything.

And yet, it was not enough. Something—something as persistent as his own shadow—drew him into the world beyond the castle walls. There, in the streets of Kapilavastu, he encountered three simple things: a sick man , an old man , and a corpse being carried to the burning grounds. Nothing in his life of ease had prepared him for this experience. When his charioteer told him that all beings are subject to sickness, old age, and death, he could not rest.

As he returned to the palace, he passed a wandering ascetic walking peacefully along the road, wearing the robe and carrying the single bowl of a sadhu. He then resolved to leave the palace in search of the answer to the problem of suffering. After bidding his wife and child a silent farewell without waking them, he rode to the edge of the forest. There, he cut his long hair with his sword and exchanged his fine clothes for the simple robes of an ascetic.

Finding Liberation

With these actions Siddhartha Gautama joined a whole class of men who had dropped out of Indian society to find liberation. There were a variety of methods and teachers , and Gautama investigated many—atheists, materialists, idealists, and dialecticians. The deep forest and the teeming marketplace were alive with the sounds of thousands of arguments and opinions, unlike in our time.

Gautama finally settled down to work with two teachers. From Arada Kalama, who had three hundred disciples, he learned how to discipline his mind to enter the sphere of nothingness. But even though Arada Kalama asked him to remain and teach as an equal, he recognized that this was not liberation, and left. Next Siddhartha learned how to enter the concentration of mind which is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness from Udraka Ramaputra. But neither was this liberation and Siddhartha left his second teacher.

For six years Siddhartha along with five companions practiced austerities and concentration. He drove himself mercilessly, eating only a single grain of rice a day, pitting mind against body. His ribs stuck through his wasted flesh and he seemed more dead than alive.

The Middle Path

His five companions left him after he made the decision to take more substantial food and to abandon asceticism. Then, Siddhartha entered a village in search of food.  There, a woman named Sujata offered him a dish of milk and a separate vessel of honey. His strength returned, Siddhartha washed himself in the Nairanjana River, and then set off to the Bodhi tree. He spread a mat of kusha grass underneath, crossed his legs and sat.

He sat, having listened to all the teachers, studied all the sacred texts and tried all the methods. Now there was nothing to rely on, no one to turn to, nowhere to go. He sat solid and unmoving and determined as a mountain, until finally, after six days, his eye opened on the rising morning star, so it is said, and he realized that what he had been looking for had never been lost, neither to him nor to anyone else. Therefore there was nothing to attain, and no longer any struggle to attain it.

“Wonder of wonders,” he is reported to have said, “this very enlightenment is the nature of all beings, and yet they are unhappy for lack of it.” So it was that Siddhartha Gautama woke up at the age of thirty-five, and became the Buddha, the Awakened One, known as Shakyamuni, the sage of the Shakyas.

For seven weeks he enjoyed the freedom and tranquillity of liberation. At first he had no inclination to speak about his realization. He felt would be too difficult for most people to understand. But when, according to legend, Brahma, chief of the three thousand worlds, requested that the Awakened One teach, since there were those “whose eyes were only a little clouded over,” the Buddha agreed.

The First Noble Truth

Shakyamuni’s two former teachers, Udraka and Arada Kalama, had both died only a few days earlier, and so he sought the five ascetics who had left him. When they saw him approaching the Deer Park in Benares they decided to ignore him, since he had broken his vows. Yet they found something so radiant about his presence that they rose, prepared a seat, bathed his feet and listened as the Buddha turned the wheel of the dharma, the teachings, for the first time.

Related: What are The Four Noble Truths?

The First Noble Truth of the Buddha stated that all life, all existence, is characterized by duhkha.  The Sanskrit word meaning suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness. Even moments of happiness have a way of turning into pain when we hold onto them, or, once they have passed into memory, they twist the present as the mind makes an inevitable, hopeless attempt to recreate the past. The teaching of the Buddha is based on direct insight into the nature of existence. Ir is a radical critique of wishful thinking and the myriad tactics of escapism—whether through political utopianism, psychological therapeutics, simple hedonism, or (and it is this which primarily distinguishes Buddhism from most of the world’s religions) the theistic salvation of mysticism.

Suffering is true

Duhkha is Noble, and it is true. It is a foundation, a stepping stone, to be comprehended fully, not to be escaped from or explained. The experience of duhkha, of the working of one’s mind, leads to the Second Noble Truth, the origin of suffering, traditionally described as craving, thirsting for pleasure, but also and more fundamentally a thirst for continued existence, as well as nonexistence. Examination of the nature of this thirst leads to the heart of the Second Noble Truth, the idea of the “self,” or “I,” with all its desires, hopes, and fears, and it is only when this self is comprehended and seen to be insubstantial that the Third Noble Truth, the cessation of suffering, is realized.

The first sangha

The five ascetics who listened to the Buddha ‘s first discourse in the Deer Park became the nucleus of a community, a sangha , of men (women were to enter later) who followed the way the Buddha had described in his Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path. These bhikshus , or monks, lived simply, owning a bowl, a robe, a needle, a water strainer, and a razor, since they shaved their heads as a sign of having left home. They traveled around northeastern India, practicing meditation alone or in small groups, begging for their meals.

Related: The Noble Eightfold Path

The Buddha’s teaching, however, was not only for the monastic community. Shakyamuni had instructed them to bring it to all: “Go ye, O bhikshus, for the gain of the many, the welfare of the many, in compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, for the welfare of gods and men.”

For the next forty-nine years Shakyamuni walked through the villages and towns of India, speaking in the vernacular, using common figures of speech that everyone could understand. He taught a villager to practice mindfulness while drawing water from a well, and when a distraught mother asked him to heal the dead child she carried in her arms, he did not perform a miracle, but instead instructed her to bring him a mustard seed from a house where no one had ever died. She returned from her search without the seed, but with the knowledge that death is universal.

Death and Impermanence

As the Buddha’s fame spread, kings and other wealthy patrons donated parks and gardens for retreats.  The Buddha accepted these, but he continued to live as he had ever since his twenty-ninth year: as a wandering sadhu, begging his own meal, spending his days in meditation. Only now there was one difference. Almost every day, after his noon meal, the Buddha taught. None of these discourses, or the questions and answers that followed, were recorded during the Buddha’s lifetime.

The Buddha died in the town of Kushinagara, at the age of eighty, having eaten a meal of pork or mushrooms. Some of the assembled monks were despondent, but the Buddha, lying on his side, with his head resting on his right hand, reminded them that everything is impermanent, and advised them to take refuge in themselves and the dharma—the teaching. He asked for questions a last time. There were none. Then he spoke his final words: “Now then, bhikshus, I address you: all compound things are subject to decay; strive diligently.”

The first rainy season after the Buddha’s parinirvana , it is said that five hundred elders gathered at a mountain cave near Rajagriha, where they held the First Council. Ananda, who had been the Buddha’s attendant, repeated all the discourses, or sutras , he had heard, and Upali recited the two hundred fifty monastic rules, the Vinaya , while Mahakashyapa recited the Abhidharma , the compendium of Buddhist psychology and metaphysics.  These three collections, which were written on palm leaves a few centuries later and known as the Tripitaka (literally “three baskets”), became the basis for all subsequent versions of the Buddhist canon.

Adapted from How the Swans Came to the Lake (Shambhala Publications).

write a short biography of gautam buddha

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  • Gautama Buddha

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Gautama Buddha , also known as Shakyamuni Buddha , or simply the Buddha , was an Indian sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in northeastern India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE. [1]

When referring to the period before he became enlightened, the Buddha is known as Siddhārtha Gautama ( Sanskrit ) or Siddhattha Gotama ( Pali ). Siddhartha , his given name, means "one who achieves his goals"; Gautama is his family name.

Gautama Buddha is believed by Buddhists to have been a fully awakened being who taught the true path to the cessation of suffering ( dukkha ) and the attainment of liberation ( nirvana ). Accounts of his life, discourses and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years after his death.

  • 1.1 Influences
  • 1.2 Birth and death
  • 1.3 Shakya clan
  • 1.4 Birthplace
  • 1.5 Travels and teaching
  • 1.6 Written records
  • 2.2 Life in the palace
  • 2.3 The four sights
  • 2.4 Renunciation
  • 2.5 Spiritual quest
  • 2.6 Enlightenment
  • 2.7 First teaching
  • 2.8 The first sangha
  • 2.9 Return to Kapilavastu to teach his family
  • 2.10 Mahaparinirvana
  • 3 Traditional biographical sources
  • 4 Meaning of "Buddha"
  • 6 Physical characteristics
  • 8 References
  • 9.1 Printed sources
  • 9.2 Online souces
  • 10.1 The Buddha
  • 10.2 Early Buddhism
  • 10.3 Buddhism general
  • 11 External links

Historical Siddhārtha Gautama

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most accept that he lived, taught and founded a monastic order, but do not accept many of the details contained in traditional biographies. [2] [3]

According to author Michael Carrithers, while there are good reasons to doubt the traditional account, "the outline of the life must be true: birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death." [4] In her biography of the Buddha, Karen Armstrong writes,

The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha was born in a community that was on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the northeastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. [6]

The Buddha was born into the Shakya clan, which historians believe to have been organized into either an oligarchy or a republic. Historians suggest that Siddhartha's father was likely an important figure in the republic or oligarchy, rather than a "king" as described in the traditional biographies. [6]

Most scholars accept that he lived, taught and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era in India during the reign of Bimbisara , the ruler of the Magadha empire, and died during the early years of the reign of Ajatshatru who was the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira , the Jain teacher. [7] [8]

Apart from the Vedic Brahmins , the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of other influential sramana schools of thoughts like Ājīvika , Cārvāka , Jain , and Ajñana. It was also the age of influential thinkers like Mahāvīra , Pūraṇa Kassapa , Makkhali Gosāla , Ajita Kesakambalī , Pakudha Kaccāyana , and Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta , whose viewpoints the Buddha most certainly must have been acquainted with and influenced by. [9] [10] [note 1] Indeed, Sariputta and Maudgalyāyana , two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were formerly the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the skeptic. [11] There is also evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta , were indeed historical figures and they most probably taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. [12]

Birth and death

write a short biography of gautam buddha

The times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE. [13] [14] More recently his death is dated later, between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, [15] [16] [17] the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death. [13] [18] [note 3] These alternative chronologies, however, have not yet been accepted by all historians. [24] [25] [note 5]

According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini , nowadays in modern-day Nepal , and raised in Kapilavastu (Shakya capital), which may either be in present day Tilaurakot , Nepal or Piprahwa , India. [note 2]

Shakya clan

The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community that was on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the northeastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. [6] According to Gombrich, they seem to have had no cast system, but did have servants.

Gombrich states, "Some historians call [Shakya] an oligarchy, some a  republic;  certainly  it  was  not  a  brahminical  monarchy,  and  makes more than dubious the later story that the future Buddha’s father was the local king." [33] In this view, Siddhartha's father was more likely an important figure in the republic or oligarchy, rather than a traditional monarch.

Historians believe that the Shakyas were self governing and heads of housholds met in council to discuss problems and reach unanimous decisions. According to Gombrich, this gave the Buddha a model of a castless society; in the Sangha he instituted rank based on seniority counted from ordination. [6]

The Buddhist tradition regards Lumbini , present-day Nepal, to be the birthplace of the Buddha. [34] [note 2] According to tradition, he grew up in Kapilavastu . [note 2] The exact site of ancient Kapilavastu is unknown. It may have been either Piprahwa , Uttar Pradesh , present-day India, [31] or Tilaurakot , present-day Nepal. [35] Both places belonged to the Sakya territory, and are located only 15 miles apart from each other. [35]

Siddharta Gautama was born as a Kshatriya , [36] [note 7] the son of Śuddhodana , "an elected chief of the Shakya clan ", [1] whose capital was Kapilavastu, and who were later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala during the Buddha's lifetime. Gautama was the family name . His mother, Queen Maha Maya (Māyādevī) was a Koliyan princess.

Travels and teaching

The Buddha spent about 45 years of his life teaching the dharma. He is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain , in what is now Uttar Pradesh , Bihar and southern Nepal , teaching a diverse range of people: from nobles to servants, murderers such as Angulimala , and cannibals such as Alavaka. [38] Although the Buddha's language remains unknown, it's likely that he taught in one or more of a variety of closely related Middle Indo-Aryan dialects, of which Pali may be a standardization.

The sangha, the Buddha's disciples, would travel throughout the subcontinent, expounding the dharma.

Written records

No written records about Gautama have been found from his lifetime or some centuries thereafter. One edict of Emperor Ashoka , who reigned from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE, commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to the Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini . Another one of his edict mentions several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Mauryan era and which may be the precursors of the Pāli Canon . [39] [note 8] The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts , reported to have been found in or around Haḍḍa near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan and now preserved in the British Library . They are written in the Kharoṣṭhī script and the Gāndhārī language on twenty-seven birch bark scrolls , and they date from the first century BCE to the third century CE. [web 8]

Traditional life story

There are multiple accounts of the life of the Buddha within Buddhist literature. These accounts generally agree on the broad outlines of his life story, though there are differences in detail and interpretation. [40]

Alexander Berzin states:

The account below follows the broad outline of Buddha's life, according to traditional sources.

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Gautama Buddha's parents were King Śuddhodana and Queen Maya , who were the rulers of the Shakya kingdom of Northern India. His given name was Siddhartha.

The King and Queen lived in the Shakya capital of Kapilavastu . Following the traditional custom of the time, when Queen Maya knew the time of her son's birth was drawing near, she began to travel to her father's home in Kapilavastu , in order to give birth to the child there. However, the queen was unable to reach her destination before giving birth, and her son was born in a garden beneath a sal tree in the region of Lumbini (in present-day Nepal).

Siddhartha's mother, Queen Maya died soon after giving birth. Siddhartha would be raised by his father, King Śuddhodana, and his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati .

Life in the palace

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Siddhartha's father, King Śuddhodana , gave him the name Siddhartha , meaning "one who achieves his goals".

Soon after the birth of Siddhartha, Śuddhodana invited a group of eight brahmin sages to his court to examine the child and predict his future. The sages prophesied that Siddhartha would either become a great king and military conqueror ( chakravartin ) or an enlightened spiritual guide ( buddha ).

Śuddhodana was eager for his son to become a great king and conqueror. But he was concerned that Siddhartha might choose the spiritual path and renounce his worldly inheritance.

Thus, as a young man, Siddhartha wore robes of the finest silk, ate the best food and was surrounded by beautiful dancing girls. He was extremely handsome and he excelled at his studies and at every type of sporting contest. His father arranged for him to marry a young woman of exceptional grace and beauty, Yasodhara . Siddhartha and Yasodhara lived together in peace and harmony for many years, and they had a son together.

Yet despite all of this, Siddhartha still had not yet been outside the palace walls. His curiosity grew stronger and stronger and he pleaded with his father to allow him to venture beyond the palace gates. Finally, when Siddhartha reached the age of 29, his father relented and allowed him to visit the world outside the palace gates.

The four sights

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Siddhartha ventured beyond the gates with his faithful charioteer Channa and they had a series of encounters known as the four sights . In these encounters, Siddhartha and Channa first encountered an old man, then a sick man, and then a corpse. From these three encounters Siddhartha began to understand the nature of suffering in the world. Finally, they met an ascetic holy man ( śramaṇa ), who appeared to be content and at peace with the world.

These encounters had a profound impact on Siddhartha. Through the first three sights, Siddhartha came to understand that despite the luxury of his surroundings, and despite the immense wealth and power of his family, both he himself and everyone he loved would eventually have to face the sufferings of old age, sickness and death. And he was powerless to stop this. Siddhartha was also inspired by the holy man who was seeking a path beyond suffering, and Siddhartha resolved that he too would seek that path in order that he could lead his family beyond suffering.

Renunciation

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Siddhartha made the decision to renounce his worldly life and follow the path of an ascetic spiritual seeker. According to one account, late one night, after the rest of the household had gone to sleep, Siddhartha ordered Channa the charioteer to prepare his horse, and together they slipped unnoticed outside the palace gates. They rode to the edge of a nearby forest, and once there, Siddhartha informed Channa that he was renouncing his worldly life to become a seeker of truth. As a sign of his renunciation, Siddhartha cut off his long, beautiful hair and discarded his royal robes. Siddhartha instructed Channa to return to the palace and inform his father of his decision, and then he walked off into the forest.

Spiritual quest

write a short biography of gautam buddha

After renouncing his worldly life, Siddhartha sought out the great spiritual teachers of his day. He studied with several teachers, and in each case, he mastered the meditative techniques which they taught. But he found that the meditation techniques that he learned from these teachers did not provide a permanent end to suffering, so he continued his quest. He next joined a group of five other ascetics ( śramaṇa ), led by a holy man named Kondañña . For the next several years, Siddhartha practiced extreme austerities along with his five companions. These austerities included prolonged fasting, breath-holding, and exposure to pain. He almost starved himself to death in the process.

Eventually Siddhartha realized that he had taken this kind of practice to its limit, and had not put an end to suffering. In a pivotal moment, as he was near death, Siddhartha accepted milk and rice from a village girl and began to regain his strength. He then devoted himself to meditation, taking in the nourishment that he needed, but not more than that. He would later describe his new approach as the Middle Way : a path of moderation between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-denial.

Enlightenment

write a short biography of gautam buddha

At the age of 35, Siddhartha sat in meditation under a fig tree — now known as the Bodhi tree — and he vowed not to rise before achieving enlightenment ( bodhi ). After many days, he finally destroyed the fetters of his mind, thereby liberating himself from the cycle of suffering and rebirth ( saṃsāra ), and arose as a fully enlightened being ( samyaksambuddha ).

According to some accounts, after his awakening, the Buddha debated with himself whether or not he should teach the Dharma to others. [note 9] He was concerned that humans were so overpowered by ignorance ( avidya ), greed ( raga ) and hatred ( dvesha ) that they would not understand his dharma, which is subtle, deep and difficult to grasp. However, while he was contemplating this, he was approached by a being from the heavenly realms ( Brahma Sahampati ), who urged the Buddha to teach, arguing that at least some people will understand the dharma. The Buddha relented, and agreed to teach.

First teaching

write a short biography of gautam buddha

After a period of deep reflection, the Buddha sought out his five former companions (with whom he had practiced austerities). He found them in a deer park in Sarnath , northern India.

There he gave his first teaching to his former companions, in which he explained his middle way approach and the four noble truths . Traditionally, it is said the Buddha "set in motion the Wheel of Dharma " when he gave this first teaching; this teaching is recorded in The Discourse That Sets Turning the Wheel of Truth ( Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta ).

The Buddha spent the rest of his life traveling throughout northeastern India and teaching the path of awakening he had discovered.

The first sangha

The Buddha along with his first five followers are said to have formed the first saṅgha : the company of Buddhist monks. As the Buddha traveled and continued teaching, he attracted many more followers, many of whom became monks and nuns, and many who became lay followers.

Return to Kapilavastu to teach his family

Upon hearing of Siddhartha's awakening, his father King Śuddhodana sent many requests to ask the Buddha to return to Kapilavastu. Two years after his awakening, the Buddha agreed to return to Kapilavastu, and made a two-month journey by foot, teaching the dharma as he went. When he reached his father's home in Kapilavastu, he taught the dharma to his father and his extended family. During the visit, many members of the royal family joined the sangha . The Buddha's cousins Ananda and Anuruddha became two of his five chief disciples. At the age of seven, his son Rahula also joined, and became one of his ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda also joined and became an arhat.

Of the Buddha's disciples, Sariputta, Maudgalyayana , Mahakasyapa , Ananda and Anuruddha are believed to have been the five closest to him.

Mahaparinirvana

write a short biography of gautam buddha

At the age of 80, the Buddha fell ill in the town of Kushinagar in northern India. At this time, he said to his attendant Ananda :

When Ananda become despondent, the Buddha said to him:

The Buddha then passed away. He death is considered to be a parinirvana , a complete release from the cycle of existence ( samsara ).

The Buddha's body was cremated and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present.

Traditional biographical sources

There are multiple accounts of the life of the Buddha within Buddhist literature. These accounts generally agree on the broad outlines of his life story, though there are differences in detail and interpretation. [40] The sources for these accounts include:

  • Buddhacarita ,
  • Lalitavistara Sūtra ,
  • Mahāvastu , and
  • Nidānakathā . [44]

Of these, the Buddhacarita [45] [46] [47] is considered to be the earliest full biography. This text is an epic poem written by the poet Aśvaghoṣa , and dating around the beginning of the 2nd century CE. [44]

The Lalitavistara Sūtra is thought to be the next oldest biography, a Mahāyāna / Sarvāstivāda biography dating to the 3rd century CE. [48]

The Mahāvastu from the Mahāsāṃghika Lokottaravāda tradition is another major biography, composed incrementally until perhaps the 4th century CE. [48]

The Dharmaguptaka biography of the Buddha is the most exhaustive, and is entitled the Abhiniṣkramaṇa Sūtra , [49] and various Chinese translations of this date between the 3rd and 6th century CE.

Lastly, the Nidānakathā is from the Theravāda tradition in Sri Lanka and was composed in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghoṣa . [50]

Additional sources from the Pali Canon include the Jātakas , the Mahapadana Sutta (DN 14), and the Achariyabhuta Sutta (MN 123) which include selective accounts that may be older, but are not full biographies. The Jātakas retell previous lives of Gautama as a bodhisattva , and the first collection of these can be dated among the earliest Buddhist texts. [51] The Mahāpadāna Sutta and Achariyabhuta Sutta both recount miraculous events surrounding Gautama's birth, such as the bodhisattva's descent from Tuṣita Heaven into his mother's womb.

Meaning of "Buddha"

The word Buddha means "awakened one" or "the enlightened one". "Buddha" is also used as a title for the first awakened being in an era . In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha ( Pali sammāsambuddha , Sanskrit samyaksaṃbuddha ) of our age. [note 10]

After his death, Buddha's cremation relics were divided amongst 8 royal families and his disciples; centuries later they would be enshrined by King Ashoka into 84,000 stupas. [web 9] [52] [53]

Physical characteristics

Traditionally, the Buddha's physical body is said to possess:

  • Mahapurusalaksana - thirty-two major marks of a great man
  • Minor marks of a great person - eighty minor marks

Within Buddhist cosmology , these physical marks are shared by both buddhas and chakravartins . However the marks are more clear and distinct on the body of a buddha. The Buddha also has a few marks that are not found on the chakravartin, such as the protuberance on the crown of the Buddha's head. [54]

  • ↑ According to Alexander Berzin, "Buddhism developed as a shramana school that accepted rebirth under the force of karma, while rejecting the existence of the type of soul that other schools asserted. In addition, the Buddha accepted as parts of the path to liberation the use of logic and reasoning, as well as ethical behavior, but not to the degree of Jain asceticism. In this way, Buddhism avoided the extremes of the previous four shramana schools." [web 1]
  • Warder: "The Buddha [...] was born in the Sakya Republic, which was the city state of Kapilavastu, a very small state just inside the modern state boundary of Nepal against the Northern Indian frontier. [1]
  • Walsh: "He belonged to the Sakya clan dwelling on the edge of the Himalayas, his actual birthplace being a few miles north of the present-day Northern Indian border, in Nepal. His father was in fact an elected chief of the clan rather than the king he was later made out to be, though his title was raja – a term which only partly corresponds to our word 'king'. Some of the states of North India at that time were kingdoms and others republics, and the Sakyan republic was subject to the powerful king of neighbouring Kosala, which lay to the south". [30] The exact location of ancient Kapilavastu is unknown. [28] It may have been either Piprahwa in Uttar Pradesh , northern India, [31] [28] or Tilaurakot , present-day Nepal . [32] [28] The two cities are located only fifteen miles from each other. [32]
  • 411–400: Dundas 2002 , p. 24: "...as is now almost universally accepted by informed Indological scholarship, a re-examination of early Buddhist historical material, [...], necessitates a redating of the Buddha's death to between 411 and 400 BCE..."
  • 405: Richard Gombrich [19] [20] [21] [22]
  • Around 400: See the consensus in the essays by leading scholars in Narain, Awadh Kishore , ed. (2003), The Date of the Historical Śākyamuni Buddha , New Delhi: BR Publishing, ISBN   81-7646-353-1   .
  • According to Pali scholar K. R. Norman , a life span for the Buddha of c. 480 to 400 BCE (and his teaching period roughly from c. 445 to 400 BCE) "fits the archaeological evidence better". [23] See also Notes on the Dates of the Buddha Íåkyamuni .
  • ↑ See "Ambattha Sutta", Digha Nikaya 3, were Vajrapani frightens an arrogant young Brahman, and the superiority of Kashatriyas over Brahmins is established. [web 4]
  • ↑ In 2013, archaeologist Robert Coningham found the remains of a Bodhigara , a tree shrine, dated to 550 BCE at the Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini , speculating that it may possible be a Buddhist shrine. If so, this may push back the Buddha's birth date. [web 2] Archaeologists caution that the shrine may represent pre-Buddhist tree worship, and that further research is needed. [web 2] Richard Gombrich has dismissed Coningham's specualtions as "a fantasy", noting that Coningham lacks the necessary expertise on the history of early Buddhism. [web 3] Geoffrey Samuels notes that several locations of both early Buddhism and Jainism are closely related to Yaksha -worship, that several Yakshas were "converted" to Buddhism, a well-known example being Vajrapani , [note 4] and that several Yaksha-shrines, where trees were worshipped, were converted into Buddhist holy places. [26]
  • ↑ Some sources mention Kapilavastu as the birthplace of the Buddha. Gethin states: "The earliest Buddhist sources state that the future Buddha was born Siddhārtha Gautama (Pali Siddhattha Gotama), the son of a local chieftain — a rājan — in Kapilavastu (Pali Kapilavatthu) what is now the Indian–Nepalese border." [29] Gethin does not give references for this statement.
  • ↑ According to Geoffrey Samuel, the Buddha was born as a Kshatriya, [36] in a moderate Vedic culture at the central Ganges Plain area, where the shramana-traditions developed. This area had a moderate Vedic culture, where the kshatriyas were the highest varna , in contrast to the Brahmanic ideology of Kuru - Panchala , were the Brahmins had become the highest varna. [36] Both the Vedic culture and the shramana tradition contributed to the emergence of the so-called "Hindu-synthesis" around the start of the Common Era. [37] [36]
  • ↑ Minor Rock Edict Nb3: "These Dhamma texts – Extracts from the Discipline, the Noble Way of Life, the Fears to Come, the Poem on the Silent Sage, the Discourse on the Pure Life, Upatisa's Questions, and the Advice to Rahula which was spoken by the Buddha concerning false speech – these Dhamma texts, reverend sirs, I desire that all the monks and nuns may constantly listen to and remember. Likewise the laymen and laywomen." [39] Dhammika:"There is disagreement amongst scholars concerning which Pali suttas correspond to some of the text. Vinaya samukose: probably the Atthavasa Vagga, Anguttara Nikaya, 1:98-100. Aliya vasani: either the Ariyavasa Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya, V:29, or the Ariyavamsa Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya, II: 27-28. Anagata bhayani: probably the Anagata Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya, III:100. Muni gatha: Muni Sutta, Sutta Nipata 207-221. Upatisa pasine: Sariputta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 955-975. Laghulavade: Rahulavada Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya, I:421." [39]
  • ↑ E.g. the  Āyācana Sutta  (Samyutta Nikaya VI.1)
  • ↑ Hypothetical root budh "perceive" 1. Pali buddha – "understood, enlightened", masculine "the Buddha "; Aśokan (the language of the Inscriptions of Aśoka ) Budhe nominative singular ; Prakrit buddha – ‘ known, awakened ’; Waigalī būdāī , "truth"; Bashkarīk budh "he heard"; Tōrwālī būdo preterite of bū , "to see, know" from bṓdhati ; Phalūṛa búddo preterite of buǰǰ , "to understand" from búdhyatē ; Shina Gilgitī dialect budo , "awake"; Gurēsī dialect budyōnṷ intransitive "to wake"; Kashmiri bọ̆du , "quick of understanding (especially of a child)"; Sindhī ḇudho , past participle ( passive ) of ḇujhaṇu , "to understand" from búdhyatē , West Pahāṛī buddhā , preterite of bujṇā , "to know"; Sinhalese buj ( j written for d ), budu , bud , but , "the Buddha". Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley . "buddha 9276; 1962–1985" . A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages . Digital Dictionaries of South Asia, University of Chicago. London: Oxford University Press. p. 525 . Retrieved 22 February 2010 .  
  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Warder 2000 , p. 45.
  • ↑ Buswell 2003 , p. 352.
  • ↑ Lopez 1995 , p. 6.
  • ↑ Carrithers 1986 , p. 10.
  • ↑ Armstrong 2004 , p. xii.
  • ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Gombrich 1988 , p. 49.
  • ↑ Smith 1924 , pp. 34, 48.
  • ↑ Schumann 2003 , pp. 1–5.
  • ↑ Walshe 1995 , p. 268.
  • ↑ Collins 2009 , pp. 199–200.
  • ↑ Nakamura 1980 , p. 20.
  • ↑ Wynne 2007 , pp. 8–23, ch. 2.
  • ↑ 13.0 13.1 Cousins 1996 , pp. 57–63.
  • ↑ Schumann 2003 , pp. 10–13.
  • ↑ Bechert & 1991-1997 .
  • ↑ Ruegg 1999 , pp. 82-87.
  • ↑ Narain 1993 , pp. 187-201.
  • ↑ Prebish 2008 , p. 2.
  • ↑ Gombrich 1992 .
  • ↑ Uni. Heidelberg   .
  • ↑ Hartmann 1991 .
  • ↑ Gombrich 2000 .
  • ↑ Norman 1997 , p. 33.
  • ↑ Schumann 2003 , p. xv.
  • ↑ Wayman 1993 , pp. 37–58.
  • ↑ Samuels 2010 , pp. 140–52.
  • ↑ Gethin 1998 , p. 19.
  • ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Keown & Prebish 2013 , p. 436.
  • ↑ Gethin 1998 , p. 14.
  • ↑ Walsh 1995 , p. 20.
  • ↑ 31.0 31.1 Nakamura 1980 , p. 18.
  • ↑ 32.0 32.1 Huntington 1986 .
  • ↑ Gombrich 2002 , p. 49.
  • ↑ Weise 2013 .
  • ↑ 35.0 35.1 Huntington 1988 .
  • ↑ 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 Samuel 2010 .
  • ↑ Hiltebeitel 2002 .
  • ↑ Malalasekera 1960 , pp. 291-292.
  • ↑ 39.0 39.1 39.2 Dhammika 1993 .
  • ↑ 40.0 40.1 Corless 1989 , p. 4.

StudyBuddhism icon 35px.png

  • ↑ Anderson 2013 , Kindle Locations 364-367.
  • ↑ 43.0 43.1 Gethin 1998 , s.v. Chapter 1, section "Legend of the Buddha".
  • ↑ 44.0 44.1 Fowler 2005 , p. 32.
  • ↑ Beal 1883 .
  • ↑ Cowell 1894 .
  • ↑ Willemen 2009 .
  • ↑ 48.0 48.1 Karetzky 2000 , p. xxi.
  • ↑ Beal 1875 .
  • ↑ Swearer 2004 , p. 177.
  • ↑ Schober 2002 , p. 20.
  • ↑ Strong 2007 , pp. 136–37.
  • ↑ Relics associated with Buddha (Wikipedia)
  • ↑ Mipham Rinpoche 2002 , s.v. paragraphs 21.149-150.

Printed sources

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  • Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions of Meditation In Ancient India , Motilal Banarsidass  
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  • Carrithers, M. (2001), The Buddha: A Very Short Introduction , Oxford University Press, ISBN   0-02-865910-4  
  • Collins, Randall (2009), The Sociology of Philosophies , Harvard University Press, ISBN   978-0-67402977-4   , 1120 pp.
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  • Gombrich, Richard F (1988), Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo , Routledge and Kegan Paul  
  • ——— (1992), "Dating the Buddha: a red herring revealed", in Bechert, Heinz, Die Datierung des historischen Buddha , Symposien zur Buddhismusforschung (in Deutsch), IV (2), Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, pp. 237–59   .
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  • Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), "Hinduism", in Kitagawa, Joseph, The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture , Routledge  
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  • ——— (1952), The Mahāvastu , Sacred Books of the Buddhists, 2 , London: Luzac & Co.  
  • ——— (1956), The Mahāvastu , Sacred Books of the Buddhists, 3 , London: Luzac & Co.  
  • Jong, JW de (1993), "The Beginnings of Buddhism", The Eastern Buddhist , 26 (2)  
  • Kala, U (2006) [1724], Maha Yazawin Gyi (in Burmese), 1 (4th ed.), Yangon: Ya-Pyei, p. 39   CS1 maint: Unrecognized language ( link )
  • Karetzky, Patricia (2000), Early Buddhist Narrative Art , Lanham, MD: University Press of America  
  • Katz, Nathan (1982), Buddhist Images of Human Perfection: The Arahant of the Sutta Piṭaka , Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass  
  • Keown, Damien; Prebish, Charles S (2013), Encyclopedia of Buddhism , Routledge  
  • Laumakis, Stephen (2008), An Introduction to Buddhist philosophy , Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, ISBN   978-0-52185413-9  
  • Lopez, Donald S (1995), Buddhism in Practice (PDF) , Princeton University Press, ISBN   0-691-04442-2  
  • Malalasekera, G.P. (1960), Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, Vol. 1 , London: Pali Text Society/Luzac  
  • Nakamura, Hajime (1980), Indian Buddhism: a survey with bibliographical notes , Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN   978-81-208-0272-8  
  • Narada (1992), A Manual of Buddhism , Buddha Educational Foundation, ISBN   967-9920-58-5  
  • Narain, A.K. (1993). "Book Review: Heinz Bechert (ed.), The dating of the Historical Buddha, part I" . Journal of The International Association of Buddhist Studies . 16 (1): 187–201.  
  • Norman, KR (1997), A Philological Approach to Buddhism (PDF) , The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Lectures 1994, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)  
  • Prebish, Charles S. (2008), "Cooking the Buddhist Books: The Implications of the New Dating of the Buddha for the History of Early Indian Buddhism" (PDF) , Journal of Buddhist Ethics , 15 : 1–21, archived from the original (PDF) on Jan 28, 2012  
  • Rockhill, William Woodville, transl. (1884), The life of the Buddha and the early history of his order, derived from Tibetan works in the Bkah-Hgyur and Bstan-Hgyur, followed by notices on the early history of Tibet and Khoten , London: Trübner  
  • Ruegg, Seyford (1999). "A new publication on the date and historiography of Buddha´s decease (nirvana): a review article". Bulletin of the Schoool of Oriental and Afrikan Studies, University of London . 62 (1): 82–87.  
  • Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century , Cambridge University Press  
  • Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), "On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism", in von Klaus, Bruhn; Wezler, Albrecht, Studies on Jainism and Buddhism (Schriftfest for Ludwig Alsdorf) (in Deutsch), Wiesbaden, pp. 199–250  
  • Schober, Juliane (2002), Sacred biography in the Buddhist traditions of South and Southeast Asia , Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass  
  • Schumann, Hans Wolfgang (2003), The Historical Buddha: The Times, Life, and Teachings of the Founder of Buddhism , Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN   812081817-2  
  • Shimoda, Masahiro (2002), "How has the Lotus Sutra Created Social Movements: The Relationship of the Lotus Sutra to the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra", in Reeves, Gene, A Buddhist Kaleidoscope , Kosei  
  • Skilton, Andrew (2004), A Concise History of Buddhism  
  • Smith, Peter (2000), "Manifestations of God", A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith , Oxford: Oneworld Publications, ISBN   1-85168-184-1   , 231 pp.
  • Smith, Vincent (1924), The Early History of India (4th ed.), Oxford: Clarendon  
  • Strong, John S (2007), Relics of the Buddha , Motilal Banarsidass  
  • Swearer, Donald (2004), Becoming the Buddha , Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press  
  • Thapar, Romila (2002), The Penguin History of Early India: From Origins to AD 1300 , Penguin  
  • Turpie, D (2001), Wesak And The Re-Creation of Buddhist Tradition (PDF) (master's thesis), Montreal, QC : McGill University, archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-04-15  
  • Twitchett, Denis, ed. (1986), The Cambridge History of China , 1. The Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 BC – AD 220, Cambridge University Press, ISBN   0-521-24327-0  
  • Upadhyaya, KN (1971), Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita , Dehli, IN : Motilal Banarsidass, p. 95, ISBN   978-812080880-5  
  • Vetter, Tilmann (1988), The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism , Brill  
  • Waley, Arthur (Jul 1932), "Did Buddha die of eating pork?: with a note on Buddha's image" , Melanges Chinois et bouddhiques , NTU, 1931– 32 : 343–54, archived from the original on Jun 3, 2011  
  • Walshe, Maurice (1995), The Long Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Digha Nikaya , Boston: Wisdom Publications  
  • Warder, AK (2000), Indian Buddhism , Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass  
  • Wayman, Alex (1997), Untying the Knots in Buddhism: Selected Essays , Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN   812081321-9  
  • Weise, Kai; et al. (2013), The Sacred Garden of Lumbini – Perceptions of Buddha's Birthplace (PDF) , Paris: UNESCO, archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-30   CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. ( link )
  • Willemen, Charles (2009), Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha's Acts (translation), Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, ISBN   978-1886439-42-9  
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Online souces

  • ↑ Berzin, Alexander (April 2007). "Indian Society and Thought before and at the Time of Buddha" . Berzin archives . Retrieved 22 December 2014 .  
  • ↑ 2.0 2.1 Vergano, Dan (25 November 2013). "Oldest Buddhist Shrine Uncovered In Nepal May Push Back the Buddha's Birth Date" . National Geographic . Retrieved 26 November 2013 .  
  • ↑ Gombrich, Richard (2013), Recent discovery of "earliest Buddhist shrine" a sham? , Tricycle   .
  • ↑ Tan, Piya (2009-12-21), Ambaṭṭha Sutta. Theme: Religious arrogance versus spiritual openness ( PDF ) , Dharma farer   .
  • ↑ Davids, Rhys, ed. (1878), Buddhist birth-stories; Jataka tales. The commentary introd. entitled Nidanakatha; the story of the lineage. Translated from V. Fausböll's ed. of the Pali text by TW Rhys Davids (new & rev. ed.)   .
  • ↑ "Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha" . UNESCO . Retrieved 26 May 2011 .  
  • ↑ "The Astamahapratiharya: Buddhist pilgrimage sites" . Victoria and Albert Museum . Retrieved 25 December 2012 .  
  • ↑ "Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara" . UW Press . Retrieved 4 September 2008 .  
  • ↑ Lopez Jr., Donald S. "The Buddha's relics" . Encyclopædia Britannica .  

Further reading

  • Thich Nhat Hanh (1991), Old Path White Clouds , Parallax Press  
  • Ñāṇamoli, Bhikku (1992). The Life of the Buddha According to the Pali Canon (3rd ed.). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society.  
  • Wagle, Narendra K (1995). Society at the Time of the Buddha (2nd ed.). Popular Prakashan. ISBN   978-817154553-7 .  

Early Buddhism

  • Rahula, Walpola (1974). What the Buddha Taught (2nd ed.). New York: Grove Press.  

Buddhism general

  • Kalupahana, David J. (1994), A history of Buddhist philosophy , Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass  
  • Robinson, Richard H.; Johnson, Willard L; Wawrytko, Sandra A; DeGraff, Geoffrey (1996). The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.  

External links

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Unesco social media, lumbini, the birthplace of the lord buddha.

  • Description

Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Lumbini, lieu de naissance du Bouddha

Siddharta Gautama, le Bouddha, est né en 623 av. J.-C. dans les célèbres jardins de Lumbini et son lieu de naissance est devenu un lieu de pèlerinage. Parmi les pèlerins se trouvait l'empereur indien Asoka qui a fait édifier à cet endroit l'un de ses piliers commémoratifs. Le site est maintenant un foyer de pèlerinage centré sur les vestiges associés au début du bouddhisme et à la naissance du Bouddha.

لومبيني، مكان ولادة بوذا

ولد سيدهرتا غوتاما أي بوذا في العام 623 ق.م. في حدائق لومبيني الشهيرة التي أصبحت مكانًا للحج. وكان من بين الحجاج الامبراطور الهندي اسوكا الذي شيد في هذا المكان إحدى دعائمه التذكارية. ويُعتبر هذا الموقع اليوم مركزًا للحج يتضمَّن بشكلٍ أساسي الآثار المرتبطة ببداية البوذية و بولادة بوذا.

source: UNESCO/CPE Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

释迦牟尼佛祖于公元前623年诞生于兰毗尼一座著名的花园,后来该处就成为朝圣之地。印度的阿育王也是朝拜者之一,并在此建立了一个他的纪念碑。这里现在已逐渐成为佛教徒的朝圣中心,以考古遗迹和佛祖诞生地为主要特色。

Lumbini, lugar de nacimiento de Buda

Sidharta Gautama, Buda, nació el año 623 a.C. en los famosos jardines de Lumbini, que pronto se convertirían en un lugar de peregrinación. Un ilustre peregrino, el emperador indio Asoka, ordenó erigir en ellos uno de sus pilares conmemorativos. Hoy en día, este sitio sigue siendo un centro de peregrinación, en el que los vestigios arqueológicos vinculados al nacimiento de Buda y los comienzos del budismo constituyen uno de sus principales centros de interés.

source: NFUAJ

Lumbini, geboorteplaats van de Boeddha

Siddhartha Gautama, de Boeddha, werd geboren in 623 voor Christus in de beroemde tuinen van Lumbini, gelegen in de zuidwestelijke Terai van Nepal. Lumbini werd al snel een bedevaartsoord. In 249 voor Christus maakte de vrome boeddhistische keizer Ashoka een pelgrimstocht naar deze stad en richtte er een van zijn herdenkingszuilen op. De plaats ontwikkelt zich nu tot een boeddhistisch bedevaartcentrum, waar de archeologische overblijfselen verbonden met de geboorte van de Boeddha een prominente plaats innemen. Lumbini behoort tot de meest heilige en kenmerkende plaatsen voor een van ’s werelds grootste religies.

Source: unesco.nl

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Outstanding Universal Value

The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, testified by the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.

The complex of structures within the archaeological conservation area includes the Shakya Tank; the remains within the Maya Devi Temple consisting of brick structures in a cross-wall system dating from the 3rd century BC to the present century and the sandstone Ashoka pillar with its Pali inscription in Brahmi script. Additionally there are the excavated remains of Buddhist viharas (monasteries) of the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD and the remains of Buddhist stupas (memorial shrines) from the 3rd century BC to the 15th century AD. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Criterion (iii): As the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, testified by the inscription on the Asoka pillar, the sacred area in Lumbini is one of the most holy and significant places for one of the world’s great religions.

Criterion (vi): The archaeological remains of the Buddhist viharas (monasteries) and stupas (memorial shrines) from the 3rd century BC to the 15th century AD, provide important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from a very early period.

The integrity of Lumbini has been achieved by means of preserving the archaeological remains within the property boundary that give the property its Outstanding Universal Value. The significant attributes and elements of the property have been preserved. The buffer zone gives the property a further layer of protection. Further excavations of potential archaeological sites and appropriate protection of the archaeological remains are a high priority for the integrity of the property. The property boundary however does not include the entire archaeological site and various parts are found in the buffer zone. The entire property including the buffer zone is owned by the Government of Nepal and is being managed by the Lumbini Development Trust and therefore there is little threat of development or neglect. However the effects of industrial development in the region have been identified as a threat to the integrity of the property.

The authenticity of the archaeological remains within the boundaries has been confirmed through a series of excavations since the discovery of the Asoka pillar in 1896. The remains of viharas, stupas and numerous layers of brick structures from the 3rd century BC to the present century at the site of the Maya Devi Temple are proof of Lumbini having been a centre of pilgrimage from early times. The archaeological remains require active conservation and monitoring to ensure that the impact of natural degradation, influence of humidity and the impact of the visitors are kept under control. The property continues to express its Outstanding Universal Value through its archaeological remains. The delicate balance must be maintained between conserving the archaeological vestiges of the property while providing for the pilgrims.

The property site is protected by the Ancient Monument Preservation Act 1956. The site management is carried out by the Lumbini Development Trust, an autonomous and non-profit making organization. The entire property is owned by the Government of Nepal. The property falls within the centre of the Master Plan area, the planning of which was initiated together with the United Nations and carried out by Prof. Kenzo Tange between 1972 and 1978.

The long-term challenges for the protection and management of the property are to control the impact of visitors, and natural impacts including humidity and the industrial development in the region. A Management Plan is in the process of being developed to ensure the long-term safeguarding of the archaeological vestiges of the property while allowing for the property to continue being visited by pilgrims and tourists from around the world.

  • World Heritage Journeys web site
  • Nepal Tourism Board

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Essay on Gautam Buddha

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An Introduction

Gautam Buddha is popularly called Lord Buddha or The Buddha. He was a great and religious leader of ancient India. He is regarded as the founder of Buddhism, which is one of the most followed religions in the world today.

The followers of Buddha are now called Buddhists which means the enlightened beings, the ones who have rediscovered the path to freedom starting from ignorance, craving to the cycle of rebirth and suffering. Buddha himself propagated it for nearly 45 years.

His teachings are based on his insights of suffering and dissatisfaction ending in a state called Nirvana.

Gautam Buddha is considered to be one of the greatest religious preachers in the world. He was the preacher of peace and harmony. In this Gautam Buddha essay, you will find one long and one short piece about the epic religious guru followed by many. Studying this piece will help you learn who Gautama Buddha was and what made him choose the path of spirituality. The long and short essay on Gautam Buddha will help students of Class 5 and above to write one on their own. These essays are specially designed so that you can have all the needed information about Gautam Buddha. This essay will help you to understand the life of Gautam Buddha in minimum words. Basically in a few words, this essay gives you a brief detail about Buddha.

Gautam Buddha, the messenger of peace, equality, and fraternity, was born in Lumbini in the 6th Century BC, the Terai region of Nepal. His real name was Siddhartha Gautam. He belonged to the royal family of Kapilavastu. His father was Suddhodhana, the ruler. Maya Devi, Gautam’s mother, died soon after giving birth to him. He was a thoughtful child with a broad mind. He was very disciplined and liked to question contemporary concepts to understand and gather more knowledge.

He wanted to devote his life to spirituality and meditation. This was what his father did not like about him. He went against his father’s wishes to find spirituality. His father was worried that someday, Gautam will leave his family to pursue his wishes. For this, Suddhodhana always guarded his son against the harshness surrounding him. He never let his son leave the palace anytime. When he was 18 years of age, Gautam was married to Yashodhara, a princess with magnificent beauty. They had a son named ‘Rahul’. Even though Siddhartha’s family was complete and happy, he did not find peace. His mind always urged him intending to find the truth beyond the walls.

As per the Buddhist manuscripts, when Siddhartha saw an old man, an ailing person, and a corpse, he understood that nothing in this material world is permanent. All the pleasures he enjoyed were temporary and someday, he had to leave them behind. His mind startled from the realization. He left his family, the throne, and the kingdom behind and started roaming in the forests and places aimlessly. All he wanted was to find the real truth and purpose of life. In his journey, he met with scholars and saints but nobody was able to quench his thirst for truth.

He then commenced meditation with the aim to suffer and then realized the ultimate truth sitting under a huge banyan tree after 6 years. It was in Bodh Gaya in Bihar. He turned 35 and was enlightened. His wisdom knew no boundaries. The tree was named Bodhi Vriksha. He was very satisfied with his newly found knowledge and gave his first speech on enlightenment in Sarnath. He found the ultimate truth behind the sorrows and troubles people face in the world. It was all due to their desires and attraction to earthly things.

A couple of centuries after he died, he came to be known as the Buddha which means the enlightened one. All the teachings of Buddha were compiled in the Vinaya. His teachings were passed to the Indo-Aryan community through oral traditions.

In his lecture, he mentioned the Noble Eightfold Path to conquer desires and attain full control. The first 3 paths described how one can gain physical control. The next 2 paths showed us how to achieve the fullest mental control. The last 2 paths were described to help people attain the highest level of intellect. These paths are described as Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration synchronously.

The title “Buddha” was used by several ancient groups and for each group, it had its meaning. The word Buddhism refers to a living being who has got enlightened and just got up from his phase of ignorance. Buddhism believes that there have been Buddhas in the past before Gautam Buddha and there will be Buddhas in the future also. The Buddhists celebrate the life of Gautam Buddha starting from his birth to his enlightenment and passage into Nirvana stage as well.

In his life, Gautam Buddha had done a lot of spiritual things and lived his life by going through so much. Each suffering and each liberation of his has turned into teachings.

Some of them are explained below:

Finding Liberation: the ultimate motive of our soul is to find liberation.

The Noble truth of Life: for salvation, you need to know about all the four Noble truths of your life.

Suffering is not a Joke:   each suffering leads you to experience a new you.

There are noble eightfold paths that you need to follow.

Death is final, the one who has taken birth will die surely and everything in life is impermeable, you are not going to have anything that will be permanent so focus on salvation rather than pleasing others.

He preached that only sacrifice cannot make a person happy and free from all the bonds he has in the world. He also defined the final goal as Nirvana. Even to this day, his preaching finds meaning and can be related to our sorrows. According to his teachings, the right way of thinking, acting, living, concentrating, etc can lead to such a state. He never asked anyone to sacrifice or pray all day to achieve such a state. This is not the way to gain such a mindful state.

He didn’t mention any god or an almighty controlling our fate. His teachings are the best philosophical thoughts one can follow. Gautam Buddha was his new name after gaining Nirvana and knowing the truth. He was sure that no religion can lead to Nirvana. Only the Noble Eightfold Path can be the way to achieve such a state. He breathed last in 483 BC in Kushinagar, now situated in Uttar Pradesh and his life became an inspiration.

Even after being in a happy family with a loving wife and son, he left his royal kingdom in search of the truth. No one was able to satisfy him with knowledge. He then attained his enlightenment under a banyan tree in Bodh Gaya. He described the Noble Eightfold Path that everyone should follow to get rid of sorrow and unhappiness. He died in 483 BC but his preaching is found to be still relevant to this date. This tells us how Siddhartha became Gautam Buddha. It also tells us about his valuable preaching and shows us the way to achieve Nirvana.

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FAQs on Essay on Gautam Buddha

1. What made Siddhartha realize pleasures are Temporary?

When he first saw an ailing person, a corpse, and an old man, he realized worldly pleasures are temporary. He realized that all the pleasures that this world is running behind are fake. Nothing will stay forever, even the ones whom you love the most will leave you sooner or later, so you should not run behind these material pleasures. Focus on attaining salvation. Everyone who has taken birth will definitely leave one day, the thing that you have today will not be there tomorrow. There is only one soul for yourself. The body or the material things that you are proud of today will leave you tomorrow. Everything is not going to be the same.

2. What did he do to achieve Knowledge and Peace?

Gautam Buddha was more focused on achieving salvation, he wanted to know the truth of life. He wanted to have knowledge of all the things and peace along with Moksha. To receive knowledge and peace, Gautam Buddha left his home and his family behind. He wandered here and there aimlessly just to find peace in his life. Not only this, he talked with many scholars and saints so that he could receive the knowledge of everything that he was searching for. 

3. What did he Preach?

Gautam Buddha was the preacher of peace. In this essay, we are introduced to the preaching of Gautam Buddha. He has taught all about how to receive salvation and attain Nirvana without following any particular religion. Some of his preachings are :

Have respect for your life.

No lying and respect for honesty.

No sexual misconduct and at least you should respect the people of the same community and respect women as well. 

The path of sufferings, truth of causes; these factors will create a path of salvation for you. You need to believe in the reality of life and then move towards attaining the ultimate.

4. Does Gautam Buddha believe in God?

Buddhists actually don't believe in any dainty figure or God but according to them, there are some supernatural powers present in this universe that can help people or they can even encourage people to move toward enlightenment. Gautam Buddha, on seeing people dying and crying, realized that human life is nothing but suffering and all you need to do is get over this materialistic world and lead your life towards attaining salvation. Nothing is permanent nor even this body, so enlighten yourself towards the path of salvation.

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Gautama Buddha: Biography

Last updated on March 25, 2023 by ClearIAS Team

Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Gautama Buddha, was a traveling monk and spiritual guide who founded Buddhism during the sixth or fifth century BCE. Read here to know the biography of Gautama Buddha.

Gautama Buddha taught that life is full of suffering and unhappiness. This is caused because we have cravings and desires. He taught that this constant craving could be removed by following moderation in everything.

Siddhartha Gautama was, according to legend, a Hindu prince who renounced his position and wealth to seek enlightenment as a spiritual ascetic, attained his goal and, in preaching his path to others, founded Buddhism in India in the 6th-5th centuries BCE.

Buddha was born during a time of social and religious transformation. The dominant religion in India at the time was Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma, “Eternal Order”) but several thinkers of the period had begun to question its validity and the authority of the Vedas as well as the practices of the priests.

Table of Contents

The early life of Gautama Buddha

According to tradition, Siddhartha was born more than 200 years before the reign of the Maurya king Asoka (lived 304–232 BCE).

Siddhartha was born in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal. His father was Suddhodana, the chief of the Shakya nation, one of several ancient tribes in the growing state of Kosala. His mother was Queen Maya, King Sudhodhana’s wife.

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On the night Gautama was conceived, Mayadevi dreamt that a white elephant entered her side, and following the dream, Siddhartha was born.

During the birth celebrations, the seer Asita announced that this baby would either become a great king (chakravartin) or a great holy man. His father, King Suddhodana, wished for Siddhartha Gautama to be a great king, and shielded his son from religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering.

When the prince reached the age of 16, his father arranged his marriage to Yasodhara, from an elite family of the same age. In time, she gave birth to a son, Rahula.

Siddhartha Gautama spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu, a place now situated in Nepal. Although his father ensured that the prince was provided with everything he could want or need, he felt that material wealth was not the ultimate goal of life.

Journey of Buddha

The journey of Siddhartha the Prince to Gautama buddha is largely divided into three stages- the great departure, the great enlightenment, and the great passing.

The great departure or renunciation

Siddhartha’s father did not want him to experience anything other than luxuries as he grew which might inspire him to adopt a spiritual path. But eventually, the prince ventured out of the palace and experienced, what is called the four signs which changed his path forever.

During his 29 th year, the prince slipped through his father’s defenses and saw the four signs in the outside world-

  • An aged man
  • A religious ascetic

Through these signs, he realized that he, too, could become sick, would grow old, would die, and would lose everything he loved. He understood that the life he was living guaranteed he would suffer and, further, that all of life was essentially defined by suffering from want or loss.

Siddhartha disturbed by these sightings and realization renounced his luxurious life, wife, son, and family at the age of 29. He left the palace on his favorite horse, Kanthaka for a life dedicated to learning how to overcome suffering.

He meditated with two hermits, and, although he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness, he was still not satisfied with his path.

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He began his training in the ascetic life and practiced vigorous techniques of physical and mental austerity. Gautama proved quite adept at these practices and surpassed even his teachers.

However, he found no answer to his questions regarding freedom from suffering. Leaving behind his teachers, he and a small group of close companions set out to take their austerities even further.

Gautama tried to find enlightenment through the complete deprivation of worldly goods, including food, and became a complete ascetic. After nearly starving himself to death, Gautama began to reconsider his path.

The great enlightenment

He finally reached Gaya in modern-day Bihar where he seated himself under a Bodhi tree and meditated.

Finally, in a moment of illumination, he understood that suffering was caused by the human insistence on permanent states of being in a world of impermanence.

  • One suffers because they are unaware that life is changing, and they may stop suffering by understanding that believing anything will last or being attached to it is a grave mistake that will keep them stuck in a never-ending cycle of desire, effort, rebirth, and death.

His illumination was complete, and Siddhartha Gautama was now the Buddha, the enlightened one.

Although he could now live his life in contentment, he chose instead to teach others the path of liberation from ignorance and desire and assist them in ending their suffering.

He preached his first sermon at the Deer Park at Sarnath at which he introduced his audience to his Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are:

  • Life is suffering
  • The cause of suffering is craving
  • The end of suffering comes with an end to craving
  • There is a path that leads one away from craving and suffering

The fourth truth directs one toward the Eightfold Path, which serves as a guide to living one’s life without the kind of attachment that guarantees to suffer:

  • Right Intention
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

For the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain of Northeastern India and Southern Nepal, teaching his doctrine and discipline to everyone from nobles to outcast street sweepers, including many adherents of rival philosophies and religions.

The Buddha founded the community of Buddhist monks and nuns (the Sangha) to continue the dispensation after his Parinirvana or “complete Nirvana”, and made thousands of converts. His religion was open to all races and classes and had no caste structure.

The great passing

According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon enter Parinirvana, or the final deathless state abandoning the earthly body.

He died in Kusinara.

The Buddha’s body was cremated and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present.

Symbols of Buddha’s life

The great events of the life of the Buddha, are important milestones in the life of Siddhartha Gautama which are represented by various symbols.

  • The birth of buddha is represented by the lotus flower representing purity, beauty, and spiritual growth.
  • The renunciation is depicted by his horse, Kanthaka.
  • The great enlightenment is depicted by the Bodhi tree.
  • The first sermon is represented by the wheel of dharma.
  • The mahaparinirvana is depicted by the stupa.

 Conclusion

Buddha urged his pupils to examine his teachings and validate them through personal experience throughout his life. Buddhism is still characterized by this lack of dogmatism today.

-Article written by Swathi Satish

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By: History.com Editors

Updated: September 5, 2023 | Original: October 12, 2017

HISTORY: Buddhism

Buddhism is a faith that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama—also known as “the Buddha”—more than 2,500 years ago in India. With an estimated 500 million to one billion followers, scholars consider Buddhism one of the major world religions. As a non-theistic faith with no god or deity to worship, some scholars describe Buddhism as a philosophy or a moral code rather than an organized religion.

Many of the beliefs and practices of Buddhism revolve around the concept of suffering and its causes. Buddhism has historically been most prominent in East and Southeast Asia, but its influence is growing throughout the West. Many Buddhist ideas and philosophies overlap with those of other faiths.

Buddhism Beliefs and Practices

Some key Buddhism beliefs include:

  • Followers of Buddhism don’t acknowledge a supreme god or deity. They instead focus on achieving enlightenment—a state of inner peace and wisdom. When followers reach this spiritual echelon, they’re said to have experienced nirvana.
  • The religion’s founder, Buddha, is considered an extraordinary being, but not a god. The word Buddha means “enlightened.”
  • The path to enlightenment is attained by utilizing morality, meditation and wisdom. Buddhists often meditate because they believe it helps awaken truth.
  • There are many philosophies and interpretations within Buddhism, making it a tolerant and evolving religion.
  • Some scholars don’t recognize Buddhism as an organized religion, but rather, a “way of life” or a “spiritual tradition.”
  • Buddhism encourages its people to avoid self-indulgence but also self-denial.
  • Buddha’s most important teachings, known as The Four Noble Truths, are essential to understanding the religion.
  • Buddhists embrace the concepts of karma (the law of cause and effect) and reincarnation (the continuous cycle of rebirth).
  • Followers of Buddhism can worship in temples or in their own homes.
  • Buddhist monks, or bhikkhus, follow a strict code of conduct, which includes celibacy.
  • There is no single Buddhist symbol, but a number of images have evolved that represent Buddhist beliefs, including the lotus flower, the eight-spoked dharma wheel, the Bodhi tree and the  swastika  (an ancient symbol whose name means "well-being" or "good fortune" in Sanskrit). 

Swastika in Buddhism

Founder of Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama , the founder of Buddhism who later became known as “the Buddha,” lived during the 5th century B.C. 

Gautama was born into a wealthy family as a prince in present-day Nepal. Although he had an easy life, Gautama was moved by suffering in the world. 

He decided to give up his lavish lifestyle and endure poverty. When this didn’t fulfill him, he promoted the idea of the “Middle Way,” which means existing between two extremes. Thus, he sought a life without social indulgences but also without deprivation.

After six years of searching, Buddhists believe Gautama found enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. He spent the rest of his life teaching others about how to achieve this spiritual state.

When Gautama passed away around 483 B.C., his followers began to organize a religious movement. Buddha’s teachings became the foundation for what would develop into Buddhism.

In the 3rd century B.C., Ashoka the Great, the Mauryan Indian emperor, made Buddhism the state religion of India. Buddhist monasteries were built, and missionary work was encouraged.

Over the next few centuries, Buddhism began to spread beyond India. The thoughts and philosophies of Buddhists became diverse, with some followers interpreting ideas differently than others.

In the sixth century, the Huns invaded India and destroyed hundreds of Buddhist monasteries, but the intruders were eventually driven out of the country.

Islam began to spread quickly in the region during the Middle Ages , forcing Buddhism into the background.

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Types of Buddhism

Today, many forms of Buddhism exist around the world. The three main types that represent specific geographical areas include:

  • Theravada Buddhism : Prevalent in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Burma
  • Mahayana Buddhism : Prevalent in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam
  • Tibetan Buddhism : Prevalent in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, and parts of Russia and northern India
  • Zen Buddhism is a form of Mahayana Buddhism that’s practiced in many of the same areas. It emphasizes simplicity and meditation—the word “zen” means meditation—in lieu of religious scripture, ceremonies or doctrines.
  • Nirvana Buddhism is closely related to Theravada Buddhism, but the concept of nirvana is also central to many paths of Buddhism. The term nirvana means “blowing out,” as a candle is blown out, thus ending all attachment and desire to achieve a state of pure enlightenment.

Each of these types reveres certain texts and has slightly different interpretations of Buddha’s teachings.

Some forms of Buddhism incorporate ideas of other religions and philosophies, such as Taoism and Bon.

Buddha’s teachings are known as “dharma.” He taught that wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity and compassion were important virtues.

Specifically, all Buddhists live by five moral precepts, which prohibit:

  • Killing living things
  • Taking what is not given
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Using drugs or alcohol

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths, which Buddha taught, are:

  • The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  • The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  • The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  • The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)

Collectively, these principles explain why humans hurt and how to overcome suffering.

Eightfold Path

The Buddha taught his followers that the end of suffering, as described in the fourth Noble Truths, could be achieved by following an Eightfold Path. 

In no particular order, the Eightfold Path of Buddhism teaches the following ideals for ethical conduct, mental disciple and achieving wisdom:

  • Right understanding (Samma ditthi)
  • Right thought (Samma sankappa)
  • Right speech (Samma vaca)
  • Right action (Samma kammanta)
  • Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)
  • Right effort (Samma vayama)
  • Right mindfulness (Samma sati)
  • Right concentration (Samma samadhi)

Buddhist Holy Book

Buddhists revere many sacred texts and scriptures. Some of the most important are:

  • Tipitaka: These texts, known as the “three baskets,” are thought to be the earliest collection of Buddhist writings.
  • Sutras: There are more than 2,000 sutras, which are sacred teachings embraced mainly by Mahayana Buddhists.
  • The Book of the Dead : This Tibetan text describes the stages of death in detail.

The Dalai Lama and the history of Buddhism

The Dalai Lama is the leading monk in Tibetan Buddhism. Followers of the religion believe the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of a past lama that has agreed to be born again to help humanity. There have been 14 Dalai Lamas throughout history.

The Dalai Lama also governed Tibet until the Chinese took control in 1959. The current Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup, was born in 1935.

Buddhist Holidays

Every year, Buddhists celebrate Vesak, a festival that commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

During each quarter of the moon, followers of Buddhism participate in a ceremony called Uposatha. This observance allows Buddhists to renew their commitment to their teachings.

They also celebrate the Buddhist New Year and participate in several other yearly festivals.

Buddhism: An Introduction, PBS . Buddhism, Ancient History Encyclopedia . The History of Buddha, History Cooperative . Demographics of Buddhism, Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs . Religions: Buddhism, BBC . Buddhist Scriptures, Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs . The Noble Eightfold Path: Tricycle . What Is Zen Buddhism and How Do You Practice It? Lion’s Roar .

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The Life of Buddha: Short Biography of Siddharta Gautama

There was a man who was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people, and he grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince.

Tradition has it that he married at the age of 16 to a girl named Yasodhara . His father had an order for him to live a life of complete seclusion; but one day, he ventured out into the world and witnessed the reality of the suffering of life.

At the age of 29, he left his kingdom and newborn son to lead an ascetic life and identify a way to dismiss man’s suffering.

He submitted himself to severe ascetic practices for six years, studying and following various methods of meditation with different religious teachers. But he was never totally satisfied.

One day, he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he took it. In that moment, he recognized that physical austerities were also not the means to attain liberation.

From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path of balance instead of extremism. He called this ‘The Middle Way.’

That night, he sat under the Bodhi tree, and meditated until dawn. He cleansed his mind of all desecrations and reached enlightenment at the age of 35, thus earning the title ‘Buddha,’ or ‘Enlightened One.’

An enlightened being, he has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and achieved freedom from suffering. For the remainder of his 80 years, the Buddha taught the Dharma (teaching or doctrine) to help others attain enlightenment.

This man is Siddhartha Gautama , the founder of Buddhism.

Mahayana Buddhism 101: The Brief History, Core Teachings, Fundamental Beliefs, Practices, and Related Issues

Theravada Buddhism 101: The Brief History, Core Teachings, Fundamental Beliefs, Practices, and Related Issues

In Buddhist texts, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) is also commonly addressed as ‘Bhagavat’ (often translated as “Lord”), and he refers to himself as the ‘Tathagata,’ which can mean both “one who has thus come” and “one who has thus gone.”

All types of Buddhism celebrate various events in the life of the Buddha Gautama, like his birth, enlightenment, and passage into nirvana. His birth is celebrated in April or May, depending upon the lunar date of a country. Not using a lunar calendar, Buddhists in Japan celebrate Buddha’s birth on April 8.

After reading the short story, give your honest answer to the following questions.

1. Is Buddha’s life impressive?

2. Was his decision to leave his family justified?

3. What can you learn from his life?

4. Is Buddha comparable to Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

For other free lectures for students like this, visit Homepage: Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems

Copyright © by Jens Micah De Guzman

Also Check Out: The Worldview of Atheism  by   Jensen DG. Mañebog

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Gautam Buddha

Gautam Buddha Biography For Students

4to40.com May 4, 2023 Biographies for Kids 10,564 Views

Gautam Buddha: The history of Buddhism is the story of one man’s spiritual journey to Enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it.

Gautam Buddha Biography

The great saint of India Gautam Buddha was born in 565 B.C. at Lumbini. He came from a royal family. He was born to Shudhadan, the king of Kapilvastu. He was called Siddharth. Right from his childhood, Siddharth was a quiet and soft child. Other people’s problems affected him a lot. He did not want the royal comforts of the palace, and began to live alone. Siddharth was married to the beautiful princess Yashodhara, who bore him a son called Rahul.

Once, on an outing, he saw an old man, a patient and a dead body. Seeing so much suffering of the mortal body affected him deeply. He left the palace to search for truth. When he reached Gaya, he sat beneath a tree and meditated for many years. Finally, he attained enlightenment. He wandered from place to place preaching people about Truth.

Wherever he went, people heard him and started following him. People started calling him Gautam Buddha. Gautam, in his Baudh religion, preached non-violence and humanity. He said that we must not be attached to our body and this world. Buddha’s teachings were simple. After his death, his follower s spread his message of love to China , Japan , Sri Lanka and many other countries. Gautam Buddha attained salvation at Kushinagar in Nepal in 487 B.C.

Gautama Buddha in other religions

  • This Hindu synthesis emerged after the lifetime of the Buddha, under the pressure of the success of Buddhism and Jainism. In response to the success of Buddhism Gautama also came to be regarded as the 9th avatar of Vishnu. However, Buddha’s teachings deny the authority of the Vedas and the concepts of Brahman-Atman.
  • In Sikhism, Buddha is mentioned as the 23rd avatar of Vishnu in the Chaubis Avtar, a composition in Dasam Granth traditionally and historically attributed to Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Classical Sunni scholar Tabari reports that Buddhist idols were brought from Afghanistan to Baghdad in the ninth century. Such idols had been sold in Buddhist temples next to a mosque in Bukhara, but he does not further discuss the role of Buddha. According to the works on Buddhism by Al-Biruni (973–after 1050), views regarding the exact identity of Buddha were diverse. Accordingly, some regarded him as the divine incarnate, others as an apostle of the angels or as an Ifrit and others as an apostle of God sent to the human race. By the 12th century, al-Shahrastani even compared Buddha to Khidr, described as an ideal human. Ibn Nadim, who was also familiar with Manichaean teachings, even identifies Buddha as a prophet, who taught a religion to “banish Satan”, although does not mention it explicitly. However, most Classical scholars described Buddha in theistic terms, that is, apart from Islamic teachings. Nevertheless the Buddha is regarded as a prophet by the minority Ahmadiyya sect, generally considered deviant and rejected as apostate by mainstream Islam. Some early Chinese Taoist-Buddhists thought the Buddha to be a reincarnation of Laozi.
  • Disciples of the Cao Đài religion worship the Buddha as a major religious teacher. His image can be found in both their Holy See and on the home-altar. He is revealed during communication with Divine Beings as son of their Supreme Being (God the Father) together with other major religious teachers and founders like Jesus, Laozi, and Confucius.
  • The Christian Saint Josaphat is based on the Buddha. The name comes from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva via Arabic Būdhasaf and Georgian Iodasaph. The only story in which St. Josaphat appears, Barlaam and Josaphat, is based on the life of the Buddha. Josaphat was included in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology (feast-day 27 November) – though not in the Roman Missal – and in the Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical calendar (26 August).
  • In the ancient Gnostic sect of Manichaeism, the Buddha is listed among the prophets who preached the word of God before Mani.
  • In the Bahai Faith, Buddha is regarded as one of the Manifestations of God.

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The Buddha: A Short Biography

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Life of Gautama Buddha and his Teachings

write a short biography of gautam buddha

Buddha, the light of Asia, was one of the greatest men of all times. Great was his teaching which the mightiest religion of humanity became.

The name, of Gautama Buddha has enriched the history of India more than any other name.

The founder of the largest religion on earth, he was the only man in history to be regarded as God by a larger part of mankind.

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Gautama was born in the Kshatriya Sakya clan of the state of Kapilavastu, situated in the Tarain region of modern Nepal. The exact place of his birth was the garden of Lumbini-Grama near the city of Kapilavastu. At a much later date, Emperor Asoka Maurya erected the famous Rummindei pillar at that place to make it ever memorable. Lumbini is now known as Rummindei or Rupandehi.

Gautama was the son of the Sakya chief of Kapilavastu, Suddhodana. His mother was Maya Devi who died seven days after the birth of her son. The child thereupon was nursed by his step-mother and mother’s sister, Mahaprajapati Gautaini. According to her name, the child was named as Gautama. The family also belonged to the Gautama gotra. Another name of Gautama was Siddhartha.

The exact dates of the birth and death of Gautama Buddha are not yet definitely known to history, though it is known for certain that he lived a life of 80 years. There are two theories about these dates, supported by # arguments. According to a calculation derived from the Sinhalese tradition, Buddha was born in 623 B.C. and died in 543 B.C. at the age of eighty. These dates are supported by some historical evidences. But, by another calculation derived from the established dates of Asoka’s life, the dates of Buddha are seen to be different from the above noted dates.

According to this calculation, the coronation of Asoka took place 218 years after the death of Buddha. The established dates of Asoka show that he came to the throne in 273 B.C. and was coroneted after four years in 269 B.C. If Buddha had died 218 year before Asoka’s coronation, the date of Buddha’s death falls in 487 B.C. and his date of birth thus comes to 567 B.C.

These dates are supported by another historical evidence of great value. At Canton, a dot was put on a record for each year after the death of Buddha.

This was continued till the year 489 A.D. The total number of the Canton Dots is seen to be 975. When the number of the years of the Christian Era, namely, 489 is taken out from the total number of dots, that is, 975, it brings the number to 486. Thus, according to the calculation from the famous Canton Dots, the date of the death of Buddha falls in 486 or 487 B.C.

Thus, from view point of Asoka’s coronation date and the Canton Dots, the year of birth of Buddha may be taken as 566 or 567 B.C. and the year of death as 486 or 487 B.C.

Early life:

Much of the life of Buddha is shrouded in mystery. But much of it also appears clearer from the Buddhist sources. It is said that from his childhood young Gautama showed signs of detachment towards the worldly life. Yet as a khyatriya prince he was given the customary training in the use of arms and weapons, in riding horse and driving chariot.

Father Suddhodana paid enough attention to keep the mind of his son engaged in the stately activities. The palace of Kapilavastu also presented enough of pleasures and luxuries for enjoyment. But, Gautama was seen to have possessed no attraction for the so-called happiness of life. Everything appeared rather painful to him.

When he was sixteen, he got married to Yosodhara, also named as Subhadraka, Gopa or Bimba. Marriage was yet another bond for the thoughtful prince. For several years thereafter Gautama enjoyed the usual pleasures and comforts of the palace like other youthful princes elsewhere.

Four great signs:

At last, he came across four scenes of man’s existence which left a deep impression on his thought. One day, as his charioteer, Chhanna, took the prince through the streets of Kapilavastu, Gautama saw on old man, bent with age, and having wrinkled face, and presenting a pathetic appearance. He came to understand that the miseries of the old age were natural in life.

Subsequently, when be saw another man, suffering from disease with extreme pain, he was told by the charioteer that sickness and disease were like the companions of life. The third scene was yet more shocking, when the prince came across the sight of a dead man, being carried by his sorrowful relatives, weeping and lamenting. He came to know that man had no escape from death which was inevitable.

Regarding the futility of life which ends in death, prince Gautama is said to have thought about the indifferences of living man towards that absolute reality.

One day the following feeling came to his mind:

“How senseless the man appears to me

whose neighbour ill and old and dead.

He sees and yet holds fast

to the good things of this

life and is not thrilled with anxiety.

It is as if a tree divested of all flower and fruit

must fall or be pulled down – unaffected remaining the

neighbouring trees.”

While overtaken by distressing thoughts of old age, disease and death, Gautama came across yet another scene. It was the sight of a sannyasi who had renounced everything and was walking alone without any sign of worries or anxieties on his happy face.

These four experiences of prince Gautama had been described as the Four Great Signs. They proved like a turning point in his life, causing him to think seriously on the meaning of human existence. While a change of mind was thus taking place, Gautama was blessed with a son at the age of 29. To him, it was yet another bond to tie him to worldly life.

Great Renunciation:

Without waiting further, Gautama decided to renounce the world. So, at the age of 29, in the silent hours of a dark night, he came out of the palace, leaving behind his sleeping wife and the son, as well as his old father, and accompanied by his faithful charioteer Chhanna, disappeared into darkness “from a home to a homeless life”. This event in Gautama’s life is famous as the Great Renunciation.

At the boundary of the Sakya territory, Gautama asked Chhanna (or Chauna) to return to Kapilavastu and tell his father “not to make efforts to find his whereabouts, because he had now accepted, once and for all, the homeless way of life of a wandering monk”. When the most devoted charioteer insisted that he should stay with the prince, Gautama persuaded him to go back saying that “man is born alone and he must pass away alone. And in aloneness the whole truth of life was hidden”. Gautama wanted to search the truth alone.

The prince proceeded to Rajagriha and tried to satisfy his inner hunger at the feet of two learned saints named Alara and Udraka. For some time there after he tried to seek guidance from various wise teachers, but got no satisfaction. Thereupon he decided to subject his body to extreme physical pain. Going to dense forests, far from human beings, he practised hard penance. For six years he was thus wandering from place to place in the quest of answers to his doubts. At Uruvilwa near Gaya, he practised the most severe penance by reducing his body almost to bones and skins. That, too did not bring any result.

Enlightenment:

So, finally, there at Uruvilwa, after taking a bath in river Niranjana, he sat down under a pipal tree with the supreme resolve: “I will not leave this place till I attain that peace of mind which I have been trying for all these years”. As he sat in deep meditation, there at last came to him the great knowledge from the ‘Great Unknown’. Prince Gautama Siddhartha got the Enlightenment and became the Buddha or the Enlightened One. He also came to be known as Tathagata or one who attained the Truth and the Sakya-Muni or the Sage of the Sakyas. Buddha was then 35 years in age.

The Pipal Tree under which he got enlightenment became famous as the Bodhi Tree, and the place came to be known as Bodh Gaya.

The truth which Buddha got was the “Truth underlying life as a whole, namely, Life is full of Suffering, Desire is the cause of Suffering, Suffering ends at the destruction of Desire and Desire is destroyed by Right Living.”

It is worth noting here the words of Buddha at this moment as contained in the Buddhist texts:

“This Truth will not be easy to understand by beings that are lost in lust and hatred. Given to lust, surrounded with thick darkness, they will not see what goes against the current of their thoughts. This Truth is abstruse, profound, difficult to perceive, and very subtle”.

“When I pondered over this matter, my mind became inclined to remain quiet and not to preach the Truth to anyone.

“Then something happened. Two merchants from Orissa and travelling on the road with their wagons observed me seated under a tree. They offered me food in the form of rice-cakes and lumps of honey in a stone-bowl. They gave their names as Tapassu and Bliallika”.

“They evinced great interest and asked questions which I answered. To my great surprise, I found them very receptive. I felt sure that they understood the essence of the new teaching. And on their insistence I agreed to accept them as my disciples. They became my first lay disciples. They told me that they would propagate the truth themselves as best they could and also through their many travelling merchant friends”.

“This proved to be a great event. It brought about a change in my resolve not to propagate the truth. My encounter with the two travelling merchants convinced me that there were men in the world who could understand the truth”.

Dharma Chakra Pravartana:

After deciding to preach the truth, Buddha proceeded from Bodh Gaya to the Deer Park in Sarnath where he gave his first sermons to five Brahmins. This event is famous as the Dharma Chakra Pravartana or the Turning of the Wheel of Law. Thus began the mission of Buddha as a preacher. There also began the rise of the Buddhist Order of Monks or the Buddhist Sangha.

For long 45 years Buddha travelled with his disciples to preach his doctrines. He visited many places including Kapilavastu where his own son Rahul was taken to the new faith and became a monk. As Buddha moved, princes and people alike felt attracted towards his teachings.

At places like Benares, Uruvilva and Rajagriha, hundreds of people became his disciples. At Shravasti, Kapilavastu, Vaisali and Magadha, Buddha’s message spread among myriads of men. Among his famous disciples, the names of Sariputta, Moggalayana, Sanjuya, Rahula (Buddha’s own son), Aniruddha, Ananda, Upali and Sudatta occupy permanent places in Buddhist history. A new wave of religious thinking soon swept over the country.

Describing his daily life as a preacher, historian Oldenberg writes:

“In the days when his reputation stood at its highest point, and his name was named throughout India among the foremost names, one might day by day see that man, before whom kings bowed themselves, walking about, begging alms, bowl in hand, through streets and alleys, from house to house and without uttering any request, with downcast look, stand silently waiting until a morsel of food was thrown into his bowl”.

Buddha died at the age of 80 at a place named Kusinagar in the present day Gorakhpur district of modern Uttar Pradesh. Till the last moment of his life he was a wandering preacher. At the very moment of death, he gave the following instruction to his faithful disciple Ananda:

“Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp. Hold fast as a refuge to the Truth. Look not for refuge to any one besides yourselves”.

While uttering these words, he closed his eyes. The Nirvana of Buddha took place in the year 486 B.C. The Great Decease of Buddha is known as the Parinirvana.

It was Buddha’s renunciation, his search for truth, his valuable discoveries regarding the earthly sufferings of man, his earnest endeavour for liberation of man from the bondage of desires, and his ultimate advice for a nobler and better life for salvation, made deep appeals to human mind. The story of his life has ever remained a source of spiritual inspiration to millions. In a world of sufferings, he suffered himself to know the means of eternal happiness. And, he lived to teach man the meaninglessness of worldly affairs.

Buddha’s own life was a life of supreme dedication. At a time when his fame was at its height, and when his name was on the lips of millions of men all over India, and when monarchs bowed before him in veneration, he was himself moving with a begging bowl in hand for a morsel of food just for survival. That is how lived the greatest Indian ever born and the founder of world’s largest religion.

Teachings of Buddha :

The religion of Buddha is famous as Buddhism. The followers of that religion are known as Buddhists. In his teachings, Buddha showed a new path. In his religious mission, he did not give value to the so-called sacred rites and rituals. Instead, he showed the way for a life of ethics and spirituality. He preached in simple language and to the common people. His doctrines were simple as well as practical for adoption.

He preached against the extreme means of worldly life which led to man’s self indulgence, pleasures and unending desires. At the same time, he did not prescribe for the common man extreme hardship of ascetic life by physical punishment and self torture. His was the noble ‘Middle Path’ which was possible for every man to follow. Between the two extremes of pleasures and penance, he showed the path of a really virtuous life.

The following main doctrines constitute the substance of his teachings:

The Four Noble Truths or the Arya Satya :

In his enlightenment, Buddha discovered the real causes of the miseries of human existence. He also discovered the way to escape from those miseries which followed endlessly in the wheel of Karma, birth and rebirth. These discoveries were called the Four Noble Truths.

The first truth was the Truth of Pain or Sorrow. “Birth is pain, old age is pain, sickness is pain, death is pain.” felt Buddha. Everything in the world was transient, sorrowful and full of pain. The existence of this sorrow was in the nature of life.

The second truth, according to Buddha, was the Truth of the Cause of Pain or Sorrow. This cause was the Desire. The desire or the Trishna was the lust and the thirst for all worldly things. It was the root of all evils leading to pain.

The third truth was the Truth to end the Pain or Sorrow. This end or cessation of pain was possible by ending desires. Elimination of desires was to lead to the end of sorrows. Perfect bliss was to follow the end of the sorrows. It was like the end of life and death. It was the real freedom or emancipation.

The fourth truth was the Truth to End the Desires. This was possible by a noble way to attain the real bliss without desires. Extreme penance was not necessary for this, while extreme pleasure was unnecessary by all means. Avoiding both, it was the noble middle path which was the right way to end the Desires. This path was to lead to the real state of freedom or emancipation. Buddha described this path as the Arya Astangika Marga or the Noble Eight-fold, path. This Path was the real path to end the cycle of Karma and the rebirth.

The Noble Eight-fold Path :

Buddha gave eight principles to follow as his noble eight-fold path. They were: the Right Vision, Right Aims, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Efforts, Right Mindfulness, and Right Meditation.

By right vision or views, Buddha meant that man should realise how sorrowful was this world for man’s greeds, desires and selfishness. Man should, therefore, rise above for a new vision for his own happiness and for the happiness of all. By right aims or aspirations, man should not run behind his power and wealth, and should not run for passion, pleasures and enjoyment. Instead, he should aim at loving other fellow men and giving them happiness. By right speech, man should give up falsehood, lies, criticism of others and quarrels which spoil the peace of others and of the society.

Instead, man should be truthful in his words and friendly and kind in his talks. By right action or conduct, man should avoid violence and killing, give up harmful acts like theft, and stealing, and instead could work for the good of all in a virtuous way. By right livelihood, Buddha advised man to live by harmless means, not by selling or taking wine or butchering animals for himself or others.

Instead, he should live an honest and simple life for peace within and peace outside. By right effort or exertion, Buddha meant a correct discipline in mind and action not for any evil thought or practice, but for a proper exercise towards all that was good. Man was asked to give up evil designs from his thought and to develop nobler feelings for better efforts.

By right mindfulness or awareness, Buddha wanted man to be conscious of the unrealities of his existence, unrealities of the body and the bodily pleasures, the meaninglessness of the worldly bonds and attachments. Instead, he was to search for the real happiness beyond the flesh and material existence which had no substance. Finally, by right meditation or contemplation, Buddha wanted man to concentrate his mind on the real truth of existence. It was necessary for the discipline and training of the mind towards the higher goal.

The Noble Eight-fold Path was thus a code of conduct for every man. It became the basis of Buddhism as a religion. It was a religion for social happiness of all. Buddhism has been rightly described as ‘the most social of religions’.

Buddha taught the householders:

“Honouring mother and father, cherishing of child and wife,

And a peaceful occupation: This is the best good omen.

Giving of alms and righteous life, to cherish kith and kin,

Doing deeds that bring no blame: This is the best good omen.

Ceasing and abstaining from sin, to shun intoxicating drinks,

Not neglecting religious duties: This is the best good omen”.

The Path which Buddha showed was a practical path to follow. This path was meant for the common people as the lay disciples of the faith. For the Buddhist monks there were other strict regulations like celibacy which were not binding on the lay followers.

Non-violence and Morality :

Buddha was the prophet of non-violence. “Let not one kill any living being”, he said. Ultimately, the philosophy of non-violence became a cardinal principle of Buddhism. The Buddhists rejected animal sacrifice and killing of animals in every form. Non-violence also called for kindness towards all creatures. It denied man to hate man. “Let a man overcome anger by kindness, evil by good….Never in the world hatred ceases by harted. Hatred ceases by love”, said Buddha.

Social morality was given the highest priority in Buddhist thought. “Let not one take what is not given to him; let not one speak falsely, let not one drink intoxicating drinks; let not one be unchaste”, were Buddha’s guidelines for moral living.

Buddha did not preach the Fatherhood of God. Instead, he preached the Brotherhood of Men. His religion thus rested on ethics, morality and virtue. It rejected worships, rituals and rites. It has thus no respect for the priestly class and the so-called high-born. Buddha opened the doors of his Sangha to all men.

He asked his followers to preach the Noble Path by advising them: “Go into all lands and preach this gospel. Tell them that the poor and the lowly, the rich and the high, are all one, and that all castes unite in this religion as do the rivers in the sea”.

Karma and Rebirth :

In the Buddhist thought, the doctrine of Karma and rebirth was given great prominence. It was the Karma of the creature which caused its transmigration. Man’s action in life could be bad or good. For Karma, he was destined to suffer when reborn in form of any living creature. The chain of birth, death and rebirth was thus endless. To Buddha, the supreme purpose of consciousness was to attain liberation from that endless chain of misery.

In view of the danger of Karma, Buddha left a serene message to men to understand the value of a good life and of good actions.

“Happy the solitude of the peaceful; who knows and beholds truth

“Happy is he who stands firmly unmoved, who holds himself in check at all times.

“Happy he whose every sorrow, Whose every wish is at an end.

“The conquest of the stubbornness of the egoity is truly the supreme happiness”.

In his search for that ultimate liberation, Buddha brought the concept of Nirvana. Nirvana was the eternal salvation from the misery of existence. To enjoy the bliss of Nirvana, he advised man to follow the Middle Path or the Noble Eight-fold Path of a purer life. It should be a life of no possessions, no desires and no worldly attachment. It should also be a life of compassion, goodness and kindness.

As Buddha said:

“When one sees sorrow, suffering or misery as the first and the most fundamental Truth underlying human existence, while one is walking on the ‘Middle Path’, one also becomes aware of the fact that, there is only misery and no one miserable ; there is only action and no doer of action.

This awareness, friends, is the indication of the fact that when one has started to walk on the Middle Path one becomes aware that it leads to Nirvana or liberation from all bondage. And, when one now looks at the world around him, one sees that most men feel miserable and are driven to do this, that or any other thing to be free from misery.

This doer, with which men identify themselves, is the generator of all misery. The doer is the ego. But to one who is walking on the Middle Path, there is only misery and not the miserable, there is action and not the doer of action”.

To Buddha, “the Eight-fold Path would bring the realisation that everything was transitory, full of misery and unreal. The sense of nothingness would take away the sense of ‘I-ness’ or ‘me’, and destroy the ego. It would bring a state of happiness, far above selfish desires and worldly attachment. That would liberate the man from his self-consciousness and from rebirth. With desires gone and with the annihilation of the self, the Nirvana comes as the final liberation from all pains, and the pain of worldly existence once for all.”

Thus, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eight-fold Path and the realisation of Nirvana were the basic fundamentals of Buddha’s teachings.

Spread of Buddhism :

A messiah of the poor and the down trodden, Buddha believed in equality of status and freedom for all. He wanted to improve the existing pattern rather than replace it with a new one.

The ethics and morality which Buddha propounded as the true religion of mankind created a deep impression on the Indian mind. Both the learned and the common men saw in Buddha’s teachings a remarkable way of life for true happiness. During his life, as he preached, his words attracted princes and the poor alike. A new mental ferment was marked, with far reaching consequences.

Soon after the death of Buddha, the First Buddhist Council was held at Rajagriha where 500 Buddhist monks gathered from different Sanghas. The Council adopted the sayings of Buddha as the canonical texts for future guidance of men. They were divided into two parts, namely, the Vinaya Pitaka and the Dhamma Pitaka. Mahakassapa, the President of the council, and two other disciples of Buddha named Upali and Ananda conducted the works of the Council and guided the Sangha.

The Second Buddhist Council met one hundred years after the death of Buddha at Vaisali under the patronage of the king of Magadha. The Third Buddhist Council was held at Pataliputra during the reign of Asoka. It was presided over by Moggaliputta Tissa. The Fourth Buddhist Council was held in Kashmir under the guidance of Vasumitra and Asvaghosha during the time of Kanishka. It was the last Buddhist Council.

The religion of Buddha spread as a popular religion. The simple and practical tenets of the faith carried appeal to the mass mind. It was preached in the simple language of the people, the Pali, The equality of men, as upheld by the Buddhists, brought the lowly and the downtrodden to its fold. No ceremonies and costly rituals were necessary.

There was also no need for priests. The tireless efforts of the Buddhist Sanghas, and the missionary zeal of the monks and preachers carried the gospels of Buddha to every corner of the country.

But, it was the conversion of Emperor Asoka after his Kalinga War which gave Buddhism a new dimension. Under the patronage of that monarch, grounds were prepared for the spread of Buddhism far and wide. Inside India and outside India’s frontiers, the spread of the religion became rapid. In course of time Buddhism became the religion of the Asian humanity and Buddha became the Light of Asia.

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An Insight into the Life and Teachings of Gautam Buddha

An Insight into the Life and Teachings of Gautam Buddha

An iconic figure of Sakyamuni Buddha is enough to perceive the grandeur of this historical leader who influenced the social and political frame of India. There was an unprecedented charm in Buddhist teachings and Buddhist philosophy, something that is as relevant then as it is now. If you haven’t got a chance, to read or learn about Buddha, this is your chance to know him and connect to him, the way you have not thought so far. Stay with us, as we take you in the life of one of the most influential people in the world that walked on the face of the earth in millions of years.

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What Do We Know about the Historical Buddha?

Historical Buddha

No written records about the birthday of Gautam Buddha were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. However, most people accept that this one of the great spiritual gurus lived, taught, and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara (c. 558 – c. 491 BCE, or c. 400 BCE), the ruler of the Magadha empire. He died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, who was the successor of Bimbisara. Another widely accepted time frame for his life is between 563 BCE and 483 BCE. More recently his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha’s death. These alternative chronologies, however, have not been accepted by all historians. Although, birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha or Buddha Jayanti is celebrated on May 12 each year and is a major Buddhist festival.

The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama/Buddha was born into the Shakya clan, a community which was inhabiting on the periphery of the eastern Indian subcontinent. According to Buddhist tradition, this place was called Lumbini (in modern-day Nepal). He was raised in Kapilvastu, the Shakya capital, which may have been either the present day Tilaurakot in Nepal or Piprahwa in India.

Gautama was born as a Kshatriya, the son of Suddhodana, elected chief of the Shakya clan, whose capital was Kapilavastu. His mother’s name was Maya (Mayadevi) and she was a Koliyan princess. Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, she dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side. As was the Shakya tradition, when Queen Maya became pregnant, she left for Kapilavastu (her father’s kingdom) to give birth. However, Gautama is said to have been born en route Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree. Thus, the birthplace of Buddha is Lumbini, which is in modern-day Nepal .

Biographical Source:

The sources for the life of Buddha sometimes conflict with the traditional biographies which include:

  • Buddhacarita which is the earliest biography and is also an epic poem written by the famous poet Asvaghosa in the 1st century CE.
  • The Lalitavistara Sūtra is the next oldest biography on Gautam Buddha, it dates back to the 3rd century CE.
  • The Mahavastu from the Mahasamghika Lokottaravāda tradition is another major biography which was probably composed in 4th century CE.
  • The exhaustive Dharmaguptaka biography of the Buddha is entitled the Abhiniskramana Sutra, and one can also find several Chinese translations of this dating between the 3rd and 6th century CE.
  • The last composition, Nidanakatha by Buddhaghoṣa is from the Theravada tradition in Sri Lanka and dates back to the 5th century.

Other important sources of information pertaining to the life of Gautam Buddha are Jataka tales, the Mahapadana Sutta, and the Achariyabhuta Sutta.

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The Story of the Making of Gautam Buddha from Siddharth Gautam

Born to Shakya Chief of Kapilvastu, Suddhodana, and Queen Maya, the daughter of the king of Lumbini, Buddha has a story that everyone should listen to. It is believed he was born en route Lumbini, under a sal tree. The infant was given the name Siddhartha which meant “he who achieves his aim” in a ceremony that took place after 5 days of his birth in which 8 Brahmins scholars were invited to read the future.

They all gave a dual prediction that the baby would either become a great king or a great holy man except for the youngest Brahmin Kondanna who unequivocally predicted that Siddhartha would become a Buddha.

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A Sheltered Childhood and Youth

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King Suddhodana, wishing for his son to be a great king, shielded him from any contact with human suffering as well as religious teachings. It was after spending 29 years as the prince of Kapilavastu, Siddharth finally got a glimpse of the real world outside. It so happened that Gautam decided to meet his subjects, and in that attempt, he saw an aged man for the first time. His charioteer, Channa explained to him that all people grew old. In further trips, he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. His comprehension of the world suggested that he could overcome all this suffering by meditation and becoming an ascetic and thus, he decided to leave the royal responsibilities and family to attain enlightenment.

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Buddha’s Enlightenment

Gautam Buddha3

After leaving the palace, Buddha went from place to place over a period of 6 years, learning and mastering the technique of meditation. He once came to a point where he starved himself but in return gained no spiritual awakening. Finally, after meditating for 49 days under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya , Bihar, Siddharth is said to have become what was prophesied for him – Buddha – the Awakened One.

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What Did the Buddha Teach?

Gautam Buddha4

With the awakening, the most important learning for enlightenment unfolded – the Middle Path, which construes following a path which away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. Buddha also emphasised realizing enlightenment on one’s own. After enlightenment, he is said to have spent 45 years of his life preaching and teaching in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and southern Nepal. Here are the pillars of Buddha’s teaching:

Three Jewels

The ideals of Buddhism are collectively known as the ‘Three Jewels’, or the ‘Three Treasures’. It is by making these the central principles of your life that you become a Buddhist. These are:

  • The Buddha (the yellow jewel): The Buddha refers both – the historical Buddha and the ideal of Buddhahood itself. The whole Buddhist tradition derives from the historical Buddha and all schools regard him as their root founder, guide and inspiration.
  • The Dharma (the blue jewel): Primarily it refers to the life teachings of the Lord Buddha. However, the word ‘Dharma’ has a number of meanings but most importantly it means the unmediated Truth. In this second sense, Dharma is the teaching that was born with the enlightenment of Buddha and were the communicated by him in the first sermon at Sarnath. The occasion is traditionally referred to as ‘the first turning of the wheel of the Dharma’, and the eight-spoked Dharma wheel is a common emblem of Buddhism.
  • The Sangha (the red jewel): Sangha refers to spiritual community, in broader terms it refers to the people with whom we share our spiritual lives and experiences. According to Buddhist teaching, we all need other people to learn from, we need guidance as well as support and friendship of other practitioners. This is very important because Buddhism is not an abstract philosophy or creed; it is a way of approaching life and therefore it only has any meaning when it is embodied in people. If we are to practise the Dharma we need the example and teaching of others who have done so before us, especially those who have gained insight into the nature of reality themselves. So the third of the Three Jewels is the Sangha or the spiritual community.

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The Four Noble Truths: First Wheel of Dharma

  • Suffering: Buddha make one realizes that in life there’s always an involvement of suffering, in one form or the other.
  • The Cause of Suffering: The cause of suffering is craving and ignorance, which construes that we suffer because of our mistaken belief, greed or may be ego.
  • The End of Suffering: The good news is that our problems are temporary and the suffering can end as the awakened mind is always available to us.
  • The Path: Buddha preached that by practicing meditation, developing wisdom, and following a disciplined life we can take a journey to enlightenment and freedom from suffering.

The two other Wheels of Dharma are Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Sutra Discriminating the Intention. While these teachings are the source of the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, of Buddhism in which Buddha explains how to attain full enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for the sake of others; in the Hinayana teachings, Buddha explains how to attain liberation from suffering for oneself alone. Mahayana and Hinayana traditions both flourished in Asia, first in India and then to places like Tibet .

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Threefold Way

Another important formulation of the path is the Threefold Way of ethics, meditation, and wisdom. It is discerned as a progressive path, as ethics and a clear conscience provide basis for meditation, on the ground of which wisdom can develop. The Threefold Way includes:

Buddha preached that to live is to act, and our actions have either harmful or beneficial consequences for ourselves and others around us. Buddhist core ethical code is known as the Five Precepts which are principles of training. The Buddhist tradition acknowledges that life is complex and comes with several difficulties. It suggests that not one single course of action can be right in all circumstance, however it deciphers the action not as right or wrong but speak being skilful (kusala) or unskilful (akusala).

Meditation:

Meditation is the second stage of the threefold way and as far as Buddhism is concerned, this stage had its significance from the time of Buddha and his journey to enlightenment.

Buddha taught that the fundamental cause of human adversities is our existential ignorance. In order to abolish it, we need to hear and reflect on the teachings that indicate the Buddhist vision of life. Wisdom or Prajna means developing our own direct understanding of the truth.

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The Noble Eightfold Path:

This can be assessed as the extended version of the Threefold Way and it is indeed an important and widely known Buddha’s teaching. Traditionally the teaching is seen as eight areas or ‘limbs’ of ‘right’ practice, which have a relationship to one other and are each essential element in an integrated approach to the Dharma:

  • Right Understanding or Perfect Vision
  • Right Resolve or Perfect Emotion
  • Right Speech or Perfect Speech
  • Right Action or Perfect Action
  • Right Livelihood or Perfect Livelihood
  • Right Effort or Perfect Effort
  • Right Mindfulness or Perfect Awareness
  • Right Meditation or Perfect Samadhi

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Relevance of Buddhist Teachings in the Modern World:

Gautam Buddha5

Buddhism has something to offer and is relevant in all times. According to Dalai Lama, “Buddhist science and Buddhist philosophy have a great deal to offer to everyone. We don’t need to look at, or be interested in, Buddhist religion in order to benefit from the teachings and insights that are available in Buddhist science and philosophy.” If it is observed, Buddhist science deals with human psychology; it is an in-depth analysis of how the mind, emotions, perception work. It also deals in the area of logic, and insights into cosmology. On the other side, Buddhist philosophy deals with reality – our comprehension of reality and how one can deconstruct fantasies and projections about reality. With a detailed study about this, one can find both Buddhist philosophy and science to be helpful in training the mind and developing a more beneficial attitude toward life. So even if someone does not accept Buddhist as a religion but learns to live according to its teachings can lead a happy and blessed life.

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Contribution of the Buddha and Buddhism:

Gautam Buddha6

Buddha has been a prominent influencer in the history of ancient India. The life story of Buddha and his teachings helped the country undergo major social and political changes. The founder of Buddhism Religion has contributed significantly in shaping our constitution as well, here are what can be affirmed as the life achievements of Gautam Buddha:

National Unity:

Nothing brought Indian subcontinent closer in political and social field than Buddhism. The religion promoted a sense of national feeling amongst the Indians and it somehow shattered the dominance of the caste system which stood in the way of the achievement of this unity. It was mainly due to this unity and social harmony that the Mauryas could establish a powerful empire. This contribution of Buddhism has been recognized by E. B. Havell when he stated “In social and political sphere Buddhism has played the same role in cultivating a national spirit in India which Christianity did in 7th century to integrate the diversified elements of Saxon Hierarchy.”

Curb on the Violent Spirit:

Buddhism emphasized Ahimsa or non-violence, which greatly affected the people. It is well known that Emperor Ashoka, under the influence of Buddhism gave up on war and started to practice Ahimsa.

Contact with Outside World:

Buddhist religion in India became the first religion to go trans-border with the support of kings like Ashoka and Kanishka (majorly). The religion spread to countries like China, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Tibet and Sri Lanka. According to J. N. Sarkar, “Due to the spread of Buddhism in foreign countries, foreigners considered India as a holy place and the sources of their religion. This contact with the outside world also promoted political and commercial relations with these countries.”

A Simple and Comprehensible Religion:

According to K. M. Panikar, “To the common man this (Buddhism) was indeed a new gospel. There were no secret mantras, no expensive yagas or sacrifices and indeed no difficult doctrines as in the Upanishads.” And thus, it turned out to be a religion that could be easily followed by the common people.

Added to the Morals and Values:

Buddhism came attached with lessons of morality, and directed people to practice virtues like charity, purity, self-sacrifice, truthfulness, control over passions, non-injury to living creatures in thought and action. It is not that these were not known to the people as they have been mentioned in the Upanishads but it was Buddhism that put these virtues in actual practice.

Buddhism made a significant contribution in the field of education also. The Buddhist Sanghas and Viharas served as centres of education for students from far off destinations, including foreign countries, came here to receive education. Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila which gained reputations as great educational centres were actually originally only Buddha Viharas.

Development of Art:

A commendable contribution in the field of art, architecture, sculpture could also be seen by Buddhism. The finest architecture example can be seen in the form of viharas, mandaps, yajnashalas, altars as well as stupas. It has to be noted that Buddhists were the first ones to erect cave temples. The method of the Buddhist art was of a continuous narration and the technique used was one of the memory picture.

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Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know about Buddha and Buddhism:

Gautam Buddha7

Buddha’s life and teachings have been splendid, and like any other prominent leaders his life also comprises some amazing and interesting facts about Buddhism religion and Buddha himself that there are chances you must have missed out on. Here’s a glimpse of some interesting facts on Buddha.

  • The term ‘Buddhism’ was coined by Western scholars in the 1830s. Buddhists don’t actually refer to their religion as “Buddhism”
  • With 360 million followers of Buddha, Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world.
  • Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being or creator god.
  • Because of its emphasis on meditation and mindfulness, Buddhism is often considered to be a form of psychology rather than a religion.
  • Buddha was not as chubby as many depictions of him would make it appear. He was portrayed this way as it symbolizes happiness in many countries in the east. In fact, Buddha is believed to practice moderation in all things – he fasted regularly, and spent most of his time walking miles teaching and preaching.
  • Buddha’s spot of enlightenment underneath the bodhi tree is still preserved to this day.
  • Buddha’s final request of his followers was “All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.”
  • Buddha visited his son, father, his wife and his foster mother and the family is said to have joined the Sangha. His cousin Ananda and his son, Rahula became Buddhist monks, with Rahula being the youngest monk in the sangha.

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Important Quotes by Buddha:

Gautam Buddha8

Life changing teachings of Buddha have been renown all around the world and the quotes by him are a major source of inspiration. Here are some of the famous quotes of Buddha that can also be asserted as inspirational quotes.

  • “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.”
  • “If you knew what I know about the power of giving you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”
  • “Learn this from water: loud splashes the brook but the oceans depth are calm.”
  • “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”
  • “You only lose what you cling to.”
  • “The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.”
  • “The trouble is, you think you have time.”
  • “As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.”-Buddha
  • “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
  • “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
  • “The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.”
  • “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
  • “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”

– Buddha

  • “To abstain from lying is essentially wholesome.”
  • “Avoid evil deeds as a man who loves life avoids poison.”
  • “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
  • “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
  • “Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.” -Buddha
  • “It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.”
  • “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”

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Must Read Books on Buddhism and Buddha:

Gautam Buddha9

  • After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield
  • The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg
  • On the Path to Enlightenment by Matthieu Ricard
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation by Rod Meade Sperry
  • When Things Fall Apart By Pema Chödrön
  • Radiant Mind by Jean Smith
  • Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa

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Important Places in Buddha’s Life:

Gautam Buddha10

All through his 45 years of teaching and preaching life, Buddha is said to have travelled extensively. However, there are certain places associated with the life of Gautama that are also popular Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. Some of these Buddhist travel places in India and Nepal serve as important pilgrimage centres as well.

  • Lumbini: Reckoned to be the birth place of Lord Buddha, this one is situated in modern day Nepal
  • Bodhgaya: This place is in Bihar in India and is where is is believed to have attainment enlightenment under the Mahabodhi tree.
  • Sarnath: The place is situated the famous destination of Varanasi in India, and is said to be the location of Buddha’s first sermon.
  • Kushinara: This place is situated in Indo-Nepal border and is believed to be the location where Buddha breathed his last.
  • Sravasti: This place in India is known as the destination where Buddha performed miracles.
  • Rajgir: A destination in Bihar, it is supposedly the place where Buddha pacified a furious wild elephant.
  • Sankassa: A place in India, it is believed where Buddha returned after preaching the Adidhamma in heaven.
  • Vaishali: In India is a place where Buddha is reckoned to have set up the Bhikshuni Sangha.

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Death of Buddha:

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There are two theories regarding the death of Buddha. The first one being that Buddha can be someone who could live until the end of the world on condition that someone invite him to do so. He is someone who can fix the time of his own death. Since Ananda failed to invite him to live on to the age of the world or even longer, Buddha left the earthly realm.

The second and more practical story says that Buddha was ageing and was failing in health. He could have lost his life because of a severe pain during his last retreat at Vaishali. It is said Buddha came into terms with his unexpected illness and death after consuming a special cuisine offered by his generous host (Cunda the Blacksmith). However, Buddha instructed his attendant, Ananda to convince Cunda that the meal eaten at his place had nothing to do with the illness and that it is a source of the merit as it provided the last meal for a Buddha. Scholars, Mettanando and Von Hinüber suggest that the Buddha died of mesenteric infarction, a symptom of old age, rather than food poisoning. Buddha died on the night of the full moon in the lunar month of Visakha (which falls in May or June). His birth anniversary is referred to as Buddha Purnima. His final words are reported to have been: “All composite things (Saṅkhāra) are perishable. Strive for your own liberation with diligence.”

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Buddha has been an important source for a radical change in Indian society. His teachings and his unique concept of self-realization are a building block in the Indian philosophy. There is just so much to learn about him and to take lessons of life from him that none of it can be justified in one single book and blog to say the least. This was just our humble endeavour to bring to you a glimpse of Buddha and his life, we are aware it can never do justice to the extraordinary life he spent and preached about. However, if you still found this piece helpful in some way, please let us know in the comment below. In case we weren’t really apt with information, you are most welcome to help us with it as well. You can find everything you need to know on Buddhist Pilgrimage tour to ancient Buddhist temples in India in this blog of ours here. So make sure give it a read too.

Nidhi Singh

About Nidhi Singh

From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a travel writer whose love for mountains can be seen in her write ups. Talk about solo travelling, indulging in adventure activities, binging on good food, planning budget trips or the Aurora Borealis and you will get all her attention. It is the wanderlust that keeps her going and if at all she could get one wish granted she would love to live a life less ordinary. Follow her on Twitter , Facebook & Instagram .

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  1. Biography Of Gautam Buddha

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  3. Essay on Gautam Buddha In English

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COMMENTS

  1. Short Biography of Gautama Buddha

    The below mentioned article provides a short biography of Gautama Buddha. Gautama Buddha was a contemporary of Mahavira. Gautama Buddha's royal name was Siddhartha. He was the son of Suddhodhana, the Chief of Sakya clan of Kapilvastu in the Nepal Tarai area. He was born in 566 B.C. in the village of Lumbini a few miles from Kapilvastu.

  2. Buddha

    Gautama or (Pali): Gotama Personal name (Sanskrit): Siddhartha or (Pali): Siddhattha Born: c. 6th-4th century bce, Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, Shakya republic, Kosala kingdom [now in Nepal] Notable Family Members: mother Maha Maya See all related content → Recent News Dec. 28, 2023, 11:16 PM ET (NBC)

  3. Buddha

    Buddha, born with the name Siddhartha Gautama, was a teacher, philosopher and spiritual leader who is considered the founder of Buddhism. He lived and taught in the region around the border of ...

  4. Gautama Buddha

    A statue of the Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563 BC - c. 483 BC) was the founder of Buddhism.He is best known by the title the Buddha.The title means "Fully Awakened One". He was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama in a region of what is now the country Nepal in a Shakya Kingdom in Lumbini.. He is also called Shakyamuni Buddha. This is because he was a member of the Śākyan clan.

  5. The Buddha

    Etymology, names and titles The Buddha, Tapa Shotor monastery in Hadda, Afghanistan, 2nd century CE Siddhārtha Gautama and Buddha Shakyamuni

  6. Siddhartha Gautama Biography: The Buddha

    Bio Vote! Siddhartha Gautama Biography: The Buddha Twenty-five thousand years ago one's man's spiritual journey was the beginning of one of the world's seven religions — boasting 376 million followers today. He is simply called "The Buddha," and he grew up the son of a king…sheltered from the realities of human suffering.

  7. Siddhartha Gautama

    Siddhartha Gautama (better known as the Buddha, l. c. 563 - c. 483 BCE) was, according to legend, a Hindu prince who renounced his position and wealth to seek enlightenment as a spiritual ascetic, attained his goal and, in preaching his path to others, founded Buddhism in India in the 6th-5th centuries BCE.. The events of his life are largely legendary, but he is considered an actual ...

  8. Life of Gautama Buddha and the origin of Buddhism

    Buddha , orig. Siddhartha Gautama, (born c. 6th-4th century bce, Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, Shakya republic, Kosala kingdom—died, Kusinara, Malla republic, Magadha kingdom), Spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism.

  9. The Life of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

    Siddhartha is a Sanskrit name meaning "one who has accomplished a goal," and Gautama is a family name. His father, King Suddhodana, was the leader of a large clan called the Shakya (or Sakya). It's not clear from the earliest texts whether he was a hereditary king or more of a tribal chief. It is also possible that he was elected to this status.

  10. Buddha

    Buddha (c. 500s B.C.E.) The historical Buddha, also known as Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, and Buddha Śākyamuni, was born in Lumbini, in the Nepalese region of Terai, near the Indian border. He is one of the most important Asian thinkers and spiritual masters of all time, and he contributed to many areas of philosophy, including ...

  11. Who Is The Buddha?

    The Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, was born around 567 B.C.E., in a small kingdom just below the Himalayan foothills. His father was a chief of the Shakya clan. It is said that twelve years before his birth the brahmins prophesied that he would become either a universal monarch or a great sage.

  12. Gautama Buddha

    Gautama Buddha's parents were King Śuddhodana and Queen Maya, who were the rulers of the Shakya kingdom of Northern India. His given name was Siddhartha. The King and Queen lived in the Shakya capital of Kapilavastu.Following the traditional custom of the time, when Queen Maya knew the time of her son's birth was drawing near, she began to travel to her father's home in Kapilavastu, in order ...

  13. Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha

    Brief synthesis. The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, testified by the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about ...

  14. Gautam Buddha Essay for Students in English

    Gautam Buddha, the messenger of peace, equality, and fraternity, was born in Lumbini in the 6th Century BC, the Terai region of Nepal. His real name was Siddhartha Gautam. He belonged to the royal family of Kapilavastu. His father was Suddhodhana, the ruler. Maya Devi, Gautam's mother, died soon after giving birth to him.

  15. Gautama Buddha: Biography

    Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Gautama Buddha, was a traveling monk and spiritual guide who founded Buddhism during the sixth or fifth century BCE. Read here to know the biography of Gautama Buddha. Gautama Buddha taught that life is full of suffering and unhappiness. This is caused because we have cravings and desires.

  16. Buddhism

    Buddhism is a religion that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama ("The Buddha") more than 2,500 years ago in India. With about 470 million followers, scholars consider Buddhism one of the major ...

  17. A Short Study on the Life of Gautama Buddha

    Gautama Buddha was born in the province of Lumbini, located in Southern Nepal, in 623 BC. He was born into a noble family of the Shakya Clan residing in the Himalayan foothills. The head of the Shakya clan, Suddhodana, was his father, while his mother Maya was a Koliyan princess.

  18. Biography of Gautam Buddha

    Biography of Gautam Buddha by Arun K. Tiwari: This biography provides a biographical account of the life of Gautam Buddha, the Indian sage and founder of Buddhism. With its focus on Indian spirituality and philosophy, "Biography of Gautam Buddha" is a must-read for anyone interested in the legacy of Indian spiritual leaders.

  19. The Life of Buddha: Short Biography of Siddharta Gautama

    The Life of Buddha: Short Biography of Siddharta Gautama. August 6, 2021. There was a man who was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people, and he grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince. Tradition has it that he married at the age of 16 to a girl named ...

  20. Gautam Buddha Biography For Students

    The great saint of India Gautam Buddha was born in 565 B.C. at Lumbini. He came from a royal family. He was born to Shudhadan, the king of Kapilvastu. He was called Siddharth. Right from his childhood, Siddharth was a quiet and soft child. Other people's problems affected him a lot.

  21. The Buddha: A Short Biography

    The Buddha: A Short Biography. Paperback - January 1, 2001. A portrait of the Buddha explores his identities both as an archetypal religious icon and as a man, chronicling his journey from his decision to leave a life of ease and power to his attainment of spiritual enlightenment. Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more.

  22. Life of Gautama Buddha and his Teachings

    Gautama was born in the Kshatriya Sakya clan of the state of Kapilavastu, situated in the Tarain region of modern Nepal. The exact place of his birth was the garden of Lumbini-Grama near the city of Kapilavastu. At a much later date, Emperor Asoka Maurya erected the famous Rummindei pillar at that place to make it ever memorable.

  23. Gautam Buddha: Life History, Teachings, and Contributions

    Biographical Source: The sources for the life of Buddha sometimes conflict with the traditional biographies which include: Buddhacarita which is the earliest biography and is also an epic poem written by the famous poet Asvaghosa in the 1st century CE.