Gautama Buddha

Gautama Buddha

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We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

Dhammapada, as translated by T. Byrom (1993), Shambhala Publications.

No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path but Buddhas clearly show the way.

Dhammapada Ch. 165

Behold now, Bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence!

DN 16 Mahaparinibbana Sutta 6:8

I spit on my life. Death in battle would be better for me than that I, defeated, survive.

This statement is made in reference to his battle against the personification of temptation to evil, Mara (demon)|Mara.

That army of yours, :that the world with its devas can't overcome, :I will smash with discernment

Open are the doors to the Deathless :to those with ears. :Let them show their conviction.(SN 6.1 Ayacana Sutta)

Encyclopedia
Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 teacher from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, on whose teachings Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 (P. sammāsambuddha, S. samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." The time of his birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 563 BCE to 483 BCE,
but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE. Based on some archeological findings and inscriptions, Buddha was born in Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, modern Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Other archeological findings postulate that Buddha was born at Kapilavastu at Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 or Kapileswara, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 and Kośala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

.

Gautama, also known as Śākyamuni ("Sage of the Śākyas
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

"), is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 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
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, he is regarded as one of the ten avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

s of God Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

. He is also regarded as a god or prophet in other world religions
Gautama Buddha in world religions
Gautama Buddha is also venerated as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í faith. Some Hindu texts say that the Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion...

 or denominations like the Ahmadiyya Islamic religious movement
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 and the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Traditional biographies


The primary sources for the life of Siddhārtha Gautama are in a variety of different and sometimes conflicting traditional biographies. These include the Buddhacarita
Buddhacarita
Buddhacharita is an epic poem in the Sanskrit mahakavya style on the life of Gautama Buddha by , composed in the 2nd century AD...

, Lalitavistara Sūtra
Lalitavistara Sutra
The Lalitavistara Sutra is a Mahayana Buddhist Vaipulya sutra that describes the sports of Gautama Buddha. It is a compilation of various works by no single author and includes some material from the Sarvastivada school. The scholar P. L...

, Mahāvastu
Mahavastu
The Mahāvastu is a text of the Lokottaravāda school of Early Buddhism. It describes itself as being a historical preface to the Buddhist monastic codes...

, and the Nidānakathā. Of these, the Buddhacarita is the earliest full biography, an epic poem written by the poet Aśvaghoṣa
Asvaghosa
' was an Indian philosopher-poet, born in Saketa in northern India to a Brahmin family. He is believed to have been the first Sanskrit dramatist, and is considered the greatest Indian poet prior to Kālidāsa. He was the most famous in a group of Buddhist court writers, whose epics rivaled the...

, and dating around the beginning of the 2nd century CE. The Lalitavistara Sūtra is the next oldest biography, a Mahāyāna
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

/Sarvāstivāda
Sarvastivada
The Sarvāstivāda were an early school of Buddhism that held to 'the existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future, the 'three times'. Vasubandhu's states:-Name:...

 biography dating to the 3rd century CE. The Mahāvastu from the Mahāsāṃghika
Mahasamghika
The ' , literally the "Great Saṃgha", was one of the early Buddhist schools in ancient India.The origins of the sect of Buddhism are still extremely uncertain, and the subject of debate among scholars. One reason for the interest in the origins of the school is that their Vinaya recension appears...

 Lokottaravāda sect is another major biography, composed incrementally until perhaps the 4th century CE. The Dharmaguptaka
Dharmaguptaka
The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen or twenty early Buddhist schools, depending on one's source. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas...

 biography of the Buddha is the most exhaustive, and is entitled the Abhiniṣkramaṇa Sūtra, and various Chinese translations of this date between the 3rd and 6th century CE. Lastly, the Nidānakathā is from the Theravāda
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 sect in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, composed in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghoṣa
Buddhaghosa
Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa(Chinese: 覺音)was a 5th-century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. His best-known work is the Visuddhimagga, or Path of Purification, a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Theravada understanding of the Buddha's path to liberation...

.

From canonical sources, the Jātaka tales, Mahapadana Sutta (DN 14), and the Achariyabhuta Sutta (MN 123) include selective accounts that may be older, but are not full biographies. The Jātaka tales retell previous lives of Gautama as a bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

, and the first collection of these can be dated among the earliest Buddhist texts. The Mahāpadāna Sutta and Acchariyaabbhuta Sutta both recount miraculous events surrounding Gautama's birth, such as the bodhisattva's descent from Tuṣita Heaven into his mother's womb.

Traditional biographies of Gautama generally include numerous miracles, omens, and supernatural events. The character of the Buddha in these traditional biographies is often that of a fully transcendent (Skt. lokottara) and perfected being who is unencumbered by the mundane world. In the Mahāvastu, over the course of many lives, Gautama is said to have developed supramundane abilities including: a painless birth conceived without intercourse; no need for sleep, food, medicine, or bathing, although engaging in such "in conformity with the world"; omniscience, and the ability to "suppress karma". Nevertheless, some of the more ordinary details of his life have been gathered from these traditional sources. In modern times there has been an attempt to form a secular understanding of Siddhārtha Gautama's life by omitting the traditional supernatural elements of his early biographies.

The ancient Indians were generally unconcerned with chronologies, being more focused on philosophy. Buddhist texts reflect this tendency, providing a clearer picture of what Gautama may have taught than of the dates of the events in his life. These texts contain descriptions of the culture and daily life of ancient India which can be corroborated from the Jain scriptures
Jain Agamas
Agamas are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings. Mahavira’s preaching were orally compiled by his disciples into various Sutras which were collectively called Jain canonical or Agamic literature. Traditionally these sutras were orally passed on from teachers to the disciples...

, and make the Buddha's time the earliest period in Indian history
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 for which significant accounts exist. Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

 writes that although there is very little information that can be considered historically sound, we can be reasonably confident that Siddhārtha Gautama did exist as a historical figure. Michael Carrithers goes a bit further by stating that the most general outline of "birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death" must be true.

Conception and birth


Various sites have been identified as possible places of Gautama Buddha's birth. Prominent among them are Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, in modern day Nepal; Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

 in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

; or Kapileswara in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. and raised in the small kingdom or principality of Kapilavastu. According to the most traditional biography, the Buddha's father was King Śuddhodana
Suddhodana
King Suddhodana was the father of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. He was a leader of the Shakya people, who lived in southern Nepal. Suddhodana's father was Sinahana...

, the leader of Shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

 clan, whose capital was Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

, and who were later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

 during the Buddha's lifetime; Gautama was the family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

. His mother, Queen Maha Maya
Queen Maya
Queen Māyā of Sakya was the birth mother of the historical Gautama Buddha, Siddhārtha of the Gautama gotra, and sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha. "Māyā" means "illusion" or "enchantment" in Sanskrit and Pāli. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā and Māyādevī...

 (Māyādevī) and Suddhodana's wife, was a Koliyan princess. Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant
White elephant
A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth...

 with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months
Lunar month
In lunar calendars, a lunar month is the time between two identical syzygies . There are many variations. In Middle-Eastern and European traditions, the month starts when the young crescent moon becomes first visible at evening after conjunction with the Sun one or two days before that evening...

 later Siddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father's kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.

The day of the Buddha's birth is widely celebrated in Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 countries as Vesak
Vesak
Vesākha is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia...

. Various sources hold that the Buddha's mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later. The infant was given the name Siddhartha (Pāli: Siddhattha), meaning "he who achieves his aim". During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer
Clairvoyance
The term clairvoyance is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception...

 Asita
Asita
Asita was a hermit ascetic of ancient India in the 6th century BCE. He is best known for having predicted that Prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu would either become a great king or become a supreme religious leader ....

 journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin
Chakravartin
Chakravartin , is a term used in Indian religions for an ideal universal ruler, who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, literally meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling...

) or a great holy man
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

. By traditional account, this occurred after Siddhartha placed his feet in Asita's hair and Asita examined the birthmarks. Suddhodana held a naming ceremony on the fifth day, and invited eight brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 scholars to read the future. All gave a dual prediction that the baby would either become a great king or a great holy man. Kaundinya
Kaundinya
Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant...

 (Pali: Kondañña), the youngest, and later to be the first arahant other than the Buddha, was reputed to be the only one who unequivocally predicted that Siddhartha would become a Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

.

While later tradition and legend characterized Śuddhodana as a hereditary monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, the descendant
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 of the Solar Dynasty of
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{{Buddhism}}
Siddhārtha Gautama (
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 teacher from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, on whose teachings Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 (P. sammāsambuddha, S. samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." {{cite web
|url= http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.2.soas.1976481
|title= buddha 9276
|accessdate= 22 February 2010
|last= Turner
|first= Sir Ralph Lilley
|authorlink= Ralph Lilley Turner
|year= 1962–1985
|work= A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press
|publisher= Digital Dictionaries of South Asia, University of Chicago
|page= 525
|quote= Hypothetical root
Sister language
A sister language is a cognate language, that is, coming from the same once-existing language or hypothetical root language. The latter language is the so-called proto-language. There are many examples of sister languages...

 budh "perceive" 1. Pali buddha – "understood, enlightened", masculine
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

 "the Buddha"; Aśokan (the language of the Inscriptions of Aśoka
Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India,...

) Budhe nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

 singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

; Prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

 buddha – ‘ known, awakened ’; Waigalī būdāī, "truth"; Bashkarīk
Kalami language
Kalami is a Dardic language spoken in northern Pakistan.The language is also known as Gawri or Garwi , but this name is considered pejorative by some speakers.-Classification:...

 budh "he heard"; Tōrwālī
Torwali language
The Torwali , or Turvali, language is spoken in Kohistan and Swat districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The language is indigenous to the Torwali people who live in scattered hamlets in the mountainous upper reaches of the Swat valley, above the Pashto-speaking town of Madyan up...

 būdo preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

 of , "to see, know" from bṓdhati; Phalūṛa búddo preterite of buǰǰ , "to understand" from búdhyatē; Shina
Shina language
Shina is a Dardic language spoken by a plurality of people in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and Dras in Ladakh of Indian-Administered Kashmir. The valleys in which it is spoken include Astore, Chilas, Dareil, Tangeer, Gilgit, Ghizer, and a few parts of Baltistan and Kohistan. It is also spoken in...

 Gilgitī dialect budo, "awake"; Gurēsī dialect budyōnṷ intransitive
Intransitive verb
In grammar, an intransitive verb is a verb that has no object. This differs from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects. Both classes of verb are related to the concept of the transitivity of a verb....

 "to wake"; Kashmiri
Kashmiri language
Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir...

 bọ̆du, "quick of understanding (especially of a child)"; Sindhī
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

 ḇudho, past participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 (passive
Passive voice
Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. Passive is used in a clause whose subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb. That is, the subject undergoes an action or has its state changed. A sentence whose theme is marked as grammatical subject is...

) of ḇujhaṇu, "to understand" from búdhyatē, West Pahāṛī
Pahari languages
The Pahari languages are a geographic group of Indic languages spoken in the lower ranges of the Himalayas, from Nepal in the east to the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in the west.-Classification:The Pahari languages fall into three groups:*Eastern, consisting...

 buddhā, preterite of bujṇā, "to know"; Sinhalese buj (j written for d), budu, bud, but, "the Buddha".}}
The time of his birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 563 BCE to 483 BCE,
but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE. Based on some archeological findings and inscriptions, Buddha was born in Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, modern Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Other archeological findings postulate that Buddha was born at Kapilavastu at Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 or Kapileswara, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 and Kośala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

.

Gautama, also known as Śākyamuni ("Sage of the Śākyas
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

"), is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 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
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, he is regarded as one of the ten avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

s of God Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

. He is also regarded as a god or prophet in other world religions
Gautama Buddha in world religions
Gautama Buddha is also venerated as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í faith. Some Hindu texts say that the Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion...

 or denominations like the Ahmadiyya Islamic religious movement
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 and the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Traditional biographies


The primary sources for the life of Siddhārtha Gautama are in a variety of different and sometimes conflicting traditional biographies. These include the Buddhacarita
Buddhacarita
Buddhacharita is an epic poem in the Sanskrit mahakavya style on the life of Gautama Buddha by , composed in the 2nd century AD...

, Lalitavistara Sūtra
Lalitavistara Sutra
The Lalitavistara Sutra is a Mahayana Buddhist Vaipulya sutra that describes the sports of Gautama Buddha. It is a compilation of various works by no single author and includes some material from the Sarvastivada school. The scholar P. L...

, Mahāvastu
Mahavastu
The Mahāvastu is a text of the Lokottaravāda school of Early Buddhism. It describes itself as being a historical preface to the Buddhist monastic codes...

, and the Nidānakathā. Of these, the Buddhacarita is the earliest full biography, an epic poem written by the poet Aśvaghoṣa
Asvaghosa
' was an Indian philosopher-poet, born in Saketa in northern India to a Brahmin family. He is believed to have been the first Sanskrit dramatist, and is considered the greatest Indian poet prior to Kālidāsa. He was the most famous in a group of Buddhist court writers, whose epics rivaled the...

, and dating around the beginning of the 2nd century CE. The Lalitavistara Sūtra is the next oldest biography, a Mahāyāna
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

/Sarvāstivāda
Sarvastivada
The Sarvāstivāda were an early school of Buddhism that held to 'the existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future, the 'three times'. Vasubandhu's states:-Name:...

 biography dating to the 3rd century CE. The Mahāvastu from the Mahāsāṃghika
Mahasamghika
The ' , literally the "Great Saṃgha", was one of the early Buddhist schools in ancient India.The origins of the sect of Buddhism are still extremely uncertain, and the subject of debate among scholars. One reason for the interest in the origins of the school is that their Vinaya recension appears...

 Lokottaravāda sect is another major biography, composed incrementally until perhaps the 4th century CE. The Dharmaguptaka
Dharmaguptaka
The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen or twenty early Buddhist schools, depending on one's source. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas...

 biography of the Buddha is the most exhaustive, and is entitled the Abhiniṣkramaṇa Sūtra, and various Chinese translations of this date between the 3rd and 6th century CE. Lastly, the Nidānakathā is from the Theravāda
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 sect in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, composed in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghoṣa
Buddhaghosa
Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa(Chinese: 覺音)was a 5th-century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. His best-known work is the Visuddhimagga, or Path of Purification, a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Theravada understanding of the Buddha's path to liberation...

.

From canonical sources, the Jātaka tales, Mahapadana Sutta (DN 14), and the Achariyabhuta Sutta (MN 123) include selective accounts that may be older, but are not full biographies. The Jātaka tales retell previous lives of Gautama as a bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

, and the first collection of these can be dated among the earliest Buddhist texts. The Mahāpadāna Sutta and Acchariyaabbhuta Sutta both recount miraculous events surrounding Gautama's birth, such as the bodhisattva's descent from Tuṣita Heaven into his mother's womb.

Traditional biographies of Gautama generally include numerous miracles, omens, and supernatural events. The character of the Buddha in these traditional biographies is often that of a fully transcendent (Skt. lokottara) and perfected being who is unencumbered by the mundane world. In the Mahāvastu, over the course of many lives, Gautama is said to have developed supramundane abilities including: a painless birth conceived without intercourse; no need for sleep, food, medicine, or bathing, although engaging in such "in conformity with the world"; omniscience, and the ability to "suppress karma". Nevertheless, some of the more ordinary details of his life have been gathered from these traditional sources. In modern times there has been an attempt to form a secular understanding of Siddhārtha Gautama's life by omitting the traditional supernatural elements of his early biographies.

The ancient Indians were generally unconcerned with chronologies, being more focused on philosophy. Buddhist texts reflect this tendency, providing a clearer picture of what Gautama may have taught than of the dates of the events in his life. These texts contain descriptions of the culture and daily life of ancient India which can be corroborated from the Jain scriptures
Jain Agamas
Agamas are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings. Mahavira’s preaching were orally compiled by his disciples into various Sutras which were collectively called Jain canonical or Agamic literature. Traditionally these sutras were orally passed on from teachers to the disciples...

, and make the Buddha's time the earliest period in Indian history
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 for which significant accounts exist.{{Full}} Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

 writes that although there is very little information that can be considered historically sound, we can be reasonably confident that Siddhārtha Gautama did exist as a historical figure. Michael Carrithers goes a bit further by stating that the most general outline of "birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death" must be true.{{Full}}

Conception and birth


Various sites have been identified as possible places of Gautama Buddha's birth. Prominent among them are Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, in modern day Nepal; Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

 in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

; or Kapileswara in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. and raised in the small kingdom or principality of Kapilavastu. According to the most traditional biography,{{Which?|date=November 2010}} the Buddha's father was King Śuddhodana
Suddhodana
King Suddhodana was the father of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. He was a leader of the Shakya people, who lived in southern Nepal. Suddhodana's father was Sinahana...

, the leader of Shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

 clan, whose capital was Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

, and who were later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

 during the Buddha's lifetime; Gautama was the family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

. His mother, Queen Maha Maya
Queen Maya
Queen Māyā of Sakya was the birth mother of the historical Gautama Buddha, Siddhārtha of the Gautama gotra, and sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha. "Māyā" means "illusion" or "enchantment" in Sanskrit and Pāli. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā and Māyādevī...

 (Māyādevī) and Suddhodana's wife, was a Koliyan princess. Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant
White elephant
A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth...

 with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months
Lunar month
In lunar calendars, a lunar month is the time between two identical syzygies . There are many variations. In Middle-Eastern and European traditions, the month starts when the young crescent moon becomes first visible at evening after conjunction with the Sun one or two days before that evening...

 later Siddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father's kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.

The day of the Buddha's birth is widely celebrated in Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 countries as Vesak
Vesak
Vesākha is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia...

. Various sources hold that the Buddha's mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later. The infant was given the name Siddhartha (Pāli: Siddhattha), meaning "he who achieves his aim". During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer
Clairvoyance
The term clairvoyance is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception...

 Asita
Asita
Asita was a hermit ascetic of ancient India in the 6th century BCE. He is best known for having predicted that Prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu would either become a great king or become a supreme religious leader ....

 journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin
Chakravartin
Chakravartin , is a term used in Indian religions for an ideal universal ruler, who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, literally meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling...

) or a great holy man
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

. By traditional account,{{Which?|date=November 2010}} this occurred after Siddhartha placed his feet in Asita's hair and Asita examined the birthmarks. Suddhodana held a naming ceremony on the fifth day, and invited eight brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 scholars to read the future. All gave a dual prediction that the baby would either become a great king or a great holy man. Kaundinya
Kaundinya
Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant...

 (Pali: Kondañña), the youngest, and later to be the first arahant other than the Buddha, was reputed to be the only one who unequivocally predicted that Siddhartha would become a Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

.

While later tradition and legend characterized Śuddhodana as a hereditary monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, the descendant
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 of the Solar Dynasty of
{{Redirect4|Buddha|Gautama}}
{{disputed|date=November 2011}}
{{original research|date=November 2011}}
{{pp-semi-indef}}{{pp-move-indef}}

{{Buddhism}}
Siddhārtha Gautama (
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 teacher from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, on whose teachings Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 (P. sammāsambuddha, S. samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." {{cite web
|url= http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.2.soas.1976481
|title= buddha 9276
|accessdate= 22 February 2010
|last= Turner
|first= Sir Ralph Lilley
|authorlink= Ralph Lilley Turner
|year= 1962–1985
|work= A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press
|publisher= Digital Dictionaries of South Asia, University of Chicago
|page= 525
|quote= Hypothetical root
Sister language
A sister language is a cognate language, that is, coming from the same once-existing language or hypothetical root language. The latter language is the so-called proto-language. There are many examples of sister languages...

 budh "perceive" 1. Pali buddha – "understood, enlightened", masculine
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

 "the Buddha"; Aśokan (the language of the Inscriptions of Aśoka
Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India,...

) Budhe nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

 singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

; Prakrit
Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

 buddha – ‘ known, awakened ’; Waigalī būdāī, "truth"; Bashkarīk
Kalami language
Kalami is a Dardic language spoken in northern Pakistan.The language is also known as Gawri or Garwi , but this name is considered pejorative by some speakers.-Classification:...

 budh "he heard"; Tōrwālī
Torwali language
The Torwali , or Turvali, language is spoken in Kohistan and Swat districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The language is indigenous to the Torwali people who live in scattered hamlets in the mountainous upper reaches of the Swat valley, above the Pashto-speaking town of Madyan up...

 būdo preterite
Preterite
The preterite is the grammatical tense expressing actions that took place or were completed in the past...

 of , "to see, know" from bṓdhati; Phalūṛa búddo preterite of buǰǰ , "to understand" from búdhyatē; Shina
Shina language
Shina is a Dardic language spoken by a plurality of people in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and Dras in Ladakh of Indian-Administered Kashmir. The valleys in which it is spoken include Astore, Chilas, Dareil, Tangeer, Gilgit, Ghizer, and a few parts of Baltistan and Kohistan. It is also spoken in...

 Gilgitī dialect budo, "awake"; Gurēsī dialect budyōnṷ intransitive
Intransitive verb
In grammar, an intransitive verb is a verb that has no object. This differs from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects. Both classes of verb are related to the concept of the transitivity of a verb....

 "to wake"; Kashmiri
Kashmiri language
Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir...

 bọ̆du, "quick of understanding (especially of a child)"; Sindhī
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

 ḇudho, past participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 (passive
Passive voice
Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. Passive is used in a clause whose subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb. That is, the subject undergoes an action or has its state changed. A sentence whose theme is marked as grammatical subject is...

) of ḇujhaṇu, "to understand" from búdhyatē, West Pahāṛī
Pahari languages
The Pahari languages are a geographic group of Indic languages spoken in the lower ranges of the Himalayas, from Nepal in the east to the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in the west.-Classification:The Pahari languages fall into three groups:*Eastern, consisting...

 buddhā, preterite of bujṇā, "to know"; Sinhalese buj (j written for d), budu, bud, but, "the Buddha".}}
The time of his birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 563 BCE to 483 BCE,
but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE. Based on some archeological findings and inscriptions, Buddha was born in Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, modern Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Other archeological findings postulate that Buddha was born at Kapilavastu at Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 or Kapileswara, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, modern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 and Kośala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

.

Gautama, also known as Śākyamuni ("Sage of the Śākyas
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

"), is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 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
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, he is regarded as one of the ten avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

s of God Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

. He is also regarded as a god or prophet in other world religions
Gautama Buddha in world religions
Gautama Buddha is also venerated as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í faith. Some Hindu texts say that the Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion...

 or denominations like the Ahmadiyya Islamic religious movement
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 and the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Traditional biographies


The primary sources for the life of Siddhārtha Gautama are in a variety of different and sometimes conflicting traditional biographies. These include the Buddhacarita
Buddhacarita
Buddhacharita is an epic poem in the Sanskrit mahakavya style on the life of Gautama Buddha by , composed in the 2nd century AD...

, Lalitavistara Sūtra
Lalitavistara Sutra
The Lalitavistara Sutra is a Mahayana Buddhist Vaipulya sutra that describes the sports of Gautama Buddha. It is a compilation of various works by no single author and includes some material from the Sarvastivada school. The scholar P. L...

, Mahāvastu
Mahavastu
The Mahāvastu is a text of the Lokottaravāda school of Early Buddhism. It describes itself as being a historical preface to the Buddhist monastic codes...

, and the Nidānakathā. Of these, the Buddhacarita is the earliest full biography, an epic poem written by the poet Aśvaghoṣa
Asvaghosa
' was an Indian philosopher-poet, born in Saketa in northern India to a Brahmin family. He is believed to have been the first Sanskrit dramatist, and is considered the greatest Indian poet prior to Kālidāsa. He was the most famous in a group of Buddhist court writers, whose epics rivaled the...

, and dating around the beginning of the 2nd century CE. The Lalitavistara Sūtra is the next oldest biography, a Mahāyāna
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

/Sarvāstivāda
Sarvastivada
The Sarvāstivāda were an early school of Buddhism that held to 'the existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future, the 'three times'. Vasubandhu's states:-Name:...

 biography dating to the 3rd century CE. The Mahāvastu from the Mahāsāṃghika
Mahasamghika
The ' , literally the "Great Saṃgha", was one of the early Buddhist schools in ancient India.The origins of the sect of Buddhism are still extremely uncertain, and the subject of debate among scholars. One reason for the interest in the origins of the school is that their Vinaya recension appears...

 Lokottaravāda sect is another major biography, composed incrementally until perhaps the 4th century CE. The Dharmaguptaka
Dharmaguptaka
The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen or twenty early Buddhist schools, depending on one's source. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas...

 biography of the Buddha is the most exhaustive, and is entitled the Abhiniṣkramaṇa Sūtra, and various Chinese translations of this date between the 3rd and 6th century CE. Lastly, the Nidānakathā is from the Theravāda
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 sect in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, composed in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghoṣa
Buddhaghosa
Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa(Chinese: 覺音)was a 5th-century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. His best-known work is the Visuddhimagga, or Path of Purification, a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Theravada understanding of the Buddha's path to liberation...

.

From canonical sources, the Jātaka tales, Mahapadana Sutta (DN 14), and the Achariyabhuta Sutta (MN 123) include selective accounts that may be older, but are not full biographies. The Jātaka tales retell previous lives of Gautama as a bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

, and the first collection of these can be dated among the earliest Buddhist texts. The Mahāpadāna Sutta and Acchariyaabbhuta Sutta both recount miraculous events surrounding Gautama's birth, such as the bodhisattva's descent from Tuṣita Heaven into his mother's womb.

Traditional biographies of Gautama generally include numerous miracles, omens, and supernatural events. The character of the Buddha in these traditional biographies is often that of a fully transcendent (Skt. lokottara) and perfected being who is unencumbered by the mundane world. In the Mahāvastu, over the course of many lives, Gautama is said to have developed supramundane abilities including: a painless birth conceived without intercourse; no need for sleep, food, medicine, or bathing, although engaging in such "in conformity with the world"; omniscience, and the ability to "suppress karma". Nevertheless, some of the more ordinary details of his life have been gathered from these traditional sources. In modern times there has been an attempt to form a secular understanding of Siddhārtha Gautama's life by omitting the traditional supernatural elements of his early biographies.

The ancient Indians were generally unconcerned with chronologies, being more focused on philosophy. Buddhist texts reflect this tendency, providing a clearer picture of what Gautama may have taught than of the dates of the events in his life. These texts contain descriptions of the culture and daily life of ancient India which can be corroborated from the Jain scriptures
Jain Agamas
Agamas are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings. Mahavira’s preaching were orally compiled by his disciples into various Sutras which were collectively called Jain canonical or Agamic literature. Traditionally these sutras were orally passed on from teachers to the disciples...

, and make the Buddha's time the earliest period in Indian history
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 for which significant accounts exist.{{Full}} Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

 writes that although there is very little information that can be considered historically sound, we can be reasonably confident that Siddhārtha Gautama did exist as a historical figure. Michael Carrithers goes a bit further by stating that the most general outline of "birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death" must be true.{{Full}}

Conception and birth


Various sites have been identified as possible places of Gautama Buddha's birth. Prominent among them are Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, in modern day Nepal; Piprahwa
Piprahwa
Piprahwa is a village in the Basti district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies in the historical Kapilavastu region associated with Gautama Buddha. There is a stupa and some old walls and wells. From this village Lumbini, Nepal, is just 16 km and the border of Nepal is just...

 in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

; or Kapileswara in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. and raised in the small kingdom or principality of Kapilavastu. According to the most traditional biography,{{Which?|date=November 2010}} the Buddha's father was King Śuddhodana
Suddhodana
King Suddhodana was the father of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. He was a leader of the Shakya people, who lived in southern Nepal. Suddhodana's father was Sinahana...

, the leader of Shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

 clan, whose capital was Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

, and who were later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

 during the Buddha's lifetime; Gautama was the family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

. His mother, Queen Maha Maya
Queen Maya
Queen Māyā of Sakya was the birth mother of the historical Gautama Buddha, Siddhārtha of the Gautama gotra, and sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha. "Māyā" means "illusion" or "enchantment" in Sanskrit and Pāli. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā and Māyādevī...

 (Māyādevī) and Suddhodana's wife, was a Koliyan princess. Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant
White elephant
A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth...

 with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months
Lunar month
In lunar calendars, a lunar month is the time between two identical syzygies . There are many variations. In Middle-Eastern and European traditions, the month starts when the young crescent moon becomes first visible at evening after conjunction with the Sun one or two days before that evening...

 later Siddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father's kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.

The day of the Buddha's birth is widely celebrated in Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 countries as Vesak
Vesak
Vesākha is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia...

. Various sources hold that the Buddha's mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later. The infant was given the name Siddhartha (Pāli: Siddhattha), meaning "he who achieves his aim". During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer
Clairvoyance
The term clairvoyance is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception...

 Asita
Asita
Asita was a hermit ascetic of ancient India in the 6th century BCE. He is best known for having predicted that Prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu would either become a great king or become a supreme religious leader ....

 journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin
Chakravartin
Chakravartin , is a term used in Indian religions for an ideal universal ruler, who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, literally meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling...

) or a great holy man
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

. By traditional account,{{Which?|date=November 2010}} this occurred after Siddhartha placed his feet in Asita's hair and Asita examined the birthmarks. Suddhodana held a naming ceremony on the fifth day, and invited eight brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 scholars to read the future. All gave a dual prediction that the baby would either become a great king or a great holy man. Kaundinya
Kaundinya
Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant...

 (Pali: Kondañña), the youngest, and later to be the first arahant other than the Buddha, was reputed to be the only one who unequivocally predicted that Siddhartha would become a Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

.

While later tradition and legend characterized Śuddhodana as a hereditary monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, the descendant
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

 of the Solar Dynasty of {{IAST
Ikshvaku
Ikshvaku pāli: Okkāka) was the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India.-In Hinduism:He is remembered in Hindu scriptures as a righteous and glorious king...

 (Pāli: Okkāka), many scholars think that Śuddhodana was the elected chief of a tribal confederacy.

Early texts suggest that Gautama was not familiar with the dominant religious teachings of his time until he left on his religious quest, which is said to have been motivated by existential concern for the human condition. At the time, many small city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s existed in Ancient India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, called Janapadas
Mahajanapadas
Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...

. Republics and chiefdoms with diffused political power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 and limited social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

, were not uncommon amongst them, and were referred to as gana-sanghas. The Buddha's community does not seem to have had a caste system. It was not a monarchy, and seems to have been structured either as an oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

, or as a form of republic. The more egalitarian gana-sangha form of government, as a political alternative to the strongly hierarchical kingdoms, may have influenced the development of the Shramana
Shramana
A shramana is a wandering monk in certain ascetic traditions of ancient India including Jainism, Buddhism, and Ājīvikism. Famous śramaṇas include Mahavira and Gautama Buddha....

-type Jain and Buddhist sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

s, where monarchies tended toward Vedic Brahmanism.

Early life and marriage


Siddhartha was brought up by his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati
Mahapajapati Gotami
Mahāpajābatī Gotamī was the first woman to request ordination from the Buddha and to join the Saṅgha...

. By tradition, he is said to have been destined by birth to the life of a prince, and had three palaces (for seasonal occupation) built for him. Although more recent scholarship doubts this status, his father, said to be King Śuddhodana, wishing for his son to be a great king, is said to have shielded him from religious teachings and from knowledge of human suffering
Dukkha
Dukkha is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, social alienation, anxiety,...

.

When he reached the age of 16, his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yaśodharā
Yashodhara
Princess Yasodharā was the wife of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.She later entered the order of Buddhist nuns and is considered an Arahant.-Life:...

 (Pāli: Yasodharā). According to the traditional account,{{Which?|date=November 2010}} she gave birth to a son, named Rahula
Rahula
Rāhula was the only son of Siddhartha Gautama , later known as the Buddha, and his wife Princess Yasodharā.Accounts of his life differ in certain points. The following is that given in the Pāli Canon.- Life :...

. Siddhartha is then said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life's ultimate goal.

Departure and ascetic life



At the age of 29, the popular biography continues, Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father's efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man. When his charioteer Channa
Channa (Buddhist)
Channa - The Divine Charioteer was a royal servant and head charioteer of Prince Siddhartha, who was to become the Buddha...

 explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these he encountered a disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

d man, a decaying corpse
Body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

, and an ascetic
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome ageing, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.

Accompanied by Channa and aboard his horse Kanthaka
Kanthaka
Kanthaka was a favourite white horse of length eighteen cubits that was a royal servant of Prince Siddhartha, who later became Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha used Kanthaka in all major events described in Buddhist texts prior to his renunciation of the world...

, Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant
Mendicant
The term mendicant refers to begging or relying on charitable donations, and is most widely used for religious followers or ascetics who rely exclusively on charity to survive....

. It's said that, "the horse's hooves were muffled by the gods" to prevent guards from knowing of his departure.

Gautama initially went to Rajagaha
Rajgir
Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have...

 and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. Having been recognised by the men of King Bimbisara
Bimbisara
Bimbisara was a King, and later, Emperor of the Magadha empire from 543 BC to his death and belonged to the Hariyanka dynasty.-Career:There are many accounts of Bimbisara in the Jain texts and the Buddhist Jatakas, since he was a contemporary of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He was the king of...

, Bimbisara offered him the throne after hearing of Siddhartha's quest. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 first, upon attaining enlightenment.

He left Rajagaha and practised under two hermit teachers. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama (Skr. Ārāḍa Kālāma), he was asked by Kalama to succeed him. However, Gautama felt unsatisfied by the practise, and moved on to become a student of Udaka Ramaputta (Skr. Udraka Rāmaputra). With him he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness, and was again asked to succeed his teacher. But, once more, he was not satisfied, and again moved on.

Siddhartha and a group of five companions led by Kaundinya
Kaundinya
Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant...

 are then said to have set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practising self-mortification
Mortification of the flesh
Mortification of the flesh literally means "putting the flesh to death". The term is primarily used in religious and spiritual contexts. The institutional and traditional terminology of this practice in Catholicism is corporal mortification....

. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path. Then, he remembered a moment in childhood in which he had been watching his father start the season's plowing. He attained a concentrated and focused state that was blissful and refreshing, the jhāna.

Enlightenment


According to the early Buddhist texts, after realizing that meditative jhana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism didn't work, Gautama discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way
Middle way
The Middle Way or Middle Path is the descriptive term that Siddhartha Gautama used to describe the character of the path he discovered that led to liberation. It was coined in the very first teaching that he delivered after his enlightenment...

—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence
Hedonism
Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure .-Etymology:The name derives from the Greek word for "delight" ....

 and self-mortification. In a famous incident, after becoming starved and weakened, he is said to have accepted milk and rice pudding
Rice pudding
Rice pudding is a dish made from rice mixed with water or milk and sometimes other ingredients such as cinnamon and raisins. Different variants are used for either desserts or dinners. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener such as sugar.-Rice pudding around the world:Rice...

 from a village girl named Sujata
Sujata
Sujātā is a Sanskrit word meaning "from a good family origin". Su means 'good' and jātā implies jāti or 'caste'. Thus the implied and correct meaning of the word Sujata means 'of good caste' or 'the well born'. It has to be noted here that the caste-system is the spine of social Hinduism...

. Such was his emaciated appearance that she wrongly believed him to be a spirit that had granted her a wish.

Following this incident, Gautama was famously seated under a pipal
Sacred Fig
The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree , Peepal is a species of banyan fig native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina...

 tree—now known as the Bodhi tree
Bodhi tree
The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo , was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree located in Bodh Gaya , under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi...

—in Bodh Gaya, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. Kaundinya
Kaundinya
Kaundinya also known as Ajnata Kaundinya was a Buddhist bhikkhu in the sangha of Gautama Buddha and the first to become an arahant...

 and four other companions, believing that he had abandoned his search and become undisciplined, left. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment
Bodhi
Bodhi is both a Pāli and Sanskrit word traditionally translated into English with the word "enlightenment", but which means awakened. In Buddhism it is the knowledge possessed by a Buddha into the nature of things...

. According to some traditions, this occurred in approximately the fifth lunar month, while, according to others, it was in the twelfth month. From that time, Gautama was known to his followers as the Buddha or "Awakened One" ("Buddha" is also sometimes translated as "The Enlightened One"). He is often referred to in Buddhism as Shakyamuni Buddha, or "The Awakened One of the Shakya Clan."

According to Buddhism, at the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the "Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are an important principle in Buddhism, classically taught by the Buddha in the Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra....

", which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for any being. The Buddha described Nirvāna as the perfect peace of a mind that's free from ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states, or "defilements" (kilesas). Nirvana is also regarded as the "end of the world", in that no personal identity or boundaries of the mind remain. In such a state, a being is said to possess the Ten Characteristics, belonging to every Buddha.

According to a story in the Āyācana Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya VI.1) — a scripture found in the Pāli
Páli
- External links :* *...

 and other canons — immediately after his awakening, the Buddha debated whether or not he should teach the Dharma
Dharma (Buddhism)
Dhamma or Dharma in Buddhism can have the following meanings:* The state of Nature as it is * The Laws of Nature considered collectively....

to others. He was concerned that humans were so overpowered by ignorance, greed and hatred that they could never recognise the path, which is subtle, deep and hard to grasp. However, in the story, Brahmā Sahampati convinced him, arguing that at least some will understand it. The Buddha relented, and agreed to teach.

Formation of the sangha


After his awakening, the Buddha met two merchants, named Tapussa and Bhallika, who became his first lay disciples. They were apparently each given hairs from his head, which are now claimed to be enshrined as relics in the Shwe Dagon Temple in Rangoon, Burma. The Buddha intended to visit Asita
Asita
Asita was a hermit ascetic of ancient India in the 6th century BCE. He is best known for having predicted that Prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu would either become a great king or become a supreme religious leader ....

, and his former teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, to explain his findings, but they had already died.

He then travelled to the Deer Park
Sarnath
Sarnath or Sārnātha is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Sarnath is located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, India...

 near {{IAST
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 (Benares) in northern India, where he set in motion what Buddhists call the Wheel of Dharma
Dharmacakra
The Dharmachakra , lit. "Wheel of Dharma" or "Wheel of Life" is a symbol that has represented dharma, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment, since the early period of Indian Buddhism. A similar symbol is also in use in Jainism...

 by delivering his first sermon to the five companions with whom he had sought enlightenment. Together with him, they formed the first {{IAST
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

: the company of Buddhist monks.

All five become arahants, and within the first two months, with the conversion of Yasa
Yasa
Yasa was a bhikkhu during the time of Gautama Buddha. He was the sixth bhikkhu in the Buddha’s sangha and was the sixth to achieve arahanthood. Yasa lived in the 6th century BCE in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India....

 and fifty four of his friends, the number of such arahants is said to have grown to 60. The conversion of three brothers named Kassapa followed, with their reputed 200, 300 and 500 disciples, respectively. This swelled the sangha to more than 1000.

Travels and teaching


For the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain, in what is now Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and southern Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, teaching a diverse range of people: from nobles to outcaste street sweepers, murderers such as Angulimala
Angulimala
Daku Angulimala is an important early figure in Buddhism, particularly within the Theravada suttas...

, and cannibals such as Alavaka. From the outset, Buddhism was equally open to all races and classes, and had no caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

 structure, as was the rule in Hinduism. 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
Páli
- External links :* *...

 may be a standardization.

The sangha traveled through the subcontinent, expounding the dharma. This continued throughout the year, except during the four months of the vassana 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
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 when the sangha was formed. After this, the Buddha kept a promise to travel to Rajagaha, capital of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

, to visit King Bimbisara
Bimbisara
Bimbisara was a King, and later, Emperor of the Magadha empire from 543 BC to his death and belonged to the Hariyanka dynasty.-Career:There are many accounts of Bimbisara in the Jain texts and the Buddhist Jatakas, since he was a contemporary of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He was the king of...

. During this visit, Sariputta and Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyāyana , , also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna, was one of the Śākyamuni Buddha's closest disciples. A contemporary of famous arhats such as Subhūti, Śāriputra, and Mahākāśyapa, he is considered the second of the Buddha's two foremost disciples , together with Śāriputra...

 were converted by Assaji
Assaji
Assaji was one of the first five arahants of Gautama Buddha. He is known for his conversion of Sariputta and Mahamoggallana, the Buddha's two chief male disciples, counterparts to the nuns Khema and Uppalavanna, the chief female disciples...

, 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, capital of Magadha.

Upon hearing of his son's awakening, Suddhodana sent, over a period, ten delegations to ask him to return to Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu
Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

. 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:

{{quote|"Ours is the warrior lineage of Mahamassata, and not a single warrior has gone seeking alms"}}

The Buddha is said to have replied:

{{quote|"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
Sotapanna
In Buddhism, a Sotāpanna , Srotāpanna , or "stream-winner" is a person who has eradicated the first three fetters of the mind. Sotapanna literally means "one who entered the stream ", after a metaphor which calls the Noble Eightfold Path, 'a stream'...

. During the visit, many members of the royal family joined the sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

. The Buddha's cousins Ananda
Ananda
Ānanda was one of the principal disciples and a devout attendant of the Buddha. Amongst the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda had the most retentive memory and most of the suttas in the Sutta Pitaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council...

 and Anuruddha
Anuruddha
Anuruddha was one of the five head disciples and a cousin of Gautama Buddha.-Early years:Anuruddha was the son of Sukkhodana and brother to Mahanama. Since Sukkhodana was the brother of Suddhodana, king of the Sakyas in Kapilavastu, Anuruddha was cousin to Siddhartha, . He was a kshatriya by...

 became two of his five chief disciples. At the age of seven, his son Rahula
Rahula
Rāhula was the only son of Siddhartha Gautama , later known as the Buddha, and his wife Princess Yasodharā.Accounts of his life differ in certain points. The following is that given in the Pāli Canon.- Life :...

 also joined, and became one of his ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda
Nanda
Nanda is a surname of Punjabis . Nanda is a Tarkhan , Ahluwalia and Kamboj surname. All the clans of Tarkhan , Lohar, Gujjar, Kamboj, Ahluwalia tribes have a close genetic and ancestral relationship with each other, and together they form the Khatri/Rajput caste.-Among Kamboj people:*Nanda is a...

 also joined and became an arahant.

Of the Buddha's disciples, Sariputta, Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyāyana , , also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna, was one of the Śākyamuni Buddha's closest disciples. A contemporary of famous arhats such as Subhūti, Śāriputra, and Mahākāśyapa, he is considered the second of the Buddha's two foremost disciples , together with Śāriputra...

, Mahakasyapa
Mahakasyapa
Mahākāśyapa or Kāśyapa was a brahman of Magadha, who became one of the principal disciples of Śākyamuni Buddha and who convened and directed the first council. Mahākāśyapa is one of the most revered of the Buddha's early disciples, foremost in ascetic practices...

, Ananda and Anuruddha are believed to have been the five closest to him. His ten foremost disciples were reputedly completed by the quintet of Upali
Upali
Upali was a monk, one of the ten chief disciples of the Buddha. Before joining the order, he worked as a barber. He asked the Buddha if a person of "low birth" such as he could join the order...

, Subhoti, Rahula, Mahakaccana and Punna
Punna
', also called ', was an arahant and one of the ten leading disciples of the Buddha.When asked by the Buddha what he would think if people were to assault or kill him, each time explained how he would find himself fortunate. As a result, the Buddha commended on his self-control and peacefulness....

.

In the fifth vassana, the Buddha was staying at Mahavana near Vesali when he heard news of the impending death of his father. He is said to have gone to Suddhodana and taught the dharma, after which his father became an arahant.

The king's death and cremation was to inspire the creation of an order of nuns. Buddhist texts record that the Buddha was reluctant to ordain women. His foster mother Maha Pajapati, for example, approached him, asking to join the sangha, but he refused. Maha Pajapati, however, was so intent on the path of awakening that she led a group of royal Sakyan and Koliyan ladies, which followed the sangha on a long journey to Rajagaha. In time, after Ananda championed their cause, the Buddha is said to have reconsidered and, five years after the formation of the sangha, agreed to the ordination of women as nuns. He reasoned that males and females had an equal capacity for awakening. But he gave women additional rules (Vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

) to follow.


Assassination attempts


According to colorful legends, even during the Buddha's life the sangha was not free of dissent and discord. For example, Devadatta
Devadatta
Devadatta was by tradition a Buddhist monk, cousin and brother-in-law of Gautama Siddārtha, the Śākyamuni Buddha, and brother of Ānanda, a principal student of the Buddha...

, a cousin of Gautama who became a monk but not an arahant, more than once tried to kill him.

Initially, Devadatta is alleged to have often tried to undermine the Buddha. In one instance, according to stories, Devadatta even asked the Buddha to stand aside and let him lead the sangha. When this failed, he is accused of having three times tried to kill his teacher. The first attempt is said to have involved him hiring a group of archers to shoot the awakened one. But, upon meeting the Buddha, they laid down their bows and instead became followers. A second attempt is said to have involved Devadatta rolling a boulder down a hill. But this hit another rock and splintered, only grazing the Buddha's foot. In the third attempt, Devadatta is said to have got an elephant drunk and set it loose. This ruse also failed.

After his lack of success at homicide, Devadatta is said to have tried to create a schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

 in the sangha, by proposing extra restrictions on the vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

. When the Buddha again prevailed, Devadatta started a breakaway order. At first, he managed to convert some of the bhikkhus, but Sariputta and Maudgalyayana are said to have expounded the dharma so effectively that they were won back.

Mahaparinirvana



According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta
Mahaparinibbana Sutta
For the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra see Nirvana Sutra.----The Mahaparinibbana Sutta is a Theravada Buddhist sutta in the Digha Nikaya of the Tipitaka...

 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
Cunda (Buddhism)
In Buddhism in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta Kunda was a blacksmith who gave the last meal of either mushrooms or pork to Buddha. The Buddha fell violently ill but told Cunda not to worry. Buddha recovered from his illness before he attained parinirvana....

. Falling violently ill, Buddha instructed his attendant Ānanda
Ananda
Ānanda was one of the principal disciples and a devout attendant of the Buddha. Amongst the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda had the most retentive memory and most of the suttas in the Sutta Pitaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council...

 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 mesenteric
Superior mesenteric artery syndrome
Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is a very rare, life-threatening gastro-vascular disorder characterized by a compression of the third portion of the duodenum by the abdominal aorta and the overlying superior mesenteric artery...

 infarction
Infarction
In medicine, infarction refers to tissue death that is caused by a local lack of oxygen due to obstruction of the tissue's blood supply. The resulting lesion is referred to as an infarct.-Causes:...

, a symptom of old age, rather than food poisoning. The precise contents of the Buddha's final meal are not clear, due to variant scriptural traditions and ambiguity over the translation of certain significant terms; the Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 tradition generally believes that the Buddha was offered some kind of pork, while the Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 tradition believes that the Buddha consumed some sort of truffle or other mushroom. These may reflect the different traditional views on Buddhist vegetarianism and the precepts for monks and nuns.

Ananda protested the Buddha's decision to enter Parinirvana in the abandoned jungles of Kuśināra
Kushinagar
Kushinagar , Kusinagar or Kusinara is a town and a nagar panchayat in Kushinagar district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained Parinirvana after his death.-Demographics: India census, Kushinagar had a...

 (present-day Kushinagar, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

) of the Malla
Malla (India)
Malla was one of the solasa mahajanapadas of ancient India mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya. It was named after the ruling clan of the same name. The Mahabharata mentions the territory as the Mallarashtra . The Malla mahajanapada was situated north of Magadha. It was a small mahajanapada...

 kingdom. Buddha, however, is said to have reminded Ananda how Kushinara was a land once ruled by a righteous wheel-turning king that resounded with joy:

{{quote|44. Kusavati, Ananda, resounded unceasingly day and night with ten sounds—the trumpeting of elephants, the neighing of horses, the rattling of chariots, the beating of drums and tabours, music and song, cheers, the clapping of hands, and cries of "Eat, drink, and be merry!"}}

The Buddha then asked all the attendant Bhikkhu
Bhikkhu
A Bhikkhu or Bhikṣu is an ordained male Buddhist monastic. A female monastic is called a Bhikkhuni Nepali: ). The life of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is governed by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the vinaya's framework of monastic discipline...

s to clarify any doubts or questions they had. They had none. According to Buddhist scriptures, he then finally entered Parinirvana. The Buddha's final words are reported to have been: "All composite things pass away. Strive for your own liberation with diligence." His body was cremated and the relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. For example, The Temple of the Tooth
Temple of the Tooth
Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is...

 or "Dalada Maligawa" in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 is the place where what some believe to be the relic of the right tooth of Buddha
Relic of the tooth of the Buddha
The Sacred Relic of the tooth of Buddha is venerated in Sri Lanka as a relic of the founder of Buddhism.-The relic in India:...

 is kept at present.

According to the Pāli historical chronicles of Sri Lanka, the {{IAST
Dipavamsa
The Dipavamsa, or "Deepavamsa", is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka.It means Chronicle of the Island. The chronicle is believe to be compiled from Atthakatha and other sources around the 3-4th century. Together with Mahavamsa, it is the source of many accounts of ancient history of Sri...

 and {{IAST
Mahavamsa
The Mahavamsa is a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the kings of Sri Lanka...

, the coronation of Aśoka (Pāli: Asoka) is 218 years after the death of Buddha. According to two textual records in Chinese ({{lang|zh|十八部論}} and {{lang|zh|部執異論}}), the coronation of Aśoka is 116 years after the death of Buddha. Therefore, the time of Buddha's passing is either 486 BCE according to Theravāda record or 383 BCE according to Mahayana record. However, the actual date traditionally accepted as the date of the Buddha's death in Theravāda countries is 544 or 543 BCE, because the reign of Aśoka was traditionally reckoned to be about 60 years earlier than current estimates.

At his death, the Buddha is famously believed to have told his disciples to follow no leader. Mahakasyapa
Mahakasyapa
Mahākāśyapa or Kāśyapa was a brahman of Magadha, who became one of the principal disciples of Śākyamuni Buddha and who convened and directed the first council. Mahākāśyapa is one of the most revered of the Buddha's early disciples, foremost in ascetic practices...

 was chosen by the sangha to be the chairman of the First Buddhist Council
First Buddhist council
The First Buddhist council was convened in the year following the Buddha's Parinibbana, which is 543–542 BCE according to Theravada tradition, at various earlier dates according to certain Mahayana traditions, and various later dates according to certain Western estimates. According to late...

, with the two chief disciples Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyayana
Maudgalyāyana , , also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna, was one of the Śākyamuni Buddha's closest disciples. A contemporary of famous arhats such as Subhūti, Śāriputra, and Mahākāśyapa, he is considered the second of the Buddha's two foremost disciples , together with Śāriputra...

 and Sariputta having died before the Buddha.

Physical characteristics


{{Main|Physical characteristics of the Buddha}}
An extensive and colorful physical description of the Buddha has been laid down in scriptures. A kshatriya
Kshatriya
*For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

 by birth, he had military training in his upbringing, and by Shakyan tradition was required to pass tests to demonstrate his worthiness as a warrior in order to marry. He had a strong enough body to be noticed by one of the kings and was asked to join his army as a general. He is also believed by Buddhists to have "the 32 Signs of the Great Man".

The Brahmin Sonadanda described him as "handsome, good-looking, and pleasing to the eye, with a most beautiful complexion. He has a godlike form and countenance, he is by no means unattractive."(D,I:115).

"It is wonderful, truly marvellous, how serene is the good Gotama's appearance, how clear and radiant his complexion, just as the golden jujube in autumn is clear and radiant, just as a palm-tree fruit just loosened from the stalk is clear and radiant, just as an adornment of red gold wrought in a crucible by a skilled goldsmith, deftly beaten and laid on a yellow-cloth shines, blazes and glitters, even so, the good Gotama's senses are calmed, his complexion is clear and radiant." (A,I:181)

A disciple named Vakkali, who later became an Arahant, was so obsessed by Buddha's physical presence that the Buddha is said to have felt impelled to tell him to desist, and to have reminded him that he should know the Buddha through the Dhamma and not through physical appearances.

Although there are no extant representations of the Buddha in human form until around the 1st century CE (see Buddhist art
Buddhist art
Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BC, and thereafter evolved by contact with other cultures as it spread throughout Asia and the world....

), descriptions of the physical characteristics of fully enlightened buddhas are attributed to the Buddha in the Digha Nikaya
Digha Nikaya
The Digha Nikaya is a Buddhist scripture, the first of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the "three baskets" that compose the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism...

's {{IAST|Lakkhaṇa Sutta}} (D,I:142). In addition, the Buddha's physical appearance is described by Yasodhara to their son Rahula
Rahula
Rāhula was the only son of Siddhartha Gautama , later known as the Buddha, and his wife Princess Yasodharā.Accounts of his life differ in certain points. The following is that given in the Pāli Canon.- Life :...

 upon the Buddha's first post-Enlightenment return to his former princely palace in the non-canonical Pali devotional hymn, Narasīha Gāthā ("The Lion of Men").

Among the 32 main characteristics it is mentioned that Buddha has blue eyes.

Teachings


{{Main|Buddhist philosophy}}
Some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon
Pāli Canon
The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

 and the Āgamas contain the actual substance of the historical teachings (and possibly even the words) of the Buddha. This is not the case for the later Mahāyāna sūtras
Mahayana sutras
Mahāyāna sutras are a broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that are accepted as canonical by the various traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism. These are largely preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, and in extant Sanskrit manuscripts...

. The scriptural works of Early Buddhism
Early Buddhism
The term Early Buddhism can refer to:* Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the Teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha....

 precede the Mahayana works chronologically, and are treated by many Western scholars as the main credible source for information regarding the actual historical teachings of Gautama Buddha. However, some scholars do not think that the texts report on historical events.

Some of the fundamentals of the teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha are:
  • The Four Noble Truths
    Four Noble Truths
    The Four Noble Truths are an important principle in Buddhism, classically taught by the Buddha in the Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra....

    : that suffering is an ingrained part of existence; that the origin of suffering is craving for sensuality, acquisition of identity, and annihilation; that suffering can be ended; and that following the Noble Eightfold Path
    Noble Eightfold Path
    The Noble Eightfold Path , is one of the principal teachings of the Buddha, who described it as the way leading to the cessation of suffering and the achievement of self-awakening. It is used to develop insight into the true nature of phenomena and to eradicate greed, hatred, and delusion...

     is the means to accomplish this.
  • The Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
  • Dependent origination
    Pratitya-samutpada
    Dependent origination or dependent arising is a cardinal doctrine of Buddhism, and arguably the only thing that holds every Buddhist teaching together from Theravada to Dzogchen to the extinct schools. As a concept and a doctrine it has a general and a specific application, both being integral to...

    : the mind creates suffering as a natural product of a complex process.
  • Rejection of the infallibility
    Infallibility
    Infallibility, from Latin origin , is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.-In common speech:...

     of accepted scripture: Teachings should not be accepted unless they are borne out by our experience and are praised by the wise. See the Kalama Sutta
    Kalama Sutta
    The Kālāma Sutta , is a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aṅguttara Nikaya of the Tipiṭaka...

    for details.
  • Anicca (Sanskrit: anitya): That all things that come to be have an end.
  • Dukkha
    Dukkha
    Dukkha is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, social alienation, anxiety,...

    (Sanskrit: {{IAST|duḥkha}}): That nothing which comes to be is ultimately satisfying.
  • Anattā
    Anatta
    In Buddhism, anattā or anātman refers to the notion of "not-self." In the early texts, the Buddha commonly uses the word in the context of teaching that all things perceived by the senses are not really "I" or "mine," and for this reason one should not cling to them.In the same vein, the Pali...

    (Sanskrit: anātman): That nothing in the realm of experience can really be said to be "I" or "mine".
  • Nibbāna (Sanskrit: Nirvāna): It is possible for sentient beings to realize a dimension of awareness which is totally unconstructed and peaceful, and end all suffering due to the mind's interaction with the conditioned world.


However, in some Mahayana schools, these points have come to be regarded as more or less subsidiary. There is disagreement amongst various schools of Buddhism
Schools of Buddhism
Buddhism is an ancient, polyvalent ideological system that originated in the Iron Age Indian subcontinent, referred to variously throughout history by one or more of a myriad of concepts – including, but not limited to any of the following: a Dharmic religion, a philosophy or quasi-philosophical...

 over more complex aspects of what the Buddha is believed to have taught, and also over some of the disciplinary rules
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

 for monks.

According to tradition, the Buddha emphasized ethics and correct understanding. He questioned everyday notions of divinity and salvation. He stated that there is no intermediary between mankind and the divine
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

; distant gods are subjected to karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

 themselves in decaying heavens; and the Buddha is only a guide and teacher for beings who must tread the path of {{IAST (Pāli
Páli
- External links :* *...

: Nibbāna) themselves to attain the spiritual awakening called bodhi
Bodhi
Bodhi is both a Pāli and Sanskrit word traditionally translated into English with the word "enlightenment", but which means awakened. In Buddhism it is the knowledge possessed by a Buddha into the nature of things...

and understand reality. The Buddhist system of insight and meditation
Buddhist meditation
Buddhist meditation refers to the meditative practices associated with the religion and philosophy of Buddhism.Core meditation techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have proliferated and diversified through teacher-student transmissions. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of...

 practice is not claimed to have been divinely revealed, but to spring from an understanding of the true nature of the mind, which must be discovered by treading the path guided by the Buddha's teachings.

Other religions



{{Main|Gautama Buddha in world religions}}

Gautama Buddha is also described as a god or prophet in other religions
Gautama Buddha in world religions
Gautama Buddha is also venerated as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í faith. Some Hindu texts say that the Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion...

. Some Hindu texts say that the Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion.

The Buddha is also regarded as a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 by the Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

s and a Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 in the Bahá'í faith. Some early Chinese Taoist-Buddhists thought the Buddha to be a reincarnation of Lao Tzu.

The Christian Saint Josaphat is based on the life of the Buddha. The name comes from the Sanskrit Bodhisatva 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 canonised and is 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).

Depiction in arts and media

  • Little Buddha
    Little Buddha
    Little Buddha is a 1994 feature film by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, starring Bridget Fonda and Keanu Reeves. Made by Bertolucci's regular partner, British producer Jeremy Thomas, it marked the team's return to the East after The Last Emperor....

    , a film by Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Prem Sanyas
    Prem Sanyas
    Prem Sanyas was 1925 silent film, directed by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai. It was film adapted from the book, The Light of Asia in verse, by Edwin Arnold, based on the life of Prince Gautama Buddha, who after enlightenment became the Buddha, the learned one.-Production:The film was an...

    , a 1925 silent film, directed by Franz Osten
    Franz Osten
    Franz Osten was a German filmmaker who along with Niranjan Pal was among the first retainers of Bombay Talkies. Osten partnered with Pal on a number of India's earliest blockbuster films like Achhut Kanya and Jeevan Naiya.-Early life:He was born as Franz Ostermayr in Munich on 23 December 1876...

     and Himansu Rai
  • The Light of Asia
    The Light of Asia
    The Light of Asia, subtitled The Great Renunciation, is a book by Edwin Arnold. The first edition of the book was published in London in July 1879....

    , a book by Edwin Arnold
    Edwin Arnold
    Sir Edwin Arnold CSI CIE was an English poet and journalist, who is most known for his work, The Light of Asia.-Biography:...

  • Siddhartha (novel)
    Siddhartha (novel)
    Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha.The book, Hesse's ninth novel , was written in German, in a simple, powerful, and lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential...

    , a book by Hermann Hesse
    Hermann Hesse
    Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature...


See also


{{refbegin|2}}
  • Atamasthana
    Atamasthana
    Atamasthana or Eight sacred places are a series of locations in Sri Lanka where the Buddha had visited during his three visits to the country. The sacred places are known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa and...

     (eight sacred places in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

    )
  • Bodh Gaya
  • Buddha as viewed in other religions
  • Buddha as an Avatar of Vishnu
    Buddha as an Avatar of Vishnu
    The Buddha in Hinduism is viewed as an Avatar of Vishnu. In the Puranic text Bhagavata Purana, he is the twenty-fourth of twenty-five avatars, prefiguring a forthcoming final incarnation. Similarly, a number of Hindu traditions portray Buddha as the most recent of ten principal avatars, known as...

  • Buddhahood
    Buddhahood
    In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

  • History of Buddhism
    History of Buddhism
    The History of Buddhism spans the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama on the Indian subcontinent, in what is now Lumbini, Nepal. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region...

  • Iconography of the Buddha
  • Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, south branch of original fig tree
    Sacred Fig
    The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree , Peepal is a species of banyan fig native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina...

     planted in Anuradhapura
    Anuradhapura
    Anuradhapura, , is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic...

  • List of the 28 Buddhas
  • Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha)
  • Zen
    Zen
    Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...


{{refend}}

External links


{{Commons|Gautama Buddha|Gautama Buddha}}
{{Wikiquote}}
{{wikisource author|Gautama Buddha}}
{{Normdaten|LCCN=n/80/50504}}

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{{Succession box|title=Buddhist Patriarch|before=Kassapa Buddha
Kassapa Buddha
In Buddhist tradition, Kassapa is the name of a Buddha, the third of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa , and the sixth of the six Buddhas prior to the historical Buddha mentioned in the earlier parts of the Pali Canon . In the Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, this Buddha is known as...

|after=Mahākāśyapa
Mahakasyapa
Mahākāśyapa or Kāśyapa was a brahman of Magadha, who became one of the principal disciples of Śākyamuni Buddha and who convened and directed the first council. Mahākāśyapa is one of the most revered of the Buddha's early disciples, foremost in ascetic practices...

|years=}}
{{S-end}}

{{Gautama Buddha}}
{{Buddhism topics}}
{{Buddhism2}}
{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2011}}

{{Persondata
|NAME=Gautama Buddha
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Siddhārtha Gautama (birth name); Siddhattha Gotama (Pali); Śākya-muni (honorific); Sakyamuni (honorific); Tathāgata (honorific)
|SHORT DESCRIPTION=Founder of Buddhism
|DATE OF BIRTH=c. 563 BCE
|PLACE OF BIRTH=Lumbini
Lumbini
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...


|DATE OF DEATH=c. 483 BCE
|PLACE OF DEATH=Kusinagara, India
}}
{{DEFAULTSORT:Buddha, Gautama}}