Gautama Buddha’s biography (The Founder of Buddhism) can teach us many things about life.
Some basic information
- Name: Siddhartha Gautama, Siddhattha Gotama, Shakyamuni
- Father: Suddhodana
- Mother: Maya Devi
- Born: c. 563 or c. 480 BCE
- Birth Place: Lumbini, Shakya Republic
- Spouse: Yasodhara
- Children: Rahula
- Famous for: Founder of Buddhism
- Religion: Buddhism
- Predecessor: Kassapa Buddha
- Successor: Maitreya
- Died: c. 483 or c. 400 BCE (at the age of 80)
Gautama Buddha biography
The word Buddha, meaning “enlightened one,” was an epithet applied to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of the religion that came to be known as Buddhism. He lived from c.560 to c.480 BC, but scholars cannot be certain about all the historical details of his life.
According to legendary biographies, Siddhartha Gautam was born in Lumbini, near Kapilavastu in present-day Nepal), the son of a ruler of the Sakya clan.
When he was 29 years old, he became disgusted with life as a householder and left his wife and family to go on a religious quest. After several years of striving, which included the practice and rejection of ascetic austerities, he arrived at Bodh Gaya, in India, where at last he attained complete enlightenment into the nature of reality. From Bodh Gaya, he went to Sarath.
There he first preached his doctrine of the Four Noble Truths: that this life is suffering; that its source is craving; that suffering can cease; and that the practice of the Eightfold Path–of right views, right intention, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration-brings about this cessation.
Then, during a long career as a wandering teacher, he attracted many disciples and established the Buddhist community (the sangha).
Finally, at the age of 80, he passed away into the final Nirvana at Kushinagara (now Kasia, India), forever free from the cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Not long after the Buddha’s death, embellished legends of his great deeds, supernatural powers, and royal symbols emerged.
Stories were also told of the Buddha’s heroism in past lives and a devotional cult soon developed. At the same time, various speculations arose about Buddha’s true nature.
The Theravada school saw him primarily as a historical figure but also placed him in a timeline with several “Buddhas of the past” and one “Buddha of the future,” Maitreya, who is yet to come.
The Mahayana school adopted a view in which Gautama was seen as a fashioned manifestation of an already enlightened “eternal” Buddha.
This eventually resulted in a doctrine of several different Buddha “bodies” and also made possible a multiplication of Buddhas, each existing in its own Pure Buddha Land.
Among the most popular was Amitabha Buddha in his Western Pure Land and Akshobhya Buddha in the East.
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