Buddha-Dharma-Sangha History

Shakyamuni Buddha Siddhartha Gautama – “The Buddha”

“I Take Refuge in the Triple Jewel (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha)”

“Shakyamuni Buddha Siddhartha Gautama” (PDoB)

“Siddhartha Gautama (c.485–405 BCE) (Skt.; Pāli, Siddhattha Gotama). Name of the historical *Buddha. Siddhartha (meaning ‘One whose aim is accomplished’) was his personal name, and Gautama his clan or family name. His dates are still uncertain, but recent scholarship inclines to the dates shown as opposed to the more conventional ones of 563–486 BCE (see DATE OF THE BUDDHA). He was born into a noble family of the *śākya clan, and for this reason came to be known also as *śākya-muni (the sage of the śākyas). His father was *śuddhodana and his mother *Māyā. According to Buddhist sources his father was king of the city of *Kapilavastu, which was located just inside the southern border of present-day *Nepal. Siddhartha’s *birth was preceded by a dream in which his mother saw a white elephant entering her womb. From this the soothsayers foretold that the child would be either a Buddha or a Universal Ruler (*cakravartin). Seven days after giving birth Queen Māyā died. Siddhartha was married to *Yaśodharā (or *Rāhulamātā) and a son, *Rāhula, was born when the Buddha was either 16 or 29. Tradition recalls that the Buddha’s father shielded his son from the harsh realities of life until the young prince ventured outside the palace and was confronted by the sight of ‘fours signs’: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and a renunciate. These experiences brought home to him the reality of *suffering and the nature of the human predicament, and turning his back on family life he renounced the world and became a religious mendicant. He studied with two teachers, *Udraka Rāmaputra and *Āḷāra Kālāma, but after six years of unproductive *ascetic exercises renounced the path of austerities and embarked on a more moderate spiritual path which he characterized as the ‘Middle Way’ (madhyamā-pratipad). By following this he gained enlightenment (bodhi) at Bodhgayā at the age of 35 and became a Buddha. After his spiritual awakening he attracted a band of followers and instituted a monastic order (Saṃgha). He travelled throughout north-east *India as an itinerant teacher for the remaining 45 years of his life. He died at age 80 after being in ill health for some months and having eating a meal of contaminated pork (see CUNDA; MAHĀPARINIBBĀNA SUTTA; SŪKARA-MADDAVA).” (PDoB)

See Buddha’s Ten Great Disciples


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