GAUTAMA BUDDHA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Gautama Buddha was a South Asian spiritual leader traditionally stated to have lived between approximately 563 BCE and 483 BCE, with some Buddhist legends stating that he was born on April 8, 1029 BCE, and died on February 15, 949 BCE. Some scholars date him later, to the mid 5th century BC.


Born as Siddhartha Gautama (Sanskrit: “descendant Gautama whose aims who achieves aims effectively") he became “the Buddha” after embarking on a quest for spiritual meaning. He is universally recognised by Buddhists as the Supreme Buddha (literally Enlightened One or Awakened One) of our age. He is also commonly known as Shakyamuni or Sakyamuni ("sage of the Shakya clan") and as the Tathagata ("thus-come-one").


Gautama is the key figure in Buddhism, and a Accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules were summarized after his death and memorized by the sangha. Passed down by oral tradition, the Tripitaka was written about four hundred years later.


Buddha’s life
Few of the details of the Buddha’s life can be independently verified, and it is difficult to determine what is history and what is myth. Therefore this article will describe the life of Siddhartha Gautama as told in the earliest available Buddhist texts.


Conception and birth
Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini (a town situated in what is now Nepal, near the Indian border) under the full moon of the sixth lunar month, in the spring. His father was Suddhodana, a chief among the Shakyas, a warrior tribe. His mother was Queen Maya, one of Suddhodana’s wives. The day of the Buddha’s birth is widely celebrated in Buddhist countries as Vesak. Gautama was born a prince, destined to a life of luxury.