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Brief Biography of Gautama Buddha

Page Last Updated: April 04, 2014

Gautama was born as Siddhartha in the Kshatria caste of the Shakya clan in 566 B.C. (disputed, see reference) in Kalpataru (now Lumbini in present day Nepal). Popular legends represent him as the son of a great king, brought up amidst the luxuries of a palace.  As he grew into manhood, Siddhartha was caught by the sufferings of the world (old age, disease and death being important of them), left his riches to become an ascetic and sought higher truth. After years of study, meditation and sacrifice, he is known to have found the Nirvana (cure to ills of the world) and became the Buddha or the completely enlightened.

Gautama Buddha adopted the life of a religious teacher from the age of thirty-five till his death at the age of eighty (c. 486 B.C.). He was a great teacher and had a tremendous following in the provinces of  Magadha, Kosala and all the neighboring territories. He defined  four noble truths (Arya Satyani):

  1. The world is full of suffering
  2. The desire is the root cause of worldly existence
  3. Conquering desire and attachments are the only way to happiness
  4. Conquering of desire must be done in the right way.

Buddha explained in detail, the chain of causes which lead to suffering and the means of deliverance from these sufferings. He said that the man is the arbiter of his own destiny, not the gods. He condemned the efficacy of Vedic rites and rituals and challenged the superiority of the Brahmins.

Buddhism, went on to become a very popular religion in the subsequent centuries and even went abroad. Today (2000), in its various derivatives, it is practiced by more people outside of India than within. Buddha's birthday (Buddha Jayanti) is observed in India as a national holiday.

References

  • Majumdar R.C., Ancient India, Motilal Banarasidas, 1952
  • Basham A.L., The Wonder that was India, 1967

 


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Pictures
Mayadevi, the Mother of BuddhaBuddha mediating in touching the earth position Buddhist RelicsThe Lions from Sarnath, a monument from Ashoka periodBodhisatva with a Lotus in Hand
Statue of Buddha from a Cave in AjantaA Stupa of Sanchi Showing the Decorated EntranceTibetan boy goes to fetch water for the monasteryA Serene Statue of Lord BuddhaFresco of a Celestial Nymph
Lord Buddha from a Sarnath temple paintingCarvings on the Arch of Buddhist StupaStatue of Lord BuddhaTibetan Buddhist Women Dancing in DharmasalaMeditating Buddha
Buddha with his DesciplesSculpture of BuddhaStamp of Buddha

 

 

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