Brief Biography of Gautama Buddha
Page Last Updated: February 20, 2013
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):
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.
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