Gautam Buddha - Part I

Exact Match
  Indus Valley
  Mauryan Era
  Post Mauryan
  Kushana Era
  Golden Age
  Post Gupta

  Arab Invasion
  South India
  Prithviraj Era
  Delhi Sultunate
  Mughal Period
  Maratha Era
  British Period

  Subhash & INA

Republics & Kingdoms | Magadha as Empire | Ajatashatru | Gautam Buddha | Vardhamana Mahavira | Nandas | Alexander | Battle of Hydaspes 

Gautam Buddha Buddha (563?-483? B.C.) is the title given to the founder of Buddhism, one of the world's great religions. It means Enlightened or Awakened One. The Buddha was Siddhartha Gautama. Another of his titles is Shakyamuni, which means "the wise man of the Shakya clan."

Scholars agree that Siddhartha Gautama lived in northern India over 2,000 years ago, but there is still some debate about his exact birth and death dates. Most scholars think he lived from about 563 to 483 B.C. However, some scholars claim he lived from about 448 to 368 B.C.

Buddhists believe that there were at least six other Buddhas before Gautama. Buddhists believe there is another one to come, whose name will be Maitreya.

Birth and early life. Buddhists believe in rebirth, and many tales are told about Gautama's previous births. There are over 500 of these jataka tales. The tales describe how, through human and animal forms, Gautama attained the moral perfections needed for a final birth. These moral perfections are qualities such as generosity, patience, and loving kindness. The stories are part of the folklore of India.

The accounts of Gautama's last birth are set in the upper Ganges Valley of northern India, in the foothills of the Himalaya. Siddhartha Gautama was born near the town of Kapilavastu, in what is now Nepal. Gautama was from the warrior caste in Indian society. His father was Suddhodhana, a local ruler and prince of the Shakya people. His mother's name was Maya. She is often referred to as Mahamaya, or Great Maya.

As the stories go, Maya dreamed that a white elephant entered her womb when Gautama was conceived. White elephants are very rare, so Buddhists take this as a sign of the child's future greatness. When the time came for her child to be born, Maya was on her way to her parent's home. She stopped near Kapilavastu in a grove of trees called the Lumbini grove. This site now attracts many Buddhist pilgrims. The story describes how Gautama was born, without pain, from Maya's side. This may have been a way of describing an early Caesarian section, or an emphasis on the miraculous. Maya died quite soon afterward and the future Buddha was brought up by his aunt, Prajapati.

At the traditional naming ceremony of the new child, one of the court astrologers, or wise men, predicted that the baby would become either a great world ruler or a great religious teacher. The astrologer said that if Gautama became a religious teacher, it would be as a result of seeing great suffering. Gautama's father tried to prevent his son from seeing suffering. He kept the child within the royal palace and its park.

When Gautama reached marrying age, about 20, he won an archery competition and the right to marry a princess called Yasodhara. They had a son, Rahula, and lived a pleasant life within the royal palace.


next page >>

Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved.
By using this service, you accept that you won't copy or use the data given in this website for any commercial purpose.
The material on is for informational & educational purpose only.
This site is best viewed at 800 X 600 picture resolution.