Gautama Buddha - Biography

Gautama Buddha is known as the founder of Buddhism. He is also known as Shakyamuni and Siddhartha Gautama.

Gautama Buddha was born in 563 BCE in Lumbini, Nepal. They belong to Shakya clan. He was the son of the Shuddhodhana, the king of Kapilavastu and his Queen Mayadevi. Some In Hindu mythology Gautama is worship as the 9th avatar of Vishnu. Hisgautama-buddha birthday is celebrated as Buddha Purnima in Indian subcontinent. The infant was given the name Siddhartha. Mayadevi died seven days after the birth of Siddhartha and so, he was brought up by his stepmother, Gautami. He grew up in Kapilavastu. All scholars who read the future, predicted that the prince would either become a great king or a great holy man. So his father King Shuddhodhana became extremely cautious as he wants his son to become only a great king. He did not let Siddhartha even move out of the palace to prevent him from knowledge of human suffering. At the age of 16, his father arranged his marriage to Yasodhara. She gave birth to a son, named Rahula. Siddhartha is said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu.

At the age of 29, one day he moved out of his palace in his charioot. For the first time, he saw a very old man who could barely walk, a sick man who was in a severe pain and a corpse. Before that he had no prior knowledge about sickness, death and asceticism. His charioteer explained him that pain and death are a part and parcel of life. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic. These things changed the entire course of his life.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace and family to lead an ascetic life. Gautama initially went to Rajagaha where he meets King Bimbisara. Bimbisara offered Siddhartha the throne of his kingdom. But Siddhartha rejected the offer and promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment. Then Siddhartha reached Bodh Gaya and being very exhausted, he took a seat under the shade of a peepal tree and closed his eyes. This tress is now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. He promised himself that he will never move until he had found the truth. After 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or "Awakened One”. At the time of his enlightenment he gained complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. He called these steps the "Four Noble Truths". Buddha preached non-violence, peace and harmony.

Gautam Buddha shared his knowledge with five of his followers who meditated with him. Together, they traveled across the country teaching key principles of Buddhism. They formed the first Buddhist sangha, the company of Buddhist monks. For 45 years, Buddha spread his message of spiritual life to all people. Gautam Buddha passed away in 483 BCE at the age of 80 in Kushinagar.