Siddhartha Gautama who later came to be known as Gautama Buddha was born in the Lumbini district of present-day Nepal. The term Buddha is referred to as the enlightened soul, the one who has been awakened from sleep. It is the ultimate position in a person’s life, after which there is nothing left to explore. Buddhism as a religion has gained huge popularity throughout its history. It has been preached by several monks all across the world. According to the traditions of Buddhism, each historical age had a Buddha and will have a Buddha in the future.
Born in the northern edge of the Ganga, a part of ancient India, now southern Nepal, was the district of Lumbini. He was the prince of the Shakya clan and was known as Gautama in Sanskrit or Gotama in Pali language. His parents named him Siddhartha or Siddhatta which means the “one who achieves his goals.” History states that Siddhartha’s mother, Maha Maya dreamt of an elephant entering her womb and after 10 lunar months, Siddhartha was born.
At the age of 29, Siddhartha learned about the ills of the world and left the luxurious life and his palace. He then went in search of inner peace and ways to end human sufferings.
As he belonged to the Shakya clan, he was often known as the Shakyamuni. Buddha has also been referred to as Bhagavat or the lord in Buddhist texts. It took him almost six years to reach nirvana or enlightenment. He traveled to various places and visited many sages. He learned a lot from them and spent most of his time meditating. At the age of 35, he went into meditation for 49 days under the Bodhi tree. When he woke up, he was no more Siddhartha Gautama but Gautama Buddha.
On attaining enlightenment, Buddha found his own religion which is known as Buddhism. He believed that the sufferings of a man can be reduced by oneself and no one else. His thoughts and beliefs were termed as teachings of Buddhism. He developed a set of principles which Buddhists follow even today. He practiced meditation and stated that mortification is not the path to attain enlightenment. Gautama Buddha then established the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path of life. His most profound teaching states that suffering is a part of human life and can be ended by reaching enlightenment. Buddha then went out to spread his teachings and establish the orders of nuns and monks across Northeastern India.
Death of Gautama Buddha
Buddha lived till the age of 80. He fell severely sick and met his followers to convey his last message. He imparted the last instructions before passing into nirvana. The body of Gautama Buddha was cremated and remnants were distributed. They were preserved in stupas where it is respected till date.
In the 21st century, we often turn the pages of history and seek advice from the teachings of Buddha. As our lives are full of sufferings, Gautama Buddha taught us to gain inner peace through love, kindness, and forgiveness.