Gautama Buddha Biography

Gautama Buddha was a spiritual leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. This biography of Gautama Buddha provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

Quick Facts

Born: 563 BC

Nationality: Nepalese

Famous: Quotes By Gautama Buddha Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Also Known As: Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha, Buddha

Died At Age: 80

Born in: Lumbini, Nepal

Famous as: Founder of Buddhism

Spouse/Ex-: Queen Yashodhara

father: King Śuddhodana

mother: Mahapajapati Gotami

siblings: Nanda, Sundari

children: Rāhula

religion: Buddhism

Died on: 483 BC

place of death: Kushinagar

Continue Reading Below

Gautama Buddha was a spiritual leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived in eastern India/ Nepal during the 6th to 4th century B.C. Born as a prince, he spent his childhood in the lap of luxury. He lost his mother at an early age and his doting father tried his best to keep his young son away from the miseries of the world. When he was a little boy, some wise scholars predicted that he would become either a great king or a renowned spiritual leader. His father hoped that his son would one day become a great king. The prince was kept away from all forms of religious knowledge and had no idea about the concepts of old age, sickness and death. Once on a trip through the city on a chariot he witnessed an old man, a diseased person, and a corpse. This new knowledge about the sufferings in the world gave rise to several questions within his mind and the prince soon renounced all his worldly affairs in order to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Finally after years of rigorous contemplation and meditation, he found Enlightenment, and became the Buddha, meaning “awakened one" or "the enlightened one".

Gautama Buddha
Childhood & Early Life
  • Several details regarding Gautama Buddha’s early life are shrouded in mystery. He is believed to have been born in Lumbini (today, modern Nepal) in the 6th century B.C. His birth name was Siddhartha Gautama and he was born as a prince. His father, King Suddhodana, was leader of a large clan called the Shakya and his mother was Queen Maya. His mother died shortly after his birth.
  • When Siddhartha was a little boy, learned seers prophesized that the boy would either be a great king or military leader or he would be a great spiritual leader. His father wanted Siddhartha to become a great king, so he raised him in the lap of luxury and shielded him from religious knowledge of any kind.
  • His father did not want Siddhartha to learn about human hardships and sufferings as he was afraid that such knowledge might propel the boy towards spirituality. So, he took great care to ensure that his son was raised in seclusion and kept away from knowledge of processes like aging and death.
  • Having spent all of his life confined to his palace, young Siddhartha grew curious and asked a charioteer to take him on a tour of the city. While travelling through the city he came across an old crippled man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy man with no home.
  • These sights shocked him as he had no prior knowledge about the concepts of sickness, old age, death, and asceticism. The charioteer explained to him that sickness, aging and death were a part and parcel of life, and that some people renounce their worldly life in order to seek answers to questions regarding human sufferings.
  • Siddhartha was very troubled after witnessing these sights. The opulence of palace life no longer interested him and he realized that he had to seek the ultimate truth.
    Continue Reading Below
Top
Later Life
  • At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace and family to lead an ascetic life. He thought that living a life of self-denial will provide him with the answers he was looking for. For the next six years he lived a life of extreme austerity, eating very little food and fasting till he became very weak.
  • Over these years he also gained five followers with whom he practiced rigorous austerity. In spite of living such a simple life and subjecting himself to great physical sufferings, Siddhartha was not successful in getting the answers he sought.
  • After starving himself for days he once accepted a bowl of rice from a young girl. After having this meal he realized that living under harsh physical constraints was not helping him achieve his spiritual goals, and following a path of balance was better than living a lifestyle of extreme self-denial. His followers, however, abandoned him believing that he had given up on his spiritual quest.
  • Following this he started meditating under a fig tree (now called the Bodhi tree) and promised himself that he would not move until he had found enlightenment. He meditated for several days and saw his entire life and previous lives in his thoughts.
  • After meditating for 49 days, he finally realized the answer to the questions of suffering that he had been seeking for so many years. He found pure enlightenment, and in that moment of enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha ("he who is awake").
  • 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". Legend has it that initially Buddha was reluctant to spread his knowledge to others as he was doubtful of whether the common people would understand his teachings. But then the king of gods, Brahma, convinced Buddha to teach, and he set out to do that.
  • He went to the Deer Park in Isipatana where he found the five companions who had earlier abandoned him. He preached his first sermon to them and the others who had gathered there. In his sermon, he focused on the Four Noble Truths: Dukkha (suffering), Samudaya (cause for suffering), Nirodha (state of mind free from suffering) and Marga (way to end suffering).
    Continue Reading Below
  • He further explained the Marga in his Eightfold Path to end the cravings which cause suffering. He taught that “Truth” is found through the Middle Way by way of the Noble Eightfold Path. The path includes Right Viewpoint, Right Values, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Mindfulness among others. Gautama Buddha spent the rest of his life travelling, teaching a diverse range of people from nobles to criminals.
Top
Major Work
  • Gautama Buddha is a major figure in Buddhism. The religion of Buddhism has its foundation in his teachings; he gave the Four Noble Truths which express the basic orientation of Buddhism and provide a conceptual framework of the Buddhist thought, and proposed the Eightfold Path to end suffering.
Top
Personal Life & Legacy
  • When Siddhartha was 16, his father arranged his marriage with a girl of the same age named Yaśodharā. This marriage produced one son, Rahula. He eventually renounced his family when he embarked on a spiritual journey as an ascetic.
  • Buddha, later on reconciled with his father, King Suddhodana. His wife became a nun while his son became a novice monk at the age of seven and spent the rest of his life with his father.
  • Gautama Buddha is believed to have died at the age of 80. At the time of his death he told his followers that they should not follow any leader.
  • He was a highly influential figure in world history. The principal figure in Buddhism, he is also worshipped as a manifestation of God in Hinduism, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Bahá'í faith
Top

Pictures of Gautama Buddha

How To Cite

Article Title
- Gautama Buddha Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/gautama-buddha-6362.php
Last Updated
- July 06, 2017

People Also Viewed

Thomas More
(British)
Moses
(Egyptian, Jordanian)

Guru Nanak
(Indian)
Enoch Adeboye
(Nigerian)