(Sanskrit; Pall: Gotama; ca. 563ca. 483 BC). According to tradition, Siddhartha (he who has accomplished his aim), b. Lumbini Grove, near Kapilavastu, NE India, was a son of Sakya raja Suddhodana Gautama; proclaimed Sakyamuni (sage of the Sakyas), Tathagata (he who has arrived at the truth), and Buddha (the enlightened). Founded Buddhism.* Prompted by reflections on the frailty of human life, he at 29 renounced succession to the throne, left wife and infant child (act called by Buddhists The Great Renunciation), and became a wandering mendicant. After yrs. of study of Brahmanism* and practice of severe asceticism* failed to satisfy him, he attained the enlightenment that made him Buddha. After his enlightenment he organized a mendicant order for his followers, traveled, and taught.
In Buddhist thought a Buddha is one who through knowledge of truth and conquest of sin has escaped the burdens and pains of existence and who then teaches the true doctrine. There have been and will be many Buddhas. The last historic one was Gautama.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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