Buddha

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Buddha

(flourished c. 6th–4th century BCE, b. Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, Shakya republic, Kosala kingdom [now in Nepal]—died Kusinara, Malla republic, Magadha kingdom [now Kasia, India]) Spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism. The term buddha (Sanskrit: “awakened one”) is a title rather than a name, and Buddhists believe that there are an infinite number of past and future buddhas. The historical Buddha, referred to as the Buddha Gautama or simply as the Buddha, was born a prince of the Shakyas, on the India-Nepal border. He is said to have lived a sheltered life of luxury that was interrupted when he left the palace and encountered an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. Renouncing his princely life, he spent six years seeking out teachers and trying various ascetic practices, including fasting, to gain enlightenment. Unsatisfied with the results, he meditated beneath the bodhi tree, where, after temptations by Mara, he realized the Four Noble Truths and achieved enlightenment. At Sarnath he preached his first sermon to his companions, outlining the Eightfold Path, which offered a middle way between self-indulgence and self-mortification and led to the liberation of nirvana. The five ascetics who heard this sermon became not only his first disciples but also arhats who would enter nirvana upon death. His mission fulfilled, the Buddha died after eating a meal that may accidentally have contained spoiled pork and escaped the cycle of rebirth; his body was cremated, and stupas were built over his relics.

Variants of BUDDHA

Buddha orig. Siddhartha Gautama

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Buddha, visit Britannica.com.

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