Gautama Buddha

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Gautama Buddha bigraphy, stories - Founder of Buddhism

Gautama Buddha : biography

c. 563 BCE – c. 483 BCE

Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni,, or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. A native of the ancient Shakya republic in the Himalayan foothills,{} Gautama Buddha taught primarily in northeastern India.

Buddha means "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." "Buddha" is also used as a title for the first awakened being in an era. In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha (P. sammāsambuddha, S. samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age.

Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the Sramana (renunciation) movement Laumakis, Stephen. An Introduction to Buddhist philosophy. 2008. p. 4 common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala.Warder, A.K. Indian Buddhism. 2000. p. 45Skilton, Andrew. A Concise History of Buddhism. 2004. p. 41

The times of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain: most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE,L. S. Cousins (1996), ": a review article", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (3)6(1): 57–63. but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE.See the consensus in the essays by leading scholars in The Date of the Historical Śākyamuni Buddha (2003) Edited by A. K. Narain. B. R. Publishing Corporation, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7646-353-1.

However, at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death. These alternative chronologies, however, have not yet been accepted by all other historians.Hans Wolfgang Schumann (2003). The Historical Buddha: The Times, Life, and Teachings of the Founder of Buddhism, p. xv. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120818172.Alex Wayman (1993) Untying the Knots in Buddhism: Selected Essays, pp 37-58. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 

Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

Sources

Other religions

In Hinduism, Gautama is regarded as one of the ten avatars of God Vishnu.

The Buddha is also regarded as a prophet by the Ahmadiyyas Retrieved on February 2011 and a Manifestation of God in the Bahá’í faith. Some early Chinese Taoist-Buddhists thought the Buddha to be a reincarnation of Lao Tzu.The Cambridge History of China, Vol.1, (The Ch’in and Han Empires, 221 BC—220 BC) ISBN 0-521-24327-0 hardback

The Christian Saint Josaphat is based on the life of the Buddha. The name comes from the Sanskrit Bodhisatva via Arabic Būdhasaf and Georgian Iodasaph. The only story in which St. Josaphat appears, Barlaam and Josaphat, is based on the life of the Buddha. Josaphat was included in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology (feast day 27 November) — though not in the Roman Missal — and in the Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical calendar (26 August).

Teachings

Some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and the Āgamas contain the actual substance of the historical teachings (and possibly even the words) of the Buddha.It is therefore possible that much of what is found in the Suttapitaka is earlier than c.250 B.C., perhaps even more than 100 years older than this. If some of the material is so old, it might be possible to establish what texts go back to the very beginning of Buddhism, texts which perhaps include the substance of the Buddha’s teaching, and in some cases, maybe even his words. How old is the Suttapitaka? Alexander Wynne, St John’s College, 2003, p.22 (this article is available on the website of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies: [www.ocbs.org/research/Wynne.pdf]It would be hypocritical to assert that nothing can be said about the doctrine of earliest Buddhism … the basic ideas of Buddhism found in the canonical writings could very well have been proclaimed by him [the Buddha], transmitted and developed by his disciples and, finally, codified in fixed formulas. J.W. De Jong, 1993: The Beginnings of Buddhism, in The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 26, no. 2, p. 25 Some scholars believe the Pali Canon and the Agamas pre-date the Mahāyāna sūtras.The Mahayana movement claims to have been founded by the Buddha himself. The consensus of the evidence, however, is that it originated in South India in the 1st century CE–Indian Buddhism, AK Warder, 3rd edition, 1999, p. 335. The scriptural works of Early Buddhism precede the Mahayana works chronologically, and are treated by many Western scholars as the main credible source for information regarding the actual historical teachings of Gautama Buddha. However, some scholars do not think that the texts report on historical events.Bareau, André, Les récits canoniques des funérailles du Buddha et leurs anomalies : nouvel essai d’interprétation, BEFEO, t. LXII, Paris, 1975, pp.151-189.Bareau, André, La composition et les étapes de la formation progressive du Mahaparinirvanasutra ancien, BEFEO, t. LXVI, Paris, 1979, pp. 45-103.Shimoda, Masahiro, How has the Lotus Sutra Created Social Movements: The Relationship of the Lotus Sutra to the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra, in A Buddhist Kaleidoscope, (pp320-22) Ed Gene Reves, Kosei 2002