Founder of Buddhism

Who was the founder of Buddhism? A man named Siddharta Gautama is considered the founder of the Buddhist tradition. He was called the Buddha by his followers, that means the “awakened one”. The Buddhist tradition is named after that title.

Historically, we have just a handful of facts we can hold on to tell ourselves about the lifestory of the Buddha. We know, we think we know, that he was born in the family of king Suddhodana and queen Maya about the year 563 BCE, in a region of the Indian subcontinent that now lies in Southern Nepal.

He was a member of the Shakya tribe, his clan name was Gautama and his given name was Siddhartha, which means something like “mission accomplished”. It has been common in the Buddhist world to refer to him as Shakyamuni, “the sage of Shakya tribe”.

These facts don’t tell us very much what the Buddha did or about what he has meant to his followers, but they tell us that the Buddha was not the creation of somebody’s imagination, he was a real human being who walked the dusty roads of Northern India twenty five hundred years ago.

To learn more about Siddharta Gautama, his life and his teachings, you might be interested in the series of articles The Life of the Buddha.

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