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Buddha

Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Shakyamuni), was an ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in ancient India (c. 6th to 5th century BCE or c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is regarded as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism, and revered by Buddhists as an enlightened being, who rediscovered an ancient path to freedom from ignorancecraving and the cycle of rebirth and suffering. He taught for around 45 years and built a large following, both monastic and lay. His teaching is based on his insight into the arising of suffering or dissatisfaction and its ending—the state called Nirvana (lit. vanishing or extinguishing).

Besides “Buddha” and the name Siddhārtha Gautama (Pali: Siddhattha Gotama), he was also known by other names and titles, such as Shakyamuni (“Sage of the Shakyas“). The clan name of Gautama means “descendant of Gotama”, and comes from the fact that Kshatriya clans adopted the names of their house priests.

In the early texts, the Buddha also often refers to himself as Tathāgata (Sanskrit: [tɐˈtʰaːɡɐtɐ]). The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata), possibly referring to the transcendental nature of the Buddha’s spiritual attainment.

A common list of epithets are commonly seen together in the canonical texts, and depict some of his spiritual qualities:

 

  • Sammasambuddho – Perfectly self-awakened
  • Vijja-carana-sampano – Endowed with higher knowledge and ideal conduct.
  • Sugata – Well-gone or Well-spoken.
  • Lokavidu – Knower of the many worlds.
  • Anuttaro Purisa-damma-sarathi – Unexcelled trainer of untrained people.
  • Satthadeva-Manussanam – Teacher of gods and humans.
  • Bhagavato – The Blessed one
  • Araham – Worthy of homage. An Arahant is “one with taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached the true goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge.”
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