Gautama Buddha, known simply as the Buddha, was an ascetic and sage, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He’s believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of ancient India, sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Gautama Buddha.
1. Buddha taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the sramana movement commin in his region.
2. He later taught throughout other regions of eastern India, such as Magadha and Kosala.
3. He is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering.
4. Accounts of his life, discourses and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers.
5. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
6. In Vaishnava Hinduism, the historic Buddha is considered to be an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Of the ten major avatars of Vishnu, Vaishnavites believe that Gautama Buddha to be the ninth and most recent incarnation.
7. Buddha was born in Lumbini, the western part of Nepal in the 6th century B.C.
8. His real name was Siddartha Gautama. The name Gautama Buddha was given to him when he got enlightened.
9. He was a prince. His father was King Suddhodana, leader of the Shakya Clan, and his mother was Queen Mayadevi. He was raised by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapati, after his mother’s death seven days after childbirth.
10. Buddha was only 16 years old when his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yasodhara.
11. Rahula was the only son of Gautama Buddha.
12. At the age of 29, Buddha left Nepal in search of a way to end rebirth, old age, disease and death.
13. Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta were two of the teachers of Gautama Buddha.
14. Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme enlightenment at Bodh Gaya.
15. After his awakening, the Buddha met two merchants, named Tapussa and Bhallika, who became his first lay disciples. Later on, more than 1,000 disciples joined them and formed Sangha.
16. He made 5 monks sit in front of him and delivered his first sermon known as, “Setting in Motion the Wheel of Law.”
17. Rahula, the son of Gautama Buddha, became the youngest monk at the age of 7.
18. Gautama Buddha died in Kushinagar, India, at the age of 80.
19. The three major tenets Buddha taught his followers were not to be ignorant, not to hate others and not to get angry.
20. Buddha wasn’t as chubby as many depictions of him would make it appear. He was mainly portrayed this way because it was symbolic of happiness in the east. He practiced moderation in all things, fasted regularly, and spent most of his time walking hundreds of miles spreading the philosophy of enlightenment.
21. A few days after his birth, it was predicted by a wise old man that he would later become a great king or a saint that would change the world.
22. To achieve enlightenment, Young Siddhartha vowed to sit under a fig tree and meditate until he transcended suffering. At the end of an extremely long meditation and mental battle with Mara, he became awakened and was then known as the Buddha.
23. Unlike most religions or spiritual beliefs, Buddha’s teachings were spread by nonviolent methods such as word of mouth or carvings on prominent stone buildings.
24. Practicing Buddhists view Buddha as a teacher and not a god or avatar.
25. Buddha’s spot of enlightenment underneath the bodhi tree is still preserved to this day.
26. Buddha’s final request of his followers was this: “All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.”
27. After his death, Buddha’s cremation relics were divided among 8 royal families and his disciples. Centuries later, they would be enshrined by King Ashoka into 84,000 stupas.
28. Many supernatural legends surround the history of alleged relics as they accompanied the spread of Buddhism and gave legitimacy to rulers.
29. Among the 32 main characteristics, it’s mentioned that Buddha has blue eyes.
30. The Christian Saint Josaphat is based on the Buddha. The name comes from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva via Arabic Budhasaf and Georgian Iodasaph.