The historical Buddha was born around the year 563 BC, as son of a prince from the dynasty of the Shakya clan, whose small kingdom was in the foothills of the Himalayas in today’s Nepal. His first name was Siddhartha, his family name Gautama which is why he is referred to as “Gautama Buddha”.

During his life as a wandering ascetic, he became known as “Shakyamuni” “the silent wanderer of the family of the Shakya clan. He grew up well protected in affluent circumstances and married Yashodhara at age 16. At 29, after the birth of his son, Rahula, he went to the homeless and joined various ascetic teachers, but without achieving his goal of liberation. Therefore six years later he quit the ascetic lifestyle, turned to meditation and realized with 35 complete enlightenment, the awakening.

After an initial silence – because he was aware of the non-communicability of the Enlightenment he experienced – he began explain his insights based on experience to others after their asking. For the rest of his life he was teaching from place to place and large number of disciples gathered around him. Buddha died at the age of 80 in Ruhr.

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