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Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम बुद्ध; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.1 The word Buddha is 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, “Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.” [note 1] Siddhārtha Gautama may also be referred to as Gautama Buddha or as Śākyamuni (Sanskrit: शाक्यमुनि “Sage of the Śākyas”). The Buddha found a Middle Way that ameliorated the extreme asceticism found in the Sramana religions.2
The time of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE,3 but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE.45 UNESCO lists Lumbini, Nepal, as a world heritage site and birthplace of Gautama Buddha.67 There are also claims about birth place of Gautama Buddha to be Kapilavastu at Piprahwa, Uttar Pradesh, or Kapileswara, Orissa, modern India.89101112 He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala.1314
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.
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