Name: Gautama Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)

Alive: c.563 BCE – c.483 BCE

Bio: The primary figure in Buddhism, information about the life of Buddha is often conflicting, and tradition tends to dictate his biography. Buddhist tradition claims that he was born in Lumbini, in present-day Nepal and was a prince who rejected the material luxuries that surrounded him and embarked on a journey to try to understand suffering. He eventually found a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the extreme asceticism associated with the Sramana movement that existed in the area in which he taught. Buddha is believed to have taught in the eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent until his death, at the age of 80, in Kushinigar.

Quotes:

“Invisible and subtle is the mind, and it flies after fancies wherever it likes; but let the wise man guard well his mind, for a mind well-guarded is a source of great joy”

Popular Culture:

“Little Buddah” – film, 1994

“Buddah” – television show, 2013

“Lord of Light” – novel by Roger Zelazny, 1967

Further Reading:

  • Hesse, Hermann, Siddhartha (1922)
  • Narendra K. Wagle, Society at the Time of the Buddha (1995)
  • Rahula Walpola, What the Buddha Taught (1974)