Buddha is a particular title given to a special being that is meant to be awakened to the reality of the world. The recent Buddha who is called Gautama Buddha who lived 26000 years ago was a shakya prince called Siddhartha Gautama. He was an ordinary person whose profound insights inspired the world
The traditional story begins with Siddhartha Gautama’s birth in Lumbini, Nepal, in about 567 BCE. He was the son of a king. He married and had a son.
Prince Siddhartha was twenty nine years old when his life changed. In carriage rides outside the palace he first saw a sick person then an old man, then a corpse. This shook him to the core of his being; he realized that his privilege status would not protect him from sickness, old age, and death. When he saw a spiritual seeker the urge to seek peace of mind arose in him.
The prince renounced his worldly life and began a spiritual quest. He sought teachers and punished his body with ascetic practices such as extreme and prolonged fasts. It was believed that punishing the body was the way to elevate the mind and that the door to wisdom was found at the edge of death. However after six years of this, the prince was devastated and frustrated.
He sat in meditation beneath “the Bodhi tree” until he realized enlightenment. From that time on, he would know as the Buddha.
He spent the rest of his life teaching people how to realize enlightenment for themselves. He gave his first sermon in modern day Saranath. He walked from village to village attracting disciples along the way. He founded the original order of Buddhist nuns and monks many who became great teachers also. He died in Kushinagar, located in what is now the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, about 483 BCE.
The main narrative of Buddha’s last days, death and events following his death is contained in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. Buddha lived about 80 years and discoursing his dhamma all around India and also came to Sri Lanka in several occasions. Still people worship Buddha with gratitude for his great teachings.