Noble Eightfold Path

(ca. 528 BCE)

About the Author

The Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama on April 8, 563 BCE (according to tradition), near the town of Lumbini in Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the king of a local tribe called the Shakyas, so one of the Buddha’s traditional names is Shakyamuni, meaning “sage (or wise man) of the Shakyas.” His mother was Queen Mayadevi (sometimes given as Maya Devi). From 563 to 547 Prince Gautama grew up in his father’s palace, where he was raised primarily by an aunt, learned and practiced the skills of warfare, and was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and ascend to the throne as king. In 547, at the age of sixteen, Gautama married his cousin, Princess Yasodhara, and the two had a son. After thirteen years of a life of luxury—his father had built three palaces for him—he announced on his twenty-ninth birthday that he was abandoning his worldly ties, leaving home, and launching a quest for spiritual truth. He said that what sparked this decision was an...

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Buddha (Yale University Art Gallery)

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