The Buddha in You

How Did Gautama Buddha Reach Enlightenment?

Born in Lumbini, Nepal, Siddhartha was destined to a luxurious life as a prince, had three palaces especially built for him. Siddhartha escaped his palace, accompanied by Channa aboard his horse Kanthaka, leaving behind this royal life to become a mendicant. Sitting under a banyan tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya (Bihar, India), he vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. After 49 days meditating, at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment (Nirvana). Gautama, from then on, was known as the Buddha or “Awakened One.” Buddha is also sometimes translated as “The Enlightened One.” Often, he is referred to in Buddhism as Shakyamuni Buddha or “The Awakened One of the Shakya Clan.”

Gautama Buddha is mentioned as an Avatar of Vishnu in the Puranic texts of Hinduism. In the Bhagavata Purana he is twenty fourth of twenty five avatars, prefiguring a forthcoming final incarnation. A number of Hindu traditions portray Buddha as the most recent of ten principal avatars, known as the “Dasavatara” (Ten Incarnations of God). The Buddhist Dasharatha Jataka (Jataka Atthakatha) represents Rama as a previous incarnation of the Buddha as a Bodhisattva and Supreme Dharma King of great wisdom.