Celebrating Vesak Day

The person we know as “Buddha” wasn’t born with that name, nor was he born a Buddhist.

He lived during the 6th century BCE and grew up in what is now Nepal. He was named Siddhartha; Gautama was his clan name. Siddhartha’s mother died shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his aunt. His father was the head of the Shakya nation, and he expected his first-born son to follow him. Siddhartha Gautama married and had a son.

Siddhartha lived the respected life of the warrior class. He trained in martial arts, and his father taught him leadership skills. At some point as a young man in his late 20s, he decided to leave his life of privilege to become a wandering ascetic, dedicated to spiritual understanding. During this period, he spent some time alone, twice trained under renowned teachers of the time and practiced with a small group of five other male ascetics. Eventually, he went off by himself, determined to make the breakthrough he so much sought.

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And he did.

Afterward, he found the five men he had previously practiced with and taught them his insights.

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