11 - Buddhist History 3: Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 1 - Birth through Homeleaving
17 - Buddhist History 5: Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 3 - Early Teaching and Sangha


This episode is part of my “Buddhist History” series, and it’s the second episode about the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. In the last episode, I talked about the various sources of information we have about Shakyamuni Buddha, including their origin and historicity. Then I told the story of the Buddha’s life from before his birth through his youth and young adulthood, up through the point where he became dissatisfied with worldly life and left home as a spiritual renunciate. In this episode, I pick up Buddha’s story starting with his remarkable spiritual struggle as a mendicant, and continuing through the rest of his life.

Read/listen to Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 1 first



Quicklinks to Transcript Content:
Siddhartha’s Initial Spiritual Struggle [2:50]
Siddhartha’s Enlightenment – Pali Canon Version [6:38]
Siddhartha’s Enlightenment – “Intro to the Jataka” Version [8:40]
The Buddha’s Decision to Teach – Pali Canon Version [11:30]
Right After Enlightenment – “Intro to the Jataka” Version [14:40]
The Buddha’s First Teachings – The Middle Way [17:30]
The Buddha’s First Teachings – The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path [20:42]
The Buddha’s 45-Year Teaching Career [23:39]
The Buddha Says to Rely on the Dhamma, Not on Him [26:03]
The Buddha Relinquishes the Will to Live [29:10]
The Buddha’s Death [30:42]

In this episode, I won’t say much about two aspects of the Buddha’s life: First, I won’t talk about the content of the Buddha’s enlightenment, because I focused on that in Episode 9: Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment: What Did He Realize? Second, I won’t say much about what happened during the Buddha’s 45-year teaching career after his enlightenment, because I will cover that in detail in the next Buddhist History episode.

As I tell the Buddha’s story, I’ll continue to give you the Pali Canon version of events first. As I discussed in the last episode, the Pali Canon probably gives us the oldest and most accurate story – although it contains plenty of mythological imagery as well. As I go, I’ll also share some more colorful stories from the “Introduction to the Jataka,” another ancient Buddhist text I introduced you to in the last episode. I’ll let you know the source of each story as I go.

A Note about Names

As I explained in the last episode, it’s helpful to know that “the Buddha” is referred to by several different names, or titles. From his birth up until his enlightenment he is called “Siddhartha Gautama:” Siddhartha is a personal name, and Gautama is a clan name. After his enlightenment, he is called “Buddha,” or “the Buddha,” meaning “awakened one.” He’s also called “Shakyamuni Buddha,” or just “Shakyamuni,” which means “sage of the Sakya lineage.”

Siddhartha’s Initial Spiritual Struggle

As we arrive at the point in the Siddhartha’s life when he embarks on his spiritual quest, the Pali Canon has plenty to say. In the Majjhima Nikaya 36,[i] the Buddha tells his disciples in great detail about his search and struggles. First, Siddhartha studies at length with an eminent spiritual teacher, Alara Kalama, and masters the teachings and practices such that Kalama accepts Siddhartha as his equal. Despite this, Siddhartha thinks to himself, “’This Dhamma [teaching] leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding (nibbana), but only to reappearance in the dimension of nothingness.”

Dissatisfied, Siddhartha leaves Kalama and ends up studying with Uddaka Ramaputta. The future Buddha masters Ramaputta’s teaching as well, and is accepted as his equal, but again Siddhartha decides what he has learned doesn’t lead to the Awakening he seeks, “but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.” Siddhartha leaves Ramaputta as well.

What follows in the Pali Canon is a vivid description of Siddhartha’s subsequent efforts to achieve Awakening through the practice of extreme asceticism. Deciding that he needs to eradicate every trace of his desire for sensuality, the young man thinks:

“‘Suppose that I, clenching my teeth and pressing my tongue against the roof of my mouth, were to beat down, constrain, & crush my mind with my awareness.’ So, clenching my teeth and pressing my tongue against the roof of my mouth, I beat down, constrained, & crushed my mind with my awareness. Just as a strong man, seizing a weaker man by the head or the throat or the shoulders, would beat him down, constrain, & crush him, in the same way I beat down, constrained, & crushed my mind with my awareness. As I did so, sweat poured from my armpits. And although tireless persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established, my body was aroused & uncalm because of the painful exertion.”[ii]

Emaciated Siddhartha Fasting Gautama Buddha

Emaciated Siddhartha Fasting

Siddhartha then tries the practice of non-breathing, and when that doesn’t work, he tries going altogether without food. Afraid that he will die, the gods warn him that if he refuses to eat they’ll magically infuse his body with nourishment. In the Sutta, the Buddha then explains how he grudgingly took a tiny bit of food at a time, nonetheless becoming emaciated. He describes himself: “Simply from my eating so little, my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems… My backside became like a camel’s hoof… My spine stood out like a string of beads… My ribs jutted out like the jutting rafters of an old, run-down barn…”


Siddhartha’s Enlightenment – Pali Canon Version

Finally, Siddhartha reflects that no one has ever practiced asceticism to the extreme he just has, and yet still he hadn’t “attained any superior human state, any distinction in knowledge or vision worthy of the noble ones.” “Could there be another path to Awakening?” he wonders. Then he recalls a meditative state he spontaneously entered into as a child, sitting under a tree while he waited for his father to be done working. He remembers this state as characterized by the “rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, [and] accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.” Siddhartha decides this must be the path to Awakening. Realizing there is nothing wrong with pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, he eats some rice and porridge in order to strengthen himself, and settles into meditation.

The Majjhima Nikaya 36 describes the Buddha’s awakening, or enlightenment, step by step. I won’t talk about that here because I covered it in Episode 9: Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment: What Did He Realize? Suffice it to say, for the purposes of our continuing story, that Siddhartha gained insight into all of his burning spiritual questions, and discovered a path of practice leading to complete liberation from suffering. In describing his experience, the Buddha says, “I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding.” That is, he achieved liberation from the cycle of suffering and rebirth, which was one of the spiritual preoccupations of his time. (I talk about the contemporary Indian view of transmigration at the Buddha’s time in Episode 6: Arising of Buddhism Part 2 – New Religious Questions and Answers Around 500 BCE.)

Siddhartha’s Enlightenment – “Intro to the Jataka” Version

Departing for a moment from our austere Pali Canon story, I want to share with you a description of the Buddha’s enlightenment from the “Introduction to the Jataka.” After pursuing awakening for six years, finally determining that austerities were not the path to Buddhahood, Siddhartha takes nourishment and settles down to meditate under a tree. Doing so, he vows, “Let my skin, and sinews, and bones become dry, and welcome! And let all the flesh and blood in my body dry up! but never from this seat will I stir, until I have attained the supreme and absolute wisdom!”[iii]

Of course, such audacity provokes the god Mara, who wants sentient beings to remain stuck in his realm of desire through the cycle of rebirth and is therefore motivated to prevent the Buddha’s awakening. Mara summons his unimaginable large army and wages a battle against Siddhartha. The “Introduction to the Jataka” describes Mara’s army in detail, including an elephant 150 leagues high, named “Girded-with-mountains.” When the Siddhartha is unfazed, Mara attacks in other ways, including with a torrential rain storm, gale-force winds, a shower of rocks, and dense darkness. All such attacks prove fruitless, so Mara challenges Siddhartha, asking him present someone able to bear witness to the young man’s worthiness to claim the seat of enlightenment. Shakyamuni replies that the earth itself would bear him witness, and she does – causing Mara’s army to flee in all directions. The “Introduction to the Jataka” explains, “No two went the same way, but leaving their head-ornaments and their cloaks behind, they fled straight before them.”


Mara’s armies attacking Siddhartha on his enlightenment seat.

This imagery of Mara’s armies fleeing makes me think of cartoon characters who run away so fast they leave their hats behind. Humor aside, though, it doesn’t take much to interpret the symbolism of this version of the Buddha’s effort to attain enlightenment: It required great determination, and Siddhartha had to face great obstacles along the way, including doubt. To find the courage and strength to persevere, Siddhartha relied not on philosophical arguments or the support of other people, but on his own, direct, down-to-earth experience.

The Buddha’s Decision to Teach – Pali Canon Version

According to the Pali Canon, after his enlightenment, the Buddha sat for seven days straight, further investigating the implications of what he had realized. Then he thought to himself, “This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation [of people] delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment.” He reasons that people of such a generation will not understand his teachings, and his efforts to teach them will simply prove tiresome and troublesome. At this point, the Buddha feels “inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.” He thinks:

“Enough now with teaching what
only with difficulty
I reached.
This Dhamma is not easily realized
by those overcome
with aversion & passion.

What is abstruse, subtle,
deep, hard to see,
going against the flow —
those delighting in passion,
cloaked in the mass of darkness,
won’t see.” [iv]

However, the god Brahma Sahampati, able to perceive the Buddha’s thoughts, laments that the world will be lost because the Self-Awakened One doesn’t want to teach. He appears before Shakyamuni and begs him to share the Dharma (his teachings), promising him “there will be those who understand.”

Then the Buddha contemplates who to teach. Who will understand this subtle, profound, difficult-to-understand Dharma? He thinks of his first spiritual teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, but then perceives they have died. Then he thinks about five mendicants with whom he had earlier practiced austerities, and decides to go seek them out at the deer park at Varanasi, where they were staying. At first the mendicants reject Shakyamuni because they know he had abandoned ascetic practices. They repeatedly grill him:

“By that practice, that conduct, that performance of austerities you did not attain any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one. So how can you now — living luxuriously, straying from your exertion, backsliding into abundance — have attained any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one?”

The Buddha is able to convince them to listen to him anyway, insisting that he is not actually backsliding into abundance. The five mendicants become Shakyamuni’s first students.

Buddha's first sermon at Sarnath. Gandhara.Met

The Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath.


Right After Enlightenment – “Intro to the Jataka” Version

In case you were wondering, the “Introduction to the Jataka” follows this same story about the Buddha’s decision to teach (and who to teach first) fairly closely (although the five ascetics are convinced to listen to the Buddha not through argument, but because their hearts were suffused with Shakyamuni’s “good-will,” which “was able to pervade generally all beings in earth and heaven”).[v]

On a different note, the “Introduction to the Jataka” describes the post-enlightenment Buddha wandering around the countryside quite a while before contemplating whether to teach. He spends time meditating and has some interesting encounters. First, the Buddha is again challenged when Mara’s daughters see how dejected their father is after his failure to prevent the Buddha’s enlightenment. The daughters try to tempt the Buddha into sensuality but they fail.

Then, several of the places where Shakyamuni meditates for extended periods are immediately designated upon his departure as the sites for stupas, or memorial mounds that serve as pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. At one point the Buddha pulls out some of his hair to give to a couple adoring followers, which they then treat as relics and place inside a stupa they build for the purpose.

This aspect of the “Introduction to the Jataka” – it’s description of relics and stupas – was the discussed in a dissertation by a University of Chicago doctoral student, Arnold Aronoff, in 1982. I was only able to read the abstract of the dissertation, but it suggests that one of the reasons the Jataka commentaries are not included in the Pali Canon is because of their emphasis on the importance of the Buddha’s physical legacy (locations he personally visited, and relics he left behind), instead of his Dharmic legacy (or his teachings).[vi] The stories about the founding of stupas in the “Introduction to the Jataka” actually represent the beginning of a significant divergence in the development of Buddhism over the centuries, between a monastic core that decided what to include in the Canon and focused on Buddhist teachings and practices, and a popular, lay Buddhism that focused largely on devotion around stupas, relics, and other items of religious significance. But I digress! I’ll have to return to this topic in a future episode.

The Buddha’s First Teachings – The Middle Way

According to tradition, the very first teaching of the Buddha is contained in the Pali Canon’s Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, or the Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion Sutta.[vii] In it, Shakyamuni presents two of the most foundational teachings of Buddhism: The Middle Way, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path. I will explain these teachings in detail in future episodes of my “Foundational Teachings” series; here, I’ll just give you a brief overview of them as part of the Buddha’s life story.

Remember how the Buddha tried ascetic practice, and then decided it wasn’t fruitful? And that his first teaching audience consisted of five fellow ascetics who were skeptical of his new approach to spiritual practice? It’s probably not surprising that he begins his teaching with his discovery of the Middle Way:

“There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.”

So, the Buddha rejected the life of luxury he had experienced in his youth as an obstacle to spiritual awakening and liberation, but also counseled against extreme asceticism.

Within the religious and spiritual context of the Buddha’s time, the teaching of the Middle Way is very significant – so significant that in subsequent generations, the term “Middle Way” become synonymous with the Buddhist path. As I discussed in Episode 6: Arising of Buddhism Part 2, India at the time of the Buddha was a hotbed of spiritual questioning and seeking. Numerous spiritual teachers wandered the countryside, promoting their own approaches to practice. One of the foremost of these new teachers was Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, which is a religion that still exists today. Most Jains, particularly lay followers, didn’t (and don’t) take the Jain practices to extremes, but Jain monastics are encouraged to engage in extreme asceticism – and the ultimate (rarely fulfilled) ideal is actually starving yourself to death. You can see, then, why the Buddha chose to make clear from the beginning his was a middle way between sensual indulgence and extreme asceticism.

The Buddha’s First Teachings – The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path

In the “Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion Sutta,” the Buddha goes on to teach the Four Noble Truths. (This is a fairly subtle teaching that can be easily misunderstood, so if you want to know more about it, check out Episode 27, which focuses on it.) Basically, the Buddha lays out four things a Buddhist practitioner needs to investigate and realize in order to awaken.

The first noble truth is dukkha, which is often translated as “suffering,” but is more synonymous with “dissatisfactoriness” or “stress.” Basically, a practitioner needs to recognize how seeking lasting happiness in conditioned things – basically, all physical things, including our bodies, along with everything that depends on them, such as our emotions or consciousness – leads to dukkha. This is primarily because all conditioned things are impermanent, and contain no inherent essence you can grasp.

The second noble truth is the origin of dukkha. You need to examine your experience of dukkha carefully, until you can see that it is caused not by conditioned things being the way they are, but by your desire for them to be permanent and graspable. Put another way, your resistance to the way things actually are is what leads to suffering, dissatisfactoriness, and stress.

The third noble truth is the cessation of dukkha. You need to learn to let go of your desire and resistance in order to experience freedom from dukkha, which is peace and liberation.

The fourth noble truth is the practice leading to the cessation of dukkha. You won’t be able to let go of your desire and resistance by sheer force of will, but fortunately there are many things you can do to help you realize the first three noble truths and attain peace. These include meditation, mindfulness, studying the Buddhist teachings, and more. The whole collection of Buddhist practices leading to the cessation of dukkha is called the Noble Eightfold Path, which is divided into eight categories: appropriate view or understanding, appropriate resolve or intention, appropriate speech, appropriate action, appropriate livelihood, appropriate effort, appropriate mindfulness, and appropriate concentration or meditation. (This is one of my favorite things about Buddhism, by the way: It doesn’t just give you a set of ideals, it tells you how to go about achieving them.)

The Buddha’s 45-Year Teaching Career

The Buddha then goes on to teach thousands of people over the course of 45 years. Most of the sutras in the Pali Canon relate situations in which the Buddha interacts with his disciples and other spiritual seekers, answering their questions, explaining the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings), and recommending various practices. I will cover this era of the Buddha’s life in detail in my next Buddhist History episode: Buddha’s Buddha’s First Sermons and Students, and the Early Sangha. Here I’ll just give you some highlights:

  • The Buddha taught constantly during the 45 years between his first sermon and his death. He taught anyone who asked, including lay people, monks, practitioners of other religions, skeptics, kings, women, and people from any social caste.
  • Shakyamuni ordained many people, men and women, as monastics. Monks and nuns renounced the household life as the Buddha had, and lived off alms while they practiced the Eightfold Path and taught others. The community of ordained practitioners was called the “Sangha.”
  • Eventually Shakyamuni returned to his home and converted quite a number of his relatives. Some of them became ordained and left home, including his own son, Rahula, [viii] and his aunt/step-mother Pajapati.[ix]
  • By the time of the Buddha’s death, the Sangha was well established, and other people had been empowered to teach the Buddha’s Dharma and pass it on to future generations.

Just to keep up our thread with the “Introduction to the Jataka,” it tells a narrative of the Buddha’s teaching career where he converts thousands and performs many miracles – with an emphasis on where he went and who he encountered, and containing very little in the way of the Buddha’s teachings. Of course, the compilers of this text would have known of the existence of the Pali suttas and would not have therefore felt it necessary to convey the Buddha’s teachings in their commentary. Notably, the “Introduction to the Jataka” narrative ends while the Buddha is still alive and teaching, so we have to return to the Pali Canon for an account of his old age and death.

The Buddha Says to Rely on the Dhamma, Not on Him

As the Buddha reached old age he became susceptible to illness. At one point, afflicted with a severe sickness – which he bore without complaint, “mindful and fully aware” – he thought he might be about to die, but then thought it wouldn’t be right for him to do so without first taking leave of his Sangha of monks (called “bhikkhus” in Pali). Therefore, he willfully suppressed his sickness and it abated.

However, the Buddha’s closest attendant, the monk Ananda, had noticed the Blessed One’s illness (“Blessed One” being another common title for the Buddha). Ananda says:

“…Fortunate it is for me, O Lord, to see the Blessed One recovered! For truly, Lord, when I saw the Blessed One’s sickness it was as though my own body became weak as a creeper, everything around became dim to me, and my senses failed me.”[x]

Ananda explains that he was able to set aside his concern that the Buddha might die by thinking he would never pass away without giving the Sangha of monks some final instructions. The Buddha responds in a rather admonishing tone, saying, “What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda?” Shakyamuni explains that he has taught the Dhamma without dividing it into esoteric and exoteric doctrine – that is, he hasn’t held some of the teaching back but has shared it all, openly, with everyone. This is a very significant statement for the Buddha to make; without it, you can easily imagine, after his death, some of his followers claiming they had access to secret teachings that gave them a special status within the religion. The Buddha goes on to say:

“…the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him… Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports… Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”[xi]

The Buddha explains that people fulfill this request to seek no other refuge but themselves and the Dhamma by putting into practice his teachings about mindfulness, contemplation, and liberation from suffering.

The Buddha Relinquishes the Will to Live

Significantly, the Pali Canon asserts that someone with the Buddha’s level of spiritual attainment could, if he wished, extend his life for a very long time – “throughout a world-period or until the end of it.” In the Digha Nikaya 16, Shakyamuni mentions this to Ananda in the course of conversation three separate times, but Ananda fails to pick up on the hint and does not request the Buddha to extend his life. Shakyamuni thus relinquishes the will to live, saying to himself:

“What causes life, unbounded or confined —
His process of becoming —  this the Sage
Renounces. With inward calm and joy he breaks,
As though a coat of mail, his own life’s cause.”[xii]

At some later point Ananda finally asks Shakyamuni to remain alive for the rest of the world-period “for the benefit, well being, and happiness of gods and men,” but the Buddha tells him it’s too late and actually gives him a pretty hard time about his failure to pick up all the hints the Buddha has dropped over the years about being able to extend his life. Later, however, Shakyamuni tells the Sangha not to blame Ananda because he’s been such a loving, dedicated attendant.

The Buddha’s Death

After more wandering and teaching, the Buddha and his retinue of monks eventually end up in Pava, in a mango grove belonging to Cunda, “the goldsmith’s son.” Cunda finds out the Buddha is staying there and offers to provide a meal to the Sangha. At this fateful meal, the Buddha is served a special dish called in the Pali text sukara-maddava – the translation of which is difficult and controversial, and could have been anything from truffles to tender pig meat. In any case, upon receiving it the Buddha instructs Cunda that it should not be served to anyone else, and that the remainder of the dish should be buried.

After the meal, the Buddha is attacked with a severe illness including a “flux of blood” and “violent deadly pains.” The Blessed One endures the illness with his typical aplomb, without complaint, remaining “mindful and fully aware.” Nonetheless, he knows his time of death is near and heads with his retinue to Kusinara. There he asks for a bed to made for him between two sala trees, and he lays down in the lion’s pose: on his right side, with his arm tucked under his head, and one foot on top of the other.

The sala trees bloom at this point, according to the Pali Canon, although it wasn’t the season for it. Flowers and sandalwood powder fell from the sky, heavenly music could be heard, and deities began weeping. Observing these remarkable happenings, the Buddha tells Ananda that they were not ultimately how a Buddha should be venerated. Instead, one should venerate a Buddha by living according to the Dhamma.

Nirvana buddha peshawar

The Buddha’s Death, or Parinirvana, from Peshawar

At one point Ananda goes off by himself and weeps, thinking, “I am still but a learner, and still have to strive for my own perfection. But, alas, my Master, who was so compassionate towards me, is about to pass away!” Upon discovering this, the Buddha tells Ananda not to lament because all things come to dissolution, and encourages Ananda by saying his service to the Buddha has brought him great merit and it will not be long before he attains enlightenment.

Then, finally, the Buddha uttered his last words, “Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!”[xiii] He then entered deeper and deeper levels of meditation, until some of the monks wondered aloud whether he had already passed away. When he finally died – or achieved “parinibbana,” complete release or liberation – there was a great earthquake and the “thunders rolled across the heavens.”

There was much activity after the Buddha’s death: Hundreds of people, lay and monastic, gathered to pay homage to his remains, and the monks met to establish the rules for the Sangha and the Buddhist canon – but those are stories for another day.

Read/listen to Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 3

Photo Credits

Fasting Buddha: By Akuppa John Wigham from Newcastle upon Tyne, England (Emaciated Siddhartha) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mara’s armies attacking Siddhartha on his enlightenment seat: Mural painting, ubosot, Wat Tha Suthawat, Ang Thong Province, central Thailand. By Hdamm (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath: Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara), 2nd century. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Ismoon (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nirvana Buddha Peshawar (Buddha’s Death): Photograph of a Buddhist sculpture from Loriyan Tangai, taken by Alexander Caddy in 1896. From Wikimedia Commons


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[i] “Maha-Saccaka Sutta: The Longer Discourse to Saccaka” (MN 36), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html.
[ii] “Maha-Saccaka Sutta: The Longer Discourse to Saccaka” (MN 36), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html.
[iii] From the “Introduction to the Jataka” in Rhys Davids 1878
[iv] “Ayacana Sutta: The Request” (SN 6.1), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.001.than.html.
[v] From the “Introduction to the Jataka” in Rhys Davids 1878
[vi] Aronoff, Arnold L. Contrasting Modes of Textual Classification: The Jataka Commentary and its Relationship to the Pali Canon. 1982. http://southasiadissertations.uchicago.edu/content/aronoff-arnold-l
[vii] “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion” (SN 56.11), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html.
[viii] Vin Mv Kh 1:54 in Nanamoli 1972
[ix] Vin. Cv. 10:1 in Nanamoli 1972
[x] “Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha” (DN 16), translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html.
[xi] Ibid
[xii] Ibid
[xiii] Ibid



11 - Buddhist History 3: Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 1 - Birth through Homeleaving
17 - Buddhist History 5: Life of Shakyamuni Buddha Part 3 - Early Teaching and Sangha