Buddha

Definition - What does Buddha mean?

Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born into a royal family about 2,500 years ago. His father was King Shuddhodhana, ruler of Kapilavastu (now a part of Nepal). Buddha's birthname was Siddhartha Gautama. The name, Siddhartha, is a combination of two Sanskrit roots: siddha, meaning "achieved," and artha, meaning "what was sought after." Hence, it means "he who has achieved his goals." Upon attaining enlightenment, Siddhartha came to be known as Buddha, which means "The Awakened One."

Though Buddha is not directly involved in yoga philosophy, both Buddhism and spiritual yoga practice share the goal of enlightenment and spiritual liberation. Many yogis will practice Buddhism in conjunction with their yoga practice.

Yogapedia explains Buddha

Siddhartha was inspired by an ascetic who was on the path to spiritual liberation. At 29 years old, he left his palace, his wife and his child to find out how to overcome suffering, or duhkha. He practiced different forms of meditation and underwent fasts with not even water drink.

After arriving at Bodh Gaya, Siddhartha sat under a fig tree and decided to remain there until his questions were answered. After several days of deep concentration, fasting and mindful meditation, Siddhartha found the answer. He understood how to relieve suffering.

Upon attaining enlightenment when he was 35 years old, Siddhartha came to be known as Buddha. The tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment is called the Bodhi tree.

Following his enlightenment, Buddha came up with and preached the Four Noble Truths to his disciples:

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the cause of suffering
  3. The truth of the end of suffering
  4. The truth of the path leading to the end of suffering

This fourth truth refers to the Noble Eightfold Path, which is considered the heart of Buddhist practice. It is also referred to as the middle path. To achieve enlightenment, one must follow these eight disciplines:

  1. Right understanding
  2. Right thought
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

Buddhism and yoga are similar in many ways. Both aim at developing compassion, spiritual enlightenment and liberation. Both consider dharma to be the fundamental law of the universe. Both perceive karma as the cause behind a human's rebirth. They also both work to liberate the practitioner from struggle and worldly suffering. For this reason, yogic practitioners follow the path of Buddha and some Buddhists practice yoga.

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter