Who Was Buddha?

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The term "Buddha" is generally used as an appellation for the ancient Indian figure, Siddhartha Gautama, who is believed to have lived sometime between 563 B.C. and 483 B.C. "Buddha" is a Sanskrit term meaning "the awakened one."

Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher who used the term to refer to himself. Distinct from monarchical or divine titles, "Buddha" meant simply that he was no longer a slave to emotions and illusion, but had attained Nirvana (or freedom from suffering).

He spent much of his life teaching the Dharma (or the way to Nirvana) to his followers. He is therefore remembered as the founder of the Buddhist tradition and one of its "three refuges," of which the other two are the Dharma (teachings) and the Sangha (followers).