ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Did the Buddha Really Exist?

Updated on April 7, 2015

The Buddha is a Sanskrit word, which means the Enlightened One. When the historical Buddha was living, he asked his followers and monks to refer him as Tathagata (literally the one who knows). After his death, Buddha became more common name for the founder of Buddhism.

The Buddha was born in Lumbini,Nepal
The Buddha was born in Lumbini,Nepal | Source

The Buddha and Buddhism

The Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. The only surviving religion that is older than Buddhism is Hinduism and Judaism. The Buddha is referred both, as a God, in Hinduism and Buddhism, and historically as a man who attained Enlightenment.

Many archeological evidences proving the existence of the Buddha has been found. However, there are people who doubt the existence of the Buddha. This is quite natural because the one who lived more than 2600 years ago can easily be an obscure persona.

Even in the ancient time, the existence of the Buddha was doubted. Did the Buddha really exist? Many prominent as well as layperson asked this question.

The Buddha was born inside the Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini
The Buddha was born inside the Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini | Source

Lumbini: The Birthplace of the Buddha

Buddhism is one of the major world religions and the third largest religion after Christianity and Islam in terms of numbers of followers. Buddhism is older than Christianity and Islam. The origin of Buddhism dates back to 5th century Before the Common Era (BCE). The Buddha, the propagator of Buddhism, is a historical figure. He was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in c. 623 BCE, on the full moon day of May.

The Buddha spent 80 years of his life in Nepal and northern India. There are four major places related to the life of the Buddha. and considered pilgrimage sites by the Buddhists all over the world.

  • Lumbini: The Buddha was born in Lumbini
  • Bodhgaya: Siddhartha Gautama attained Nirvana and became the Buddha in Bodhgaya
  • Sarnath: The Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath
  • Kushinagar: The Buddha died in Kushinagar

Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha is in Nepal and Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar are in India.

Sarnath in India: The Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath
Sarnath in India: The Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath | Source

Did the Buddha Really Exist?

Once there lived a king named Milinda, in the late 2nd century BCE. He was a Greek king of Bactria, which is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. He went to a Buddhist monk named Nagasena.

Milinda: Did the Buddha really exist?

Nagasena: Yes.

Milinda: Can you show me?

Nagasena: He attained Nirvana so he cannot be shown today.

Milinda: Please illustrate with examples.

Nagasena: Can anyone show the flame that has extinguished?

Milinda: No.

Nagasena: Same is the case with the Buddha. His teachings tell about him.

(Excerpts from second century Buddhist non-canonical literature Milindapanha, the Questions of Milinda)

Buddhist Philosophy

The Buddhism is a religion, a philosophy, and a way of life.

  • As a religion, Buddhism appoints a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, including the Buddha, and ascribes esoteric rituals to venerate and appease the deities for the betterment of this life as well as the afterlife.
  • As a philosophy, Buddhism analyses the existence of the world, and of the individual.
  • As a way of life, Buddhism prescribes many instructions on how to discard sorrows and become happy.

According to the Buddhist worldview, an individual has five main constituents.

  1. Matter (the physical body that consists of blood, bones, tissues etc.)
  2. Sensation (the emotions and feelings that arise in a body)
  3. Perception (the thoughts acquired through five senses)
  4. Intellect (the ability to perceive the outer world as well as the inner world)
  5. Consciousness (the insights, the awareness)

Have you been to Lumbini Nepal?

See results

Historical Places Related to the Buddha

A
Lumbini, Nepal:
Lumbini 32900, Nepal

get directions

The Buddha was born here

B
Bodhgaya:
Bodhgaya, Bihar, India

get directions

Siddhartha Gautama attained Nirvana and became the Buddha in Bodhgaya

C
sarnath:
Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221007, India

get directions

The Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath

D
kushinagar:
Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

get directions

The Buddha died in Kushinagar

© 2015 Vinaya Ghimire

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hi Vinaya, Thank you so much for email to let me know you are safe. I'm pasting it here so others can read it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the people of Nepal.

      "Dear Verlie

      We are safe. We have access to food phone Internet and health services. There has been no damage to our property.

      Thanks for your concern."

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Vinaya! I've just heard about the devastating earthquake in Nepal. I hope you are safe!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 years ago from USA

      I haven't encountered anyone who doubts that Buddha ever lived, but I'm sure they are out there. This was a worthy hub, and I enjoyed reading it.

    • radhapriestess profile image

      radhapriestess 

      4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Interesting and well written article. Buddah certainly had a big influence on the world with his philosophy and way of life. In Hinduism he is considered by many to the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is the aspect of God which has to do with stability and preserving creation. What I remember about him is his emphasis on how to deal with suffering because we all suffer in life to some extent. Right action is a great concept, also.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 years ago from london

      Very nice article, The spiritual life can be rationalised but never proved. One needs the experience.

      I have been to Nepal and it's a beautiful country. I also climbed Anapurna. Nice Hub Bro. Keep going.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      The title of your HUB intrigued me. Never thought that anyone ever questioned the existence of the Buddha. Great HUB! Will share.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always nice to read an article by you. Thank you for the information and for your thoughts, Vinaya!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      We ask the same questions in all religions... did the Buddha really exist, was there really a Christ, and so on.. Faith is really believe in what your heart tells you.. what harm can that really do? anyway.. a very interesting educational share my friend .. do you speak Sanskrit? I know it is the primary language of Hindism, and it is surviving in some small villages in India.. just curious :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)