Buddha was originally born as Sidhartha Gautam in Lumbini, western Nepal, in 563 BC, the son of King Suddhodhan and Queen Mayadevi. As a young adult, his contact with the outside world led him to seek a deeper meaning of life and spiritual fulfilment. It is believed that Gautam Buddha had over 500 incarnations and, to distinguish him from all the other alternative Buddhas, he became known as Shakyamuni (the lion of the Sakya kin group, son of King Suddhodhana), ‘Bodhi’ or ‘Knowledge’.
The Shakyamuni Buddha sits in a meditative pose (dhyana asana) with his legs crossed and both feet visible. He sits on a lotus flower, also known as a “padmasana”. Sakyamuni Buddha, at the moment of enlightenment, addressed the earth as a witness, indicated by the fingers of his right hand in “bhumisparsha mudra”, “gesture touching the earth”. As the sun and the moon stood still, all the creatures of the world came to offer their homage to the Supreme, who had transcended the limits of egocentric existence, experiencing selfless and unsurpassable enlightenment.
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