Buddha’s life & times

There is no way of knowing in great detail the factual story of the Buddha’s life. What we can gather about his life comes from the early Buddhist texts – known as the Pali Canon – and other historical sources. The Pali Canon was written in Sri Lanka around the middle of the 1st century BCE. These texts were a compilation of material that had been passed down in an oral tradition – often by communal chanting – from the Buddha’s time.

Early Buddhist terms are either in the Pali language – possibly similar to the language the Buddha may have spoken – and Sanskrit – a language closely related to Pali. This is why Buddhist terms often take two forms: eg. Gotama (Pali) & Gautama (Sanskrit).

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