AMERICAN MILITARY UNIVERSITY
The Life of Siddhārtha Gautama
Brian Todd Carey
Department of History and Military Studies
World Civilization before 1650, HIST111
March 23, 2011
Where and when was Siddhārtha Gautama born? Were there any persons or events in his
early life which you believe helped shape this individual’s legacy?
According to the sacred tales, in 563 BCE Siddhārtha Gautama, who was to become “The
Buddha,” was born in Lumbini, in southern Nepal. Located at the foot of the Himalayas, it is
now one of the world’s holiest places.
There are many legends surrounding the birth, life, and
death of Siddhartha Gautama that have been passed down through the generations. The stories
say that before he was born, his mother, the queen of a small Indian kingdom, had a dream. In it,
a beautiful white elephant offered her a lotus flower and then entered the side of her body. When
sages were asked to interpret the dream, they predicted the queen would give birth to a son, who
1 Stephen T. Asma,
Why I Am a Buddhist
(Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Pub., 2010), 5.
DVD, directed by David Grubin (2010; New York, NY: David Grubin Productions, 2010).
What the Buddha thought
(Oakville, CT: Equinox Pub., 2009), 32.