The family of Gautama Buddha – Lineage of dreams & legends
The Buddha was born into a noble family in Lumbini in 563 BCE as per historical events and 624 BCE according to Buddhist tradition.
He was called Siddhartha Gautama in his childhood. His father was king Śuddhodana, leader of the Shakya clan in what was the growing state of Kosala, and his mother was queen Maya.
Table of Contents
- 1 - The marks of a great man
- 2 - Gautama Buddha’s clan & family members
- 2.1 - Shakya
- 2.2 - Rāhula
- 2.3 - Mahapajapati Gotami
- 2.4 - Sundari Nanda (half-sister of Buddha)
- 2.5 - Ānanda
- 2.6 - Devadatta
- 2.7 - Nanda (half-brother of Buddha)
- 2.8 - Yaśodharā
- 2.9 - Añjana
- 2.10 - Dandapāni
- 2.11 - Koliya
- 2.12 - Maya (mother of the Buddha)
- 2.13 - Rohini (Buddha’s disciple)
- 2.14 - Sihahanu
- 2.15 - Śuddhodana
- 2.16 - Suppabuddha
The marks of a great man
According to Buddhist legends, the baby exhibited the marks of a great man. A prophecy indicated that, if the child stayed at home, he was destined to become a world ruler.
If the child left home, however, he would become a universal spiritual leader.
To make sure the boy would be a great king and world ruler, his father isolated him in his palace and he was raised by his mother’s younger sister, Mahapajapati Gotami, after his mother died just seven days after childbirth.
Both Yashodhara and Rāhula later became disciples of Buddha.
Gautama Buddha’s clan & family members
This is a list of some well-known Gautama Buddha’s close family members and other important relatives.
The Shakya were a clan of late Vedic India and the later so-called second urbanisation period in the Indian subcontinent.
Rāhula was the only son of Siddhārtha Gautama, and his wife and princess Yaśodharā. He is mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts, from the early period onward. Accounts about Rāhula indicate a mutual impact between Prince Siddhārtha’s life and the lives of his family members.
According to the Pāli tradition, Rāhula is born on the day of Prince Siddhārta’s renunciation, and is therefore named Rāhula, meaning a fetter on the path to enlightenment. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition, and numerous other later sources, however, Rāhula is only conceived on the day of Prince Siddhartha’s renunciation, and is born six years later, when Prince Siddhārtha becomes enlightened as the Buddha.
This long gestation period is explained by bad karma from previous lives of both Yaśodharā and of Rāhula himself, although more naturalistic reasons are also given. As a result of the late birth, Yaśodharā needs to prove that Rāhula is really Prince Siddhārtha’s son, which she eventually does successfully by an act of truth.
Historian Wolfgang Schumann has argued that Prince Siddhārtha conceived Rāhula and waited for his birth, to be able to leave the palace with the king and queen’s permission, but Orientalist Noël Péri considered it more likely that Rāhula was born after Prince Siddhārtha left his palace.
Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī was the foster-mother, step-mother and maternal aunt of the Buddha. In Buddhist tradition, she was the first woman to seek ordination for women, which she did from Gautama Buddha directly, and she became the first bhikkhuni.
Sundari Nanda (half-sister of Buddha)
Princess Sundarī Nandā of Shakya, also known simply a Sundarī, was the daughter of King Suddhodana and Mahaprajapati.She was the half-sister of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became a Buddha. She became a nun after the enlightenment of her half-brother and became an arhat. She was the foremost among bhikkhunis in the practice of jhana. She lived during the 6th century BCE in what is now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India.
Ānanda was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha’s many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sutta-Piṭaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha’s teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dhamma, with Dhamma referring to the Buddha’s teaching. In Early Buddhist Texts, Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha. Although the early texts do not agree on many parts of Ānanda’s early life, they do agree that Ānanda was ordained as a monk and that Puṇṇa Mantāniputta became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha’s ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.
Devadatta was by tradition a Buddhist monk, cousin and brother-in-law of Gautama Siddhārtha, the Sākyamuni Buddha, and brother of Yashodhara, wife of Prince Siddhartha. Devadatta was a koliyan and sakyan and is said to have parted from the Buddha’s following with 500 other monks to form their own Sangha, most of whom are said to have been Shakya clan relatives of both Devadatta and Siddhartha.
Nanda (half-brother of Buddha)
Prince Nanda Shakya, also known as Sundarananda Shakya, was the younger half-brother of Gautama Buddha. He shared the same father as Buddha, King Śuddhodana, and his mother, Mahapajapati Gotami, was the Buddha’s mother’s younger sister. Nanda also had a own sister named Sundari Nanda.
Yaśodharā was the wife of Prince Siddhartha — until he left his home to become a śramaṇa— the mother of Rāhula, and the sister of Devadatta.
She later became a Buddhist Nun and is considered an arahatā. (or Lady Arhat).
Añjana was a king of Koliya dynasty of ancient India, a dynasty that was present around the time of Gautama Buddha, according to Buddhist scriptures.
He was the son of the king Devadaha.
Anjana had two sons Suppabuddha and Dandapāni, and two daughters Māyā and Pajāpatī. The daughters later became the wives of Suddhodana.
Maya was the mother of Gautama Buddha.
Anjana had two wives named as Sulakkhanā and Yasodharā and a sister Kaccānā.
Dandapani was an ancient Indian king from the Koliya dynasty, who ruled a city called Koli.
He was born in Devadaha as a Koliya Prince, as one of the sons of Añjana and Yasodharā.
His brother was Suppabuddha and his sisters Māyā and Pajāpatī.
He was the Buddha’s maternal uncle.
The Koliyas were Kshatriya of the Adicca (Iksvaku) clan of the Solar Dynasty from the Indian subcontinent, during the time of Gautama Buddha.
Maya (mother of the Buddha)
Queen Māyā of Sakya was the birth mother of Gautama Buddha, the sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. She was sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha.
Rohini (Buddha’s disciple)
Rohiṇī was a princess of the Śākyas and sister of Anuruddha. She is a Śrotāpanna.
King Sihahanu (Skt:Sīṃhahanu) was an ancient monarch and paternal grandfather of Gautama Buddha. He was one of the ruler of Shakya Clan.
Śuddhodana, meaning “he who grows pure rice,” was a leader of the Shakya, who lived in an oligarchic republic in Lumbini(present day Nepal)with their capital at Kapilavastu. He was also the father of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became The Buddha.
Suprabuddha (Sanskrit), or Suppabuddha (Pali) was the maternal uncle and father-in-law of the Buddha according to the Mahavamsa genealogy and the Theravada commentarial tradition. He was also known as Mahāsuppabuddha.