The Essential Guide to the Buddha

Essential Guide to the Buddha

“Buddha” means “one who is awake.” The historical Buddha who lived 2,600 years ago was not a god. He was an ordinary person, named Siddhartha Gautama, whose profound insights inspired the world. Here, Barbara O’Brien, Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Ira Sukrungruang, and more look to explore the Buddha’s life and how his teachings can be incredibly helpful to our lives today.


Sculpture of a Buddha head.

Gautama vs the Buddha

Buddhist scholar Glenn Wallis argues that we should look to the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama―an ordinary person like us.

Buddha facing African-American woman.

Buddhism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter

We need to update the traditional narrative of the Buddha’s life, says Pamela Ayo Yetunde, for people who know suffering all too well. She offers some alternative stories for the time of #BlackLivesMatter.

Sculpture of Shakyamuni Buddha sitting and touching the earth.

Who Was the Buddha?

Lion's Roar deputy editor Andrea Miller tells the story of Siddhartha Gautama.

Buddha: The Great Physician

The Buddha is compared to a doctor because he treated the suffering that ails all of us. His diagnosis and cure, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer, is called the four noble truths.

In Search of the Real Buddha

Buddhist scholar Peter Harvey explores the facts, myths, and deeper truths of the Buddha’s life story.

Ira Sukrungruang, Childhood, Buddha, Imaginary Friend, Shambhala Sun, Lion's Roar, Buddhism

Playing With Buddha

At age seven, Ira Sukrungruang believed that the Buddha was more than a bronze statue. The Buddha was his best friend.

Painting of the Buddha preacahing.

The Buddha is Still Teaching

The true Buddha isn’t limited to the body or mind of a particular person who lived long ago. He is present today, says Jack Kornfield, in teachers pointing the way to a timeless freedom.