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Siddhartha Gautama, often known simply as "The Buddha" (c. 5th century BC), was a spiritual teacher and is now the primary figure in Buddhism. There is little certainty about his life or works, as most of his supposed teachers were passed down orally for several hundred years before they were written down. Most historians agree Gautama was a dedicated ascetic, renouncing worldly pleasures and leading a simple and nomadic life. His teachings inspired others to do the same to give up the suffering inherent in worldly goods.
There are no surviving works directly attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, but several Buddhist reference sources include some of his ideas.
A Dictionary of Buddhism by Damien Keown
Publication Date: 2003
Over 2,000 entries Incorporating research by regional specialists, covering both historical and contemporary issues in Buddhism and including all Buddhist schools and cultures.
The Foundations of Buddhism by Rupert Gethin
Publication Date: 1998
Buddhism is a vast and complex religious and philosophical tradition with a history that stretches over 2,500 years, and which is now followed by around 115 million people. In this introduction to the foundations of Buddhism, Rupert Gethin concentrates on the ideas and practices which constitute the common heritage of the different traditions of Buddhism that exist in the world today. From the narrative of the story of the Buddha, through discussions of aspects such as textual traditions, the framework of the Four Noble Truths, the interaction between the monastic and lay ways of life, the cosmology of karma and rebirth, and the path of the bodhisattva, this book provides a stimulating introduction to Buddhism as a religion and way of life.