With reference to ancient India, Gautama Buddha was generally known by which of the following epithets?

  1. Nayaputta
  2. Shakyamuni
  3. Tathagata

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3
(d) None of the above are epithets of Gautama Buddha

The correct answer is (b) 2 and 3 only.

  • Shakyamuni: This epithet means “Sage of the Shakyas” and is commonly used to refer to Gautama Buddha, highlighting his origin from the Shakya clan.
  • Tathagata: This term is used by Gautama Buddha to refer to himself or other Buddhas, meaning “one who has thus gone” or “one who has thus come”.
  • Nayaputta: This is not an epithet of Gautama Buddha. It is an epithet used for Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism.

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Gautama Buddha

  • Birth and Early Life: Born as Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, on the present-day India-Nepal border, he was a prince of the Shakya clan.
  • Enlightenment: After renouncing his princely life, he sought enlightenment through various ascetic practices and ultimately achieved it under the Bodhi tree by realizing the Four Noble Truths.
  • Teachings: He preached the Eightfold Path, which offers a middle way between self-indulgence and self-mortification, leading to nirvana.
  • Death: He died after eating a meal that may have contained spoiled pork, escaping the cycle of rebirth, and his relics were enshrined in stupas.

Epithets of Gautama Buddha

  • Shakyamuni: Emphasizes his origin from the Shakya clan.
  • Tathagata: Used by Buddha to refer to himself, signifying one who has transcended the human condition.
  • Other Epithets: Includes Bhagavato (Blessed One), Sammasambuddho (Perfectly self-awakened), and many others that highlight his qualities and achievements.


  • Names and Epithets: Known by several names such as Nayaputta, Muni, Samana, and Nigantha.
  • Teachings: Promoted doctrines like anekantavada, emphasizing multiple perspectives and the nature of reality.

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