Māyā (mother of the Buddha)

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The birth of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, Gandhara, 2nd–3rd century CE.

Māyā [alt. Māyādevī; Mahāmāyā] (T. sgyu 'phrul ma སྒྱུ་འཕྲུལ་མ་; C. moye 摩耶) was the mother of Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha. She was married to Siddhartha's father, Śuddhodana, the ruler of the Shakya clan.

According to traditional accounts, Māyā had a dream in which four gods escorted her to the Himalayas, where goddesses bathed her and dressed her in the finest clothing. As she lay on her side, the future Buddha, in the form of a white elephant, entered her womb. Ten months later, as Māyā was traveling with her entourage to visit with her parents in a nearby city, she gave birth to Siddhartha in a forest grove in Lumbini. Māyā died shortly after giving birth, and her sister Mahāpajāpatī raised the Siddhartha, becoming his step-mother.

After Siddhartha attained buddhahood, he visited his mother in a heavenly realm for three months to pay respects and to teach the Dharma.

See also