Suddhodana | Father of Buddha

Suddhodana | Father of Buddha

Suddhodana (Kapilavastu, ... - Kapilavastu, ...) was a king of the Shakya Kingdom (in northern India and Nepal) and the father of Gautama Buddha.


Suddhodana was the son of King Sihahanu and Queen Kaccana. He married a woman of great beauty, Maya. The couple had no children for many years, until the woman dreamed that a white elephant pierced her in the side. The queen became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Siddhartha Gautama.

After the birth, brahmans were invited to the court for an auspicious ceremony. One of them made the newborn's horoscope and said that if he ascended the throne he would become a universal monarch, but if he embraced the religious life he would become a Buddha.

Queen Maya died after a few days, and the baby was given to Maya's sister, Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī, who became the king's second wife. From Pajapati Suddhodana had two more children, Prince Nanda and Princess Sundari Nanda.

Later, Suddhodana tried to prevent Siddhartha from embracing religious life and brought him up in the royal palace amidst the comforts and luxuries, making him participate in court life. The king also favored his son's marriage to his cousin Yasodhara, by whom Siddhartha had a son, Rāhula. Despite his father's precautions, Siddhartha left the family and took up religious life.

Suddhodana maintained his opposition to his son's choice and sent a messenger with a large escort to persuade Siddhartha to return, but the envoys converted and became his disciples.

Finally he sent a great friend of Siddhartha's, Kaludayi, with the charge of getting him to return. Kaludayi became a monk; however, he kept his promise and invited Siddhartha, who had become Buddha, to return home. When Buddha returned to Kapilbastu, Suddhodana threatened Yasodhara with death if he revealed to Rahula that Buddha was his father.

Suddhodana met with Buddha, who revealed to him that even in previous lives they had been father and son. Unable to prevent his grandson Rahula from becoming a follower of Buddha, Suddhodana tore his son a promise that he would not accept any young man as a follower thereafter without parental consent.

Buddha then left Kapilbastu and returned many years later, when he heard of Suddhodana's impending death and spiritually assisted his father by preaching to him while he was on his deathbed.

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