Why do what you will regret?
Why bring tears upon yourself?
Do only what you do not regret,
and fill yourself with joy.
Life of the Buddha
According to traditional dating, Shakyamuni Buddha (Shakya thub-pa), also known as Gautama Buddha (Gau-ta-ma), lived from 566 to 485 BCE in central north India. Buddhist sources contain numerous, varying accounts of his life, with further details appearing only gradually over time. Since the first Buddhist literature was written down three centuries after Buddha’s passing away, it is difficult to ascertain the accuracy of any of the details found in these accounts. Further, just because certain details emerged in written form later than others is not a sufficient reason to discount their validity. Many details could have continued being passed down in oral form after others were written down[…]
The earliest sources for the life of the Buddha include, within the Theravada scriptures, several Pali suttas from The Collection of Middle-Length Discourses (Pali: Majjhima Nikaya) and, from the various Hinayana schools, several Vinaya texts concerning monastic rules of discipline. Each of these texts, however, gives only pieces of Buddha’s life story.