The dating of the historical buddha a review article
All forms of Buddhism celebrate various events in the life of the Buddha Gautama, including his birth, enlightenment, and passage into nirvana.
In some countries the three events are observed on the same day, which is called Wesak in Southeast Asia.
A person who has set out on the long journey to discover the path to freedom from suffering, and then to teach it to others, is called a bodhisattva.
It encompasses the millions of lives spent on the bodhisattva path before the achievement of buddhahood and the persistence of the buddha, in the form of both his teachings and his relics, after he has passed into nirvana.
The historical Buddha is regarded as neither the first nor the last buddha to appear in the world.
According to some traditions he is the 7th buddha; according to another he is the 25th; according to yet another he is the 4th.
The next buddha, named Maitreya, will appear after Shakyamuni’s teachings and relics have disappeared from the world.