The Sakyamuni Buddha, The Supreme and The Most Excellent of men endowed with the most remarkable and the best of virtues, qualities and signs was born as the Royal Prince Siddhartha Gautama to a roya family of the ruling Sakya clan at Lumbini in Kapilavastu (Nepal) in the 6th century B. C.
His parents were the King Suddhodana and Queen Maha Maya. Prince Siddhartha was brought up in the lap of Royal comfort and luxury. At the age of 16, he was given in marriage to his cousin the Royal Princess Yosodhara. They had a son the Royal Prince Rahula. He soon relinquished the royalty at the youthful age of 29 years after witnessing the common miseries and sufferings faced by all beings. Hereon, Prince Siddhartha became the Samana (Acetic) Gautama by adopting the path of a hermit wanderer in search of the truth to find the solution to all the afflictions suffered by all beings in this world. He had the full support of his wife and parents who did not obstruct him on the Noble Mission He chose although they were initially sad when he left His Royal palace for the homeless.
Observing extreme austerities and battling untold hardships out of his all-encompassing compassion for all beings, The Samana Gautama realized the 'Middle Path', following which he achieved the supreme stage of Vision, Awareness, Wisdom, Knowledge and Clairvoyance without aid or guidance from any supernatural force whatsoever at Uruwela (Budhgaya). Thus awakened, he came to be known as The Buddha – The Enlightened One.
The Buddha did not have a single teacher from any realm of existence, and all of His supra-mundane knowledge was realised by Himself alone (na me ācariyo atthi). The Buddha referred Himself by the terms Tathāgata (The Accomplished One), Araham (The Worthy One), Sammā Sambuddha, (The Fully Enlightened One), Sugatha (The Well-gone One) and Bhagavā (The Exalted One).
The Buddha was most profound, serene, saintly, holy, virtuous, disciplined, controlled, glowing, handsome, and radiant. Therefore, the question was asked from The Buddha whether he was either God, human, or from another realm in existence. The Buddha replied that since he had completely destroyed all afflictions, defilements and taints, which are necessary to condition re-becoming (punabbava) as a God, human or any other being, He is neither of them but He is The Buddha.
Prince Siddhartha although He was born a human being, ceased to be a mere human being from the moment He becomes The Buddha. He had risen to the Noblest of Supra-mundane levels that are beyond all the realms of existence. Therefore The Buddha is singularly and exclusively known as accariya manussa and Mahà purusa.
The Lotus - beautiful fair and lovely, although grows and lives in the mud, is not soiled by the mud. Similarly, The Buddha, although He lived and was sustained by the world, He was not soiled by the world, but He was above the world. Therefore, He is neither a God, Human being nor any other being from any other realm of existence.
Further, He is neither an Avatar of God nor a Prophet of God. He alone is The Supreme Buddha of all the ten thousand worlds – the founder of the unfound way, the declarer of the undeclared way, the constructor of the unconstructed way, the proclaimer of the unproclaimed way and knower of unknown way. One has to be careful to not make the mistake of placing The Buddha on equal or similar terms with God, human or any other being. The Buddha is totally unique and incomparable to all or any other.
The Buddha is the embodiment of the Truth in all of its most glittering and supreme brilliance - He does what He says (Yathā-kari-Tathā-Vadi) and He says what He does (Yathā vādi - tTathā kāri). The Buddha is followed by many trillions of beings in various realms of existence for His profound, unmatched and incomparable noble qualities. He is venerated and worshiped as The Worthy One (Araham), The Omniscient One (Sammā Sambuddha), The One with Knowledge and Virtue (Vĳjā Carana – Sampanna), The One Gone Beyond (Sugata), The Knower Of The Worlds (Lokavidu), The Incomparable Guide For The Training Of Individuals (Anuttara Purisa Damma-Sārathi), The Teacher Of Gods And Men (Sattā Deva Manussa), The Awakened One (Buddha), and The Blessed One (Bhagavā).
It is worthy to know, although Prince Siddhartha was born to infinite riches and material pleasures of His life as The Buddha was entirely different. He did not live in palaces nor adorn Himself with royal ornaments and garments. He neither travelled in royal vehicles nor indulged in affairs connected with royalty. Instead, The Buddha lived under a tree or in a forest. Or else He lived in a cave or monasteries built by devotees. He wore a rag-robe to cover Him, carried an alms-bowl for food and walked tirelessly thousands of miles on foot from place to place with boundless love and compassion teaching the world of Gods and Men the path of enlightenment.