King Śuddhodana

Śuddhodana and his court
King of Shakya Kingdom
Predecessor King Sihahanu
Born Kapilavastu, Nepal
Died Kapilavastu, Nepal
Consort Maya
Mahapajapati Gotami
Dynasty Shakya
Father King Sihahanu
Mother Queen Kaccanā
Religion Hinduism

Suddhodana (Sanskrit: Śuddhodana; Pali: Suddhōdana; Sinhala: සුද්ධෝදන මහ රජතුමා) was the father of Gautama Buddha.[1] He was a leader of the Shakya, who lived in Kapilavastu.


Suddhodana’s father was Sihahanu while his mother was Kaccanā. Śuddhodana's son, Siddhartha Gautama (who became known as Shakyamuni, the "Sage of the Shakyans," or the Buddha), married his cousin Yasodharā, daughter of Suppabuddha and his father’s sister, at the age of 16.

Suddhodana’s consorts, Maya and Mahapajapati Gotami, were Buddha’s mother and stepmother.

Other children of Suddhodana include Nandā and Nanda, both of whom became Buddhist monastics.[2]


Birth of the Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama was born in the Shakya capital of Kapilavastu. Siddhartha renounced his family in his 20s, leaving behind a wife and an infant to become a śramaṇa.

Later life

Suddhodana lamented his son’s departure and spent considerable effort attempting to locate him. Seven years later, after word of his enlightenment reached Suddhodana, he sent nine emissaries to invite Siddhartha back to the Shakya land. The Buddha preached to the emissaries and their entourage, who joined the Sangha.

Suddhodana then sent a close friend of Siddhartha, Kaludayi, to invite him to return. Kaludayi also chose to become a monk, but kept his word to invite the Buddha back to his home. The Buddha accepted his father's invitation and returned to visit his home. During this visit, he preached the dharma to Suddhodana.

Four years later, when the Buddha heard of Suddhodana's impending death, he once again returned to his home and preached further to Śuddhodana at his deathbed.


  1. In the Pāli Canon, there are only two discourses that explicitly reference Suddhodana: DN 14, Mahāpadāna Sutta, and in the versified prologue of Sn 3.11, Nālaka Sutta. In each of these discourses, Suddhodana is represented simply as the Buddha's father and as a Sakyan ruler. For a translation of the latter discourse, see Thanissaro, 1998.
  2. Dictionary of Buddhism, Keown, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860560-9
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