From Khyentse Lineage - A Tsadra Foundation Project
In Sanskrit, “Sage of the Śākya Clan,” one of the most common epithets of Gautama Buddha, especially in the Mahāyāna traditions, where the name Śākyamuni is used to distinguish the historical buddha from the myriad other buddhas who appear in the sūtras. The Śākyas were a tribe in northern India into which was born Siddhārtha Gautama, the man who would become the historical buddha. According to the texts, the Śākya clan was made up of kṣatriyas, warriors or political administrators in the Indian caste system. The Śākya clan flourished in the foothills of the Himālayas, near the border between present-day Nepal and India. (Source: "Śākyamuni." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 741. Princeton University Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n41q.27.)
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