Siddhartha Entering the Womb

“Queen Māyā of Shakya (Sanskrit: मायादेवी, Pali: Māyādevī) was the birth mother of Gautama Buddha, the sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. She was sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha.

In Buddhist tradition, Maya died soon after the birth of Buddha, generally said to be seven days afterwards, and came to life again in a Hindu-Buddhist heaven, a pattern that is said to be followed in the births of all Buddhas. Thus Maya did not raise her son who was instead raised by his maternal aunt Mahapajapati Gotami. Maya would, however, on occasion descend from Heaven to give advice to her son.

Māyā (माया) means “illusion” in Sanskrit. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā (महामाया, “Great Māyā”) and Māyādevī (मायादेवी, “Queen Māyā”). In Chinese, she is known as Móyé-fūrén (摩耶夫人, “Lady Māyā”), in Tibetan she is known as Gyutrulma and in Japanese she is known as Maya-bunin (摩耶夫人). Also, in Sinhalese she is known as මහාමායා දේවී (Mahāmāyā Dēvi).”

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