Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of reality. People who are Buddhist follow a path towards enlightenment. The goal of the Buddhist spiritual life is the end of suffering. Buddhism does not include the idea of worshiping a creator god. Anyone who wants to become a Buddhist is welcome to do so.
Buddhism started with the Buddha. The word ‘Buddha’ is a title that means ‘one who is awake’. The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal around 2,500 years ago. He was born into a royal family of a small kingdom on the Indian-Nepalese border.
Geni has information about Siddhartha Gautama’s family tree. Siddhartha was the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maha Maya. He was an only child (but did have some half-siblings). Siddhartha Gautama married Princess Yasodhara. She and Sidhartha were cousins who happened to be born on the same day. They had one child, a son named Prince Rahula.
Individual Buddhists might be genealogists. The resources they use to do genealogy may differ greatly from one person to another. This is because anyone who wants to become a Buddhist can do so – and that means there are people of all heritages who have become Buddhist.
Buddhists with Japanese heritage can find some information about their Japanese Buddhist ancestors on the Buddhist Death Registers (which are also called kakocho). When a person dies, a Buddhist priest assigns him a ceremonial name, which is recorded in the kakocho.
The exact format and content in the Buddhist Death Registers might vary depending on the sect of Buddhism. The records typically contain the name, posthumous name, death date, and sometimes the household unit of the person. Buddhist Death Registers are located in the temple where your ancestor was from in Japan.
Pilgrimage Records (which are also called Dankaicho) are records of people who made pilgrimages to Buddhist temples between the years 1550 and 1870. These records are used to find the surname of your ancestor in a reliable source. Dankaicho are the only known source of surnames of farmers, who made up 90 percent of the historic population in the Edo period.
Dankaicho contain the date, village, and personal name and surname of pilgrims. They include the head of households. Dankaicho can be found in libraries of the ten leading temples and shrines in Japan.
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