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Suddhodana was the ruler of the Sàkya tribe and the father of Siddhattha Gotama. The name means ‘Pure Rice.’

Traditionally, Suddhodana is said to have been a great king but he was probably more like a ruler elected by the Sàkyan tribal council. Most courts in ancient India had a body of men called ‘king makers’ (D.II,233). No doubt it was such a group who elected Suddhodana to rule over them. Suddhodana had two wives - Mahà Màyà who was Siddhattha’s mother and who died soon after his birth, and Maha Pajapati Gotami who became his step-mother. Suddhodana was very critical of his son’s desire to renounce the world, but eventually became his supporter and disciple.