Shakyamuni is a Sanskrit word. Shakya, the Buddha's clan name, means "able to be humane." Muni means "sage." Thus Shakyamuni means "Sage of the Shakyas." Shakyamuni Buddha is the most recent Buddha to appear in our world. He realized perfect enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) and then taught in India.
Buddha means "the enlightened one." It is a title which is applied to those who have realized anuttara-samyak-sambodhi and who have perfect wisdom and universal compassion.
Praise of the Buddha:
In the heavens above, in all that is on earth below,
There is no one like the Buddha.
Throughout the worlds of the ten directions he is matchless.
Of all I have seen in the world,
There is nothing at all that is like the Buddha.
Homage to the Guiding Master of the Three Realms of the Saha World,
Compassionate Father of the Four Kinds of Beings, Teacher of People and Gods,
Whose transformation bodies are of three kinds, our original teacher Shakyamuni Buddha.
Namo Fundamental Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha.
There were other Buddhas in the past and in other world systems and there will be Buddhas in the future.
Living beings have the potential to cultivate and become Buddhas.
For three asamkhyeya kalpas the Buddha
cultivated blessings and wisdom,
For a hundred kalpas he perfected
marks and characteristics.
For a simple introduction to the Buddha's life and what he taught, please visit: Introduction to Buddhism
Shakyamuni Buddha, Venerable Ananda, and Venerable Mahakasyapa.
The Venerable Ananda was one of the great disciples of the Buddha. He was the Buddha's cousin and attendant who had a photographic and flawless memory. His name means rejoicing. He was foremost in erudition and he remembered all the Sutras the Buddha spoke.
The Venerable Mahakasyapa is the First Patriarch who inherited the Buddha's name and bowl. He was foremost in ascetic practices.
"Maha" means "great, many, and victorious." "Kasyapa" means "great turtle clan."
In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha bestowed upon Mahakasyapa, the prediction of Buddhahood.