The following post is by Oetb:
The post I read that motivated me to start the thread was the following:
Buddha was not a “Hindu prince”
The links Lal replied states very clearly that the Buddha was a prince
and lived in palaces. What disturbs me a little bit is that the post of
the above link seems coherent in its arguments stating that the Buddha
was not a prince, but an aristocrat, and not lived in palaces, but
probably in wood mansions.
A quote from the post says this:
So far as we can tell, Gautama’s father Suddhodana was a Shakyan aristocrat, and some sources call him a ‘raja’. But despite the version of Gautama’s life made familiar in legendary accounts, this doesn’t mean that he was a king (they were called ‘Maharajas’). It is possible that
he was just one aristocrat among many, but according to some sources,
Suddhodana was the Shakyans’ chief raja. We know from descriptions of other gana communities that chieftains were elected in a meeting of representatives of aristocratic families at the assembly hall…
And after that quote, Bodhipaksa wrote this:
Excavations of the likely candidates for the Buddha’s home town don’t reveal any palaces, and in fact, the term the Buddha uses when he does describe his father’s houses as “palaces” is not the same as the term used for the dwelling of a “king” (maharaja). Probably the term
“mansion” would be more appropriate. So Suddhodana was more like a
“tribal chief” than what we would think of as a king, and Gautama a
“chief’s son” rather than a “prince.” The largest houses that have been excavated are of wooden construction, with people living above the animals’ accommodation. The archaeological evidence, in other words,
doesn’t point to anything very royal.
Of course, that no palaces had been found in excavations does not
necessarily imply that there were no palaces. But could it be, has the
above quote suggests, that the word the Buddha used to reference his
houses had been mistranslated as “palace”, or that what was known as
“palace” is not the same as what we actually know as “palace”?