The Buddha. The history of Buddhism is the story of one man’s spiritual journey to Enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it. Siddhartha Gautama – The Buddha. By finding the path to Enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of Enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or ‘awakened one’.
A life of luxury. Siddhartha Gautama was born around the year 580 BCE in the village of Lumbini in Nepal. He was born into a royal family, and his privileged life insulated him from the sufferings of life; sufferings such as sickness, age and death.
Discovering cruel reality. One day, after growing up, marrying and having a child, Siddhartha went outside the royal enclosure where he lived. When he went outside he saw, each for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. This greatly disturbed him, and he learned that sickness, age, and death were the inevitable fate of human beings – a fate no-one could avoid.
Becoming a holy man. Siddhartha had also seen a monk, and he decided this was a sign that he should leave his protected royal life and live as a homeless holy man. Siddhartha’s travels showed him much more of the the suffering of the world. He searched for a way to escape the inevitability of death, old age and pain first by studying with religious men. This didn’t provide him with an answer.