This spiritual leader, Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism and is regarded as a great teacher by the followers of Buddhism. He left all worldly pleasures very young for attaining self-discipline.

There is uncertainty over the birth date of this noble soul but it is believed that Gautam Buddha born around 563 BC. A son was born to King of Kapilvastu, Shuddhodana and Queen Maya under Sal tree in Lumbini forest in Nepal who was named Siddhartha.

This prince Siddhartha later came to be known as ‘Gautam Buddha.’ He led a luxurious life as a prince.

The name Siddhartha means one who achieves his aim. A fortune-teller named Asita affirmed that in future Gautam Siddhartha would either become a great king or a righteous man.

When Siddhartha grew into an intellectual young man, he saw some incidents that turned up his entire life. He first saw a very old man who could barely walk, a sick man who was in a great pain, and then a corpse. He had never seen such a pain before and so these views shattered him. His servant explicated him about the pain and death and told that they are inevitable truths of life.

This encounter with the truth of life made Siddhartha very gloomy and he started to rethink his life and began to try to understand the reason of existence. He was married to Yasodhara at the age of sixteen and blessed with a son named Rahul. He is also referred to as the Sakyamuni Buddha.

After him witnessing illness, old age, death and ascetic he decided to leave all the worldly pleasures and escaped on his horse Kanthaka in search of salvation - ' Moksh'.

He met various sadhus and saints all over the country in his search for inner peace.

Gautam Buddha lived the life of spartan for many years but still felt discontented and sat under the shade of a fig or Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya. As he shut his eyes, he saw a divine light that proved a turning point to him. He realized that the truth is within every human being and it is pointless to search truth in outer world. Siddhartha achieved Enlightenment under Bodhi Tree and thus attained the name Gautam Buddha meaning ‘Awakened One.’

Gautama Buddha traveled widely and taught his doctrine to numerous people for forty five years. He described 8 – fold noble path to obtain salvation namely, right to speech, understanding, determination, deeds, efforts, awareness, thinking and living. Followers of Buddhism believe that one could overcome desires, the root cause of grief and misery if he walks on these paths.

Thus Buddha was one of the greatest devout teachers of the world. The religion started by Buddha, Buddhism is divided into two sects viz. Hinayana and Mahayana.

Though Buddha died in 483 BC at an age of 80 years but Buddhism still lives and has a strong following.

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