Born: c. 563 BC probably in present-day Nepal
Died: c. 483 BC or between 411 and 400 BC (at about age 80) in Kushinagar (present-day in Uttar Pradesh, India)
Nationality: Indian
Famous For: Creating and leading the idea of Buddhism

Gautama Buddha, commonly called Buddha and “the Buddha,” is the spiritual and philosophical of Buddhism. Most of the life of the great Buddha is shrouded in myth, it can be a little difficult to completely ascertain where myths end and true biographical information begins. Serious scholars and historians have been able to reconstruct major points of his life to create a sketch of when and how he lived.

Early Days of Buddha

Records indicate Buddha was born sometime around 563 BC. His original place of birth was in Nepal which was, at the time, known as Lumbini. The Buddha was born with the name Siddharta Gautama. His father was called Suddhodana who was an elected official. His mother was a Koliyan Princess called Queen Maha Maya.

As was tradition in the region, when the queen became pregnant, she traveled to her father’s homeland to give birth. The Buddha was born in Lumbini, which was an area on the way to the destination, but not the destination itself.

The Buddha entered into an arranged marriage at the age of 16. His father was very wealthy and offered to give the young man anything and everything he wanted. While the gesture was a nice one, it was also extremely lacking in any spiritual component. As a result, the Buddha grew to greatly dislike material wealth.

Buddha’s Adult Years

When he was 29, the Buddha saw a sick and aged man for the first time. For years, his father hid from him such things and to see a man in such a condition was a shock. The incident would go on to have a very serious impact on how the Buddha would view the world from this point on.

The Buddha gave up his worldly possessions and went to live as a beggar. His father found out about his begging and offered his son the throne. The offer was promptly turned down. The Buddha would then invest a huge amount of his time fasting and also engaging in Yoga-based meditation.

Leader of a Way of Life

The Buddha started to become ill from starving himself as part of his meditation sessions. Eventually, he realized the best path was the Middle Way, the path in between being overly indulgent and engaging in massive acts of sacrifice. Soon after this realization, he traveled to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India where he attained enlightenment, a process of self-actualization.

He realized the root cause of problems in the world was suffering and suffering comes from attachment. Further extrapolations on these theories would lay the foundation for the religion of Buddhism.

Buddha’s Later Years

From the age of 35 until his passing, the Buddha traveled throughout various areas of Nepal and India to spread his teachings. As history shows us, he was very successful in his work as Buddhism was quickly becoming a major religion. After a lifetime of teaching, the Buddha passed away at the age of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, India.