Gotama Buddha, the founder of what came to be known as Buddhism, lived in Northern India in the 6th century B.C. His personal name is Siddhattha which means “wish-fulfilled”, and family name, Gotama who has realized the Four Noble Truths by himself and also made others realized them.
He was born at Lumbini Park, Nepal on the full moon day of Vesak (May) in 623 B.C. He was the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Mahāmāyā. At the age of 16, he married his cousin named Yasodhara, who born him a son named Rāhula. At the time, he saw the Four Great Omens, namely, an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a recluse. There was a great change in his mind, He understood the nature of life and felt compassionate for all human beings who have to face the suffering of old age and death. Therefore, he decided to find the way out not only for himself but also for mankind. At the age of 29 in 594 B.C., He renounced the world and searched for the ultimate truth. He met two ascetics: Ālāra and Uddaka and learnt their doctrines; however their methods did not lead to the super-knowledge, so he left them. After that, he practised self-mortification for 6 long years. This misleading practice only reduced him almost to the verge of death. Then, having known that these were wrong practice, he discarded them and reverted to a normal diet and balanced mode of living by avoiding the two extremes, indulgence in sensual pleasures (kāmasukh-allikanuyoga) and self-mortification (attakilamathanuyoga) and followed the middle way (majjhimapātipada). At the age of 35, he attained Buddhahood. Since then, the Buddha worked tirelessly and relentlessly for the benefits of human beings, Devas and Brāhmas for 45 years. At the age of 80, the Buddha entered into Mahāparinibbāna in Kusinara,at the full moon day of Vasak in 543 B.C. His body was cremated with great ceremony and the relics were divided among Brāhmins, kings and nobles and were then enshrined in ten stupas.
Although the Buddha attained Pari-nibbāna nearly 25 centuries ago, all the teachings that he had expounded to mankind during His lifetime still exist in their complete purity and spread all over the world today.