The Life and Teachings of Siddhartha Gautama
Buddhism is a way of life for Buddhists, based on the teachings of a man who had lived more than two and a half thousand years ago in northern India.
He was born in the foothills of Lumbini, in what is now Nepal, in about 563BCE, and was called Siddhartha. His family was called Gautama, and his father (Shuddhodana) was the rular of the Shakya clan at that time. Everyone who followed Siddhartha called him the Buddha, which means ‘the enlightened one’. They believed that he had found the truth about life.
Many stories about the life of the Buddha were passed on by word of mouth for about 600 years before anyone wrote them down. They were a constant reminder of the Buddha and all the things he did for other people.
Siddhartha’s father felt very strongly about him taking over as rular. He therefore gave Siddhartha everything he wanted and every luxury he could have. He didn’t tell his son about suffering and death because he didn’t want to upset him. He was afraid that these things would stop him from becoming interested in religion.