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Who was the Buddha?

The founder of Buddhism is Sakyamuni Buddha. He was born around 600 B.C. as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, in what is now Nepal. Although he led a comfortable life within the palace walls, Siddhartha grew increasingly restless and curious about the world beyond. He left his home one day and was shocked to encounter the sick, elderly, and dying, in the streets of his kingdom. The experience drew his attention to the sufferings of aging and death, and he wished to find a way to liberate all sentient beings from the vicious cycle of suffering. At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace as heir to his father’s throne, and renounced all worldly pleasures. He travelled far and wide in order to understand the true meaning of the suffering all around him. With concentration and perseverance, Siddhartha conquered the demons that tempted and distracted him, and finally succeeded in his search for liberation. After six years of arduous training and strict self-discipline, he found the answer to the question of suffering, its causes, and the way to stop it. In doing so, Siddhartha attained Enlightenment and became the Buddha (or Sakyamuni Buddha) under the Bodhi tree. For the next 45 years, the Buddha journeyed throughout northeast India, teaching and aiding all those who listened to His philosophy of life.