History of Buddhism
|Overview||Based on teachings of Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha) in c. 520 BC, NE India.|
|Current Adherents||500 million|
Buddhist history begins with the life and teachings of an Indian prince named Siddharta Gautama, who lived around 500 BCE. According to Buddhist tradition, the sheltered young prince was shocked by the suffering he saw outside his palace walls, so he left his life of luxury to seek answers. Eventually he succeeded, becoming the Buddha--the "Enlightened One." He spent the remaining 45 years of his life teaching the dharma (the path to liberation from suffering) and establishing the sangha (a community of monks).