Buddha's Early Life
A number of legends and miraculous stories are associated with the birth of Gautama Buddha. According to one of the famous legends, Buddha's mother Mahamaya dreamt that he would become either a highly ascetic man or a powerful king. However, according to the historical evidence, Buddha was born in between 560 to 550 B.C as Siddhartha at Lumbini which is located in the foothills of Nepal. His father Suddhodana was the king of Kapilavastu in Magadha and the chief of a powerful Sakhya Clan during the 6th century BC. His mother passed away when Buddha was only of 7 days and he was looked after by his stepmother.
When Buddha was only seven years old, his father tried him to divert him from the ascetic order of life and provided him with all the best possible comfort and luxury and was trained with athletic skills and advices for good governance to make him worthy successors. But the leisure and comfort did not suite to his bent of mind after seeing the suffering all around. One day he persuaded his charioteer to take him into the city. His first journey into the world outside was traumatic. He was deeply anguished when he saw an old man, a sick man and a corpse. He realized in that moment that the decay and destruction of the human body was inevitable. He also saw a homeless mendicant, who, it seemed to him, had come to terms with old age, disease and death, and found peace. Siddhartha decided that he too would adopt the same path. Soon after, he left the palace and set out in search of his own truth.
Attainment of Enlightenment
In search of peace, Buddha wandered here and there in northern India along with his group to find out the cause of human sufferings. For six years Buddha practiced extreme self-mortification and thereafter he determined to continue his quest in a new manner that is "Middle Path to attain the Enlightenment" through "Meditation". Therefore, he studied the principles of meditation under "two famous teachers, Alara-Kalama and Uddaka-Ramaputta." Finally, Siddhartha passed through the country of Magadha to the town of Uruvela. It was here Buddha attained enlightenment under the Boddhi Tree on Vaisakha Poornima, the full moon day in April-May month and discovered why mankind suffers and formalized his discovery as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. After this, Siddhartha came to be known as the Buddha or the Enlightened One. For the rest of his life, Buddha taught dhamma or the path of righteous living.
The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path
After a long time of meditation, he came out with his famous Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path and the secret to true peace and happiness. The Four Noble Truths are as under: 1) Life is suffering; 2) Suffering is caused by desire; 3) There is a way to overcome desire; 4) That way is the 8 Fold Path: 1) Right knowledge; 2) Right aspiration; 3) Right speech; 4) Right behavior; 5) Right livelihood; 6) Right effort; 7) Right mindfulness; 8) Right absorption.