Gautama is the man that Buddhists recognize as the founder of Buddhism, and the Supreme Buddha of our age. It is believed that Siddhartha Gautama lived between 563 BCE and 483 BCE, but since there are no accurate records of his birth and death, other scholars have suggested that he might have died around 410 BCE. Siddhartha Gautama was also known as "Shakyamuni", which translates to "sage of the Shakyas".
Gautama's teachings and rules for monastic living were followed closely by his sangha, or community, and were passed down as oral tradition for over 400 years before they were eventually written down as Buddhist texts. It is said that Buddha (Gautama) was born in around the year 563 BCE in what is now modern-day Nepal. This day is celebrated in Theraveda Buddhism as Vesak. Guatama was born to his mother, Queen Maha Maya, and father King Suddhodana, underneath a sol tree as the queen was returning home to give birth. At the age of 16, Prince Siddhārtha Gautama was married to his cousin who was the same age, who eventually bore him a child. Gautama spent the first 29 years of his life living in several palaces throughout Nepal, with a very comfortable and materially wealthy existence. When he turned 29, Gautama decided to go out among his people and see what the common life was like. For the first time, Gautama saw sick and elderly people, and realized that all humans were destined to become old and die. Afraid of dying himself, Gautama decided to live the life of an ascetic in order to meditate on the problems of sickness and dying. He took his meditations and living to such a meager and austere level that he nearly collapsed. While undertaking this spiritual journey, Gautama eventually decided to sit underneath a pipal tree (now known as the Bodhi Tree) until he could understand the Truth about life. After meditating for 49 days underneath the tree with no food or water, Gautama reached Enlightenment and became the Buddha. When Buddha became Enlightened, he decided to reach out and teach others his beliefs and doctrine. The sangha, a community of followers, was formed by people that heard his teachings. Buddha also decided to spend the rest of his life, 45 years, reaching out to people from all classes and walks of life in order to help them achieve Enlightenment. Who was Siddhārtha Gautama? Gautama was a man who started out as just an ordinary, overly wealthy prince who through meditation and the shunning of worldly goods, achieved Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/712248