Amanda Sabu

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The Beginnings of Buddhism

Buddhism began in 560BCE (the 6th century), in the north-east of India, started by Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Prince Siddhartha was born into a very wealthy family, as his father was a great political leader. Buddhists don’t believe buddha is their god but more like a leader as buddha was a human. So Buddhism is neither polytheistic nor monotheistic​.

Siddhartha leaving the Castle

A holy man had foretold that Siddhartha would be either a great political leader or a great holy man. Siddhartha's father wanted Siddhartha to be a political leader like himself. He protected Siddhartha from any type of suffering and gave him an ideal life in the palace. However, Siddhartha was not happy and left the palace for the first time. On that day he saw signs of suffering, a sick man, an old man, and a dead body. He also saw a holy man who had very few possessions but was still smiling and happy. Soon afterwards Siddhartha left the palace for good. He began to search for a greater and deeper meaning in life.​

Siddhartha finding Enlightenment

At first, Siddhartha practised asceticism which is a life of hardship and eating very little. In the end, he decided that his lifestyle had made him nothing but sick and started eating again. He then believed in a middle way, neither luxury nor poverty. He went to a place called Bodh Gaya. Where he meditated for seven days under a bodhi tree. His meditation was deep and on the night of the full moon, he received enlightenment.​


Enlightenment means when you find the truth about life and is fully awakened. Buddhists believe their buddha reached enlightenment and they believe they can also. To become enlightened they believe they must follow the Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths and the Five Precepts. They believe if they do all this successfully, they reach nirvana (Enlightenment)​.