Who was The Buddha? History and Legend.
Before the Buddha became to be known as the Buddha, he was born Siddhārtha Gautama (Pali) / Siddhartha Gotama (Sanskrit) during the 6th century BCE. Buddhist legend states that he was born a prince and his father was the King of the Sakya people.
Prior to his birth a prophecy stated that the prince would either become a great ruler or a spiritual leader. His father, the king, isolated him from the world in order to ensure he would not be exposed to the suffering of the world and take the spiritual path.
The prince married and had a child. Then one day, he decided to explore outside the palace walls. After leaving he saw a sick man, an old man, and a corpse. Being exposed to sickness, aging and death, he began to search out wisdom around how people live with such suffering in the world.
Secretly left his family, renouncing his position as a prince and began his spiritual journey. He became a mendicant and took on ascetic practices such as fasting for many days. This continued for many years.
The Enlightened One
One day while meditating under a bodhi tree he went into a deep meditative state. During this state he had an awakening and gained complete insight the true nature of existence. From this point he became known as The Buddha, meaning “the one who is awake”. For the remainer of his life, the Buddha would go on to teach others his findings. After his death, his disciples carried on his teachings which turned into Buddhism.