Siddhartha Gautama was born in the sixth century B.C. to a king named Suddhodana and a queen named Mahamaya. The prince grew up within the palace walls, and had no contact with the outside world (Buddha Story, n.d., ¶ 1). Prince Siddhartha married a princess named Yashodhara, and they had a son named Rahula. They all lived within the world of wealth and power. Until one day, when Prince Siddhartha finally persuaded his father to let him go outside the palace walls to see the city (Buddha Story, n.d.,¶ 2).
On this one venture outside the palace walls, Gautama saw what is now refered to as the four sights, or the four heavenly messagengers.. Gautama saw an old crippled man which was the sign of old age, he saw a diseased man which was the sign of illness, he saw a decaying corpse which was the sign of death, and he saw an ascetic. These four sights inspired Gautama; he decided to try and overcome old age, illness, and death by living the life of an ascetic. At age 29, Gautama left entire family and all his worldly belongings, to take up life as a lonely wandering monk (Gautama Buddha, 2006).
After Gautama abandoned his inheritance he decided to dedicate his life to learning how to overcome the suffering he had seen. He meditated with two hermits, and was able to achieve high-levels of meditative consciousness, but he was still not satisfied with the path he had chose (Gautama Buddha, 2006). "Gautama then chose the robes of a mendicant monk and headed to Magadha in what is today Bihar in India. He began his training in the ascetic life and practicing vigorous techniques of physical and mental self denial. Gautama proved quite adept at these practices, and surpassed even his teachers" (Gautama Buddha, 2006 ¶ 6).
Gautama could not find the answers to his questions; therefore, he left his teachers behind, and he and a group of close companions set out to take their austerities even further. Gautama tried to find enlightenment through complete deprivation of worldly goods, including food, and became a complete ascetic. After Gautama nearly starved to death he decided to reconsider the path he had previously chose (Gautama Buddha, 2006).
Once Gautama discarded asceticism and stopped concentrating on meditation, Gautama discovered a new path. The new path that he had discovered was on of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. "He accepted a little buttermilk from a passing goat herder, Sumedha. Then, sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. At the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment" (Guatama Buddha, 2006, ¶ 12). From this point on Gautama was known as "The Perfectly Self-Awakened One", the Samyaksambuddha.
Guatama stated that he had realized complete awakening and insight into the nature and cause of human suffering, and had found the way to eliminate these things. Guatama categorized the truths into...