Gautama Buddha (or Siddhartha Gautama) was a spiritual teacher from ancient India, widely acknowledged as the Supreme Buddha and historical founder of Buddhism. Born in the Shakya republic in the Himalayan foothills, he is regarded as one of a long sequence of Buddha, who are directed either to the timeless past or to the distant horizons of the future. Some regard him as the last of this sequence who came into the world to preach or to revive the teaching (the road) of Buddha, others consider him a Bodhisattva, a man who has achieved enlightenment but postponed entering Nirvana to help and others to be enlightened. The time of his birth and death are unasserted, most historians are dating his life from 563 BC until 483. Prince Siddhartha had shown from little extremely spiritual abilities, at 16 he married princess Giasontara, living into the riches and the protected life of the palace. At the age of 29 he went out of the palace, for first time in his life. Among other, he saw an old man, a very sick man and a dead one and he realized that old age, sickness and death are intertwined with human life. The hitherto obvious pleasures lost their charm and decided to leave the princely life and become a wandering ascetic in order to find the non-transient, permanent happiness. As he said: "in the prime of my age I departure from the paternal roof with shaved heads and rags, despite the wishes of my parents and despite their lamentations, to head towards the wilderness, in order to find the greatest peace."
He lived for six years in a canyon with another 5 hermits, partitioning the most rigorous Hatha Yoga, up almost to the point of approaching death from starvation. From there, he began wandering and sat under the Bo tree with the decision not to get up until he received the actual enlightenment. Demon Mara, the personification of temptation, appeared, but he was defeated by Gautama who achieved enlightenment, entered Nirvana and became a "Buddha" acquiring full knowledge of the cause of suffering, (Four Noble Truths) and the steps necessary to eliminate them (Noble Eightfold Path). Returned to 5 companions gorge, taught them the discovery and won their loyalty (were the first five Buddhist monks). He spent the next 45 years of his life wandering the northeastern India and teaching, always accompanied by a number of faithful monks. From the outset, Buddhism was equally open to all races and social classes, men and women; did not use any means of castes and hierarchies. At the age of 80, Buddha began to speak of his death as his teaching was coming to an end. In the last moments of his life, he asked the monks if they had any questions or need to clarify some point of his teaching. They answered negatively. Buddha's last words were: "All composite things are lost. Strive diligently to your release". Then he peacefully closed his eyes and entered Parinirvana.
THE FOUR "NOBLE TRUTHS" OF BUDDHISM:
The truth of suffering (There is pain, everything is fleeting and changing, all beings, and human beings encounter pain at different levels -birth, decay, disease, death- ).
The truth of the cause of suffering (is created by ignorance)
The truth of the end of suffering (Called nirvana and is achieved by extinction of ignorance, desire and aversion).
The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (Consists of eight stages that resemble the Hindu yoga, called the "eightfold path” )
THE "NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH":
1. Right Understanding (the true nature of things)
2. Right Thought (selflessness, altruism and love for all beings and entities)
3. Right Speech (insistence on truth)
4. Right Action (avoiding injustice to all aspects of life)
5. Right Livelihood (avoiding excessive luxury, avoiding harming others).
6. Right Effort (encouragement of good and prevention of evil).
7. Right Mindfulness (developing awareness).
8. Right Concentration (discipline, training and development of the mind).