Siddhartha Gautama was born into a noble family that lived in Kapilavastu. When Siddhartha was young, he was told that if he stayed at home, he would become a great ruler, and if he left, he was to become a great religious ruler. His father kept him inside the castle, so that he would grow up and rule.
When he was 29, having never seen the outside world, he left the palace out of curiosity four times. These four times he left the palace would come to be called the Four Journeys. The first time he went out, he saw an old man, then a sick man the second time, a corpse the third and the last time he went out he saw a religious man who was at peace. He realized that he would one day grow old, suffer, and die. He wanted to figure out a way to end life's suffering.
Why should people have to suffer? God is there for them.
He started to search for answers to his questions about life and death. In search for enlightenment, he began meditating under a tree called the Bodhi tree. After 49 days of meditation, he gained enlightenment and would later be called the Buddha, which means the Enlightened One.
The Buddha preached about the Four Noble Truths. He preached that if the Four Noble Truths were understood, a person could gain a state of enlightenment, and Nirvana could be reached.
To overcome desire, people must follow the Eightfold Path
The way to end suffering is to end desire
Life is filled with suffering and sorrow
The cause of this suffering is material pleasures
The Buddha also believed in reincarnation, and thought that it was necessary in order to achieve enlightnment. He believed that people must follow the Eightfold Path, which was guide on how to behave correctly in the world.
Enlightenment is not achieved in just one lifetime. It can take multiple reincarnations to reach Nirvana.
The Buddhist religion spread along the trade routes of Asia, including the Silk Road. Trade encourages the spread of ideas and beliefs. The doctrine of Buddhism spread from town to town where Buddhist traders rested. Trade made Buddhism the most widespread religion in Asia. Missionaries also contributed to the spread of Buddhism. Missionaries went through towns in India preaching and begging, while taking vows to be nonviolent, poverty, and not to marry.