When Siddhartha Gautama was born, he had birthmarks representing that he would either be a great emperor or a spiritual leader. His father wanted him to be an emperor. At the age of nine, he left the palace he lived in for a festival. He was watching a farmer plow, and the farmer unearthed a worm. A bird came and ate the worm, and Siddhartha snuck from his group, thinking about how all actions had consequences and if the farmer had not been plowing, the worm would still be alive.
Siddhartha's father tried to keep him in the palace at all times to keep him away from the bad of the world. After years of staying within the palace grounds, his father let him out at age 30. However, he tried to cover up anything that would make the outside world look bad. Siddhartha would end up seeing four signs that impacted him greatly. The first was an old man who was walking through the village slowly and with much pain. This reminded Siddhartha that aging is inescapable.
Next, he sees a person whose face is contorted with disease. It shows him that anyone can get sick. The next horror he sees is a corpse being taken away. It reminds Siddhartha that all men are mortal and that one day, he too, will die.
However, the sign with the most impact on Siddhartha was a man wearing simple robes with a begging bowl in front of him. This man had no money, and Siddhartha saw that his perfect world was only a mirage.
He thought deeply about life's suffering and a possible solution to end the cycle. He left his wife, son, and palace to find answers. He exchanged his fine robes for simple robes, shaved his hair off, and left all of his luxury behind.
Siddhartha began to live a life with little to nothing. He meditated frequently and intensely, trying to find answers. He reached a state of enlightenment, and was no longer Siddhartha Gautama, but Buddha.