Siddhattha Gotama was an Indian prince who married a beautiful princess at the age of 16 and they soon had a baby son.Siddhattha lived in the royal palace and was not ever allowed out, as his father did not want him to see the suffering going on in the real world.
One day, when he was 29 years old, he sneaked out of the palace while his father was not looking. He saw many things that he had never seen before, these worried him. He saw an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy man.
He decided to become a holy man himself and to go off insearch of an answer. He took off his royal robes and put on simple clothes. He shaved his hair. He said goodbye to his wife and son and left the palace.
Siddhattha spent 6 years travelling aroundnorthern India. He spent some time with a group of monks who believed that ifthey ate and drank as little as possible and spent a lot of time thinking theywould come to understand the meaning of life. Siddhattha found that this didnot work for him. So he left the monks and travelled on.
He came to a holy fig tree and rested in itsshade. For 46 days he stayed there thinking deeply and paying no attention to what was going on around him. As he sat and meditated, he realised that he understood the answers to his questions. Buddhists say that he became enlightened. He became The Buddha.
He went back to Benares, and tole the monks about what he had discovered. They understood and became his first disciples. The Buddha spent his life travelling and preaching. After he died his disciples went on travelling and teaching the things he had told them. Today there are millions of people in the world who follow the teachings of the Buddha.