Possibly Lumbini, Nepal today, c. 563-483 B.C.-Kushinagar, India, c. 483/411-400 B.C.

Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha (“The Enlightened”) was a scholar and spiritual leader whose teachings rest on Buddhism. Born as a prince but, when heading out of the palace one day, he had four encounters that showed him the reality of the world: old age, sickness, death and asceticism. He saw his encounter with the ascetic as a sign to leave his privileged life and embarked on a spiritual journey to find the truth.

He traveled though many places, was deprived of earthly pleasures and followed the teachings of the most extreme asceticism until fainting with hunger. He practiced meditation and met suffering, but was dissatisfied. One day he sat under a fig tree and meditated for several days until he got enlightenment, after which he set out to share his knowledge with others.

Buddha preached his teachings along the eastern India, illustrating the midway between rigid asceticism and pleasure to lead a balanced life. He set in movement The Dharma wheel, which explained the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, basics of Buddhism today.

Many people became followers of Buddha and his teachings spread gradually. As a central figure of Buddhism, he changed the perception of the existence of millions of people. Today Buddhism as a doctrine or non-theistic religion, is practiced in many parts of the world.