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Buddha Indian philosopher and the founder of Buddhism born in Lumbini Nepal He was theson of the head of the Sakya warrior caste with the private name of Siddhartha in later life hewas known also as Sakyamuni Sage of the Sakyas The name Gautama Buddha is acombination of the family name Gautama and the appellation Buddha meaning Enlightened One All the surviving accounts of Buddhas life were written many years after his death by idealizing followers rather than by objective historians Consequently it is difficult to separate facts from the great mass of myth and legend in which they are embedded From the available evidence Buddha apparently showed an early inclination to meditation and reflection displeasing his father who wanted him to be a warrior and ruler rather than a religious philosopher Yielding to his fathers wishes he married at an early age and participated in the worldly life of the court Buddha found his carefree self-indulgent existence dull and after a while he left home and began wandering in search of enlightenment One day in 533 bc according to tradition he encountered an aged man a sick man and a corpse and he suddenly and deeply realized that suffering is the common lot of humankind He then came upon a mendicant monk calm and serene whereupon he determined to adopt his way of life and forsake family wealth and power in the quest for truth This decision known in Buddhism as the Great Renunciation is celebrated by Buddhists as a turning point in history Gautama was then 29 years old according to tradition Wandering as a mendicant over northern India Buddha first investigated Hinduism He took instruction from some famous Brahman teachers but he found the Hindu caste system repellent and Hindu asceticism futile He continued his search attracting but later losing five followers because he was indulging in good food and cleansing himself While next to the river he heard a
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