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Word Count: 259
Siddhartha Gautama known as the Buddha was born in the sixth century BC in what is now modern Nepal His father Suddhodana was the ruler of the Sakya people and Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince According to custom he married at the young age of sixteen to a girl named Yasodhara His father had ordered that he live a life of total seclusion but one day Siddhartha ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of the inevitable suffering of life The next day at the age of twenty-nine he left his kingdom and new-born son to lead an ascetic life and determine a way to relieve universal suffering For six years Siddhartha submitted himself to rigorous ascetic practices studying and following different methods of meditation with various religious teachers But he was never fully satisfied One day however he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it In that moment he realized that physical austerities were not the means to achieve liberation From then on he encouraged people to follow a path of balance rather than extremism He called this The Middle Way That night Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated until dawn He purified his mind of all defilements and attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five thus earning the title Buddha or Enlightened One For the remainder of his eighty years the Buddha preached the Dharma in an effort to help other sentient beings reach enlightenment
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