He spent six years experimenting with the various common methods of the day, but to no avail.
Finally, at the age of thirty-five and while meditating under the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, he awoke to the insights he had been seeking.
He was raised in the palace with the best luxuries money can buy, but shut off from the outside world by his father, the king.
One night, he sneaked out of the palace and saw four sights that had a profound impact on the rest of his life; an old man, a sick man, a dead man and an ascetic.
He was believed to be over 80 years old at the time.
On the other hand, while historians generally agree that the Buddha himself was an actual historical figure, there has to date been no evidence on his actual date of birth and death, or of any of the events associated with the traditional accounts of his life story.
A common thread throughout all Buddhist schools is the cultivation of wisdom, compassion for all living creatures and the principle of ahimsa (non-violence) as a basis of interacting with the world, and the total rejection of religious conversion.
It is also not uncommon for followers, or even monks of one school to visit temples belonging to other schools to offer prayers.However, the Buddha himself was incorporated into the Hindu pantheon: Many Hindus consider the Buddha to be an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.Buddhism as a philosophy and religion can roughly be divided into two schools: Theravada and Mahayana.The Theravada school which spread to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Sri Lanka promotes personal liberation from suffering, whereas the Mahayana, which is prevalent in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Bhutan and Tibet, emphasizes the liberation of all beings.The Vajrayana school, which is often called Tibetan Buddhism, is an offshoot of Mahayana and differs from it only in method, not philosophy.Buddhism is a religion founded around 400-500 BC by Sakyamuni Buddha.According to tradition, Prince Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha's former name) was born in Lumbini as heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Sakya (in present day Nepal, near the Indian border).He was responsible for the spread of Buddhism in a major way, as he is known to have sent Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey.He also had stone-carved Buddhist pillars with inscriptions or animal figures erected, apparently throughout his realm — 19 of these, including those at Sarnath and Allahabad, survive to this day.Buddhism is one of the world's most prolific religions, dominating in much of mainland South East Asia, and influential as well in South Asia and East Asia.There is also a Buddhist diaspora spread across most of the world and a renaissance of interest in the West since the late 60s and 70s.