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Buddha Shakyamuni

Around 2500 years ago the historical Buddha was born the prince Siddhartha Gotama in a kingdom at the foot of the Himalayas. It has been prophesied that in his life he either will become a successful political ruler or an ascetic. While growing up in the luxury of the palace he was cushioned against reality. After finally encountering old age, sickness and death he recognized the impermanent nature of all things and decided to escape from the palace and become a wandering monk and ascetic. After several years of asceticism he realized that this rigid practice does not lead to liberation. Consequently he started to eat regularly and after extensive meditation he finally attained enlightenment sitting under a fig tree a site, which is today called Bodh Gaya.

Subsequently he taught for more than 40 years, instructing a large number of ordained and lay followers. Eventually Buddha Shakyamuni died at the age of 80.