When Buddhism started?
The timeline of Buddhism is not as well defined as some other
religions allege their's to be. Buddha's birth is felt to be
sometime between 563 BCE 623 BCE. Some authorities support a more
recent days of 400 BCE. The earliest Buddhist temples are thought
to have been constructed in about 500 BCE.
In the year 534 BCE, a young Indian prince named Siddhartha
Gautama (age 29) was deeply troubled about the fact that so many
people suffer. So he left his wife and child and renounced his
throne to find out the answer to why there was suffering. Now it
should be noted when Buddhists speak of suffering this includes
dissatisfaction (unhappiness) with the way things are. Siddhartha
went to study with various gurus to try to find the answer to his
question. Theses gurus had him do various types of yoga and
meditation to try to help him with his quest. None of them seem to
have an answer to his question though.
Siddhartha left these various gurus and joined in with a group
of ascetics. Asceticism is a path in which you deprive the body in
order to conquer and control the mind. He practiced asceticism
fiercely, almost to the point of death. At that point he realized
that giving in to pleasure, as he did when he was a prince, nor
trying to punish the body, was the proper path to finding the
answer. So he sat down and meditated under a pi-pal tree. During
this meditation he discovered the root of all suffering and the
path to how to overcome suffering and became enlightened.
After his enlightenment he meets up with his ascetic friends,
who by now were critical of him for leaving the path of asceticism.
But he explains to them what he had discovered and they were
instantly converted. From there The Buddha taught for 45 years
until his death at 85 converting many to his teachings and now
Buddhism is the 4th largest religion in the world.