The Life of Siddhartha



563 BCE - 534 BCE
  • His father hid the suffering and death that existed outside of the kingdom from him
  • To prevent him from leaving, his father also had guards to stop him from escaping and displayed only happy things (ex. the parade)

The Birth of Siddhartha

563 BCE
  • He was born a prince to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya
  • Queen Maya conceived her son when he descended from Heaven and entered the womb as a baby white elephant (symbol of purity). When she gave birth, myths say a tree lowered its branches to assist her. When Siddhartha was born, he took seven steps and announced, "This is my last birth."

The Four Sights

534 BCE
  • He wanted to experience the pain and suffering that had been kept from him his whole life
  • His goal was to reach enlightenment, escape from reincarnation
  • 4 sights:
  • Old man with his body broken by life (old age)
  • Sick man lying by the road side
  • Corpse being prepared for cremation
  • Ascetic Hindu monk (severe self-discipline and avoidance of life's indulgences)

Renunciation and Austerities

534 BCE - 530 BCE
  • Learned to meditate, first teacher taught him to attain state of deep trance. Also tried meditation that involved retaining breath for longer and longer periods of time
  • Tried starving himself and being ascetic, in a state of self-denial, but was not productive
  • came to conclusion that the Middle Way, or path between extremes, was the best method to achieve enlightenment

The 1st Sermon

531 BCE - 486 BCE
  • Became known as Buddha, meaning "enlightened one"
  • Shared his teachings of life with 5 monks, who became bhikkus
  • Beginning of buddhist community Next 45 years, Buddha traveled around north and central India preaching his philosphy

Siddhartha discovers the Middle Way

530 BCE
  • begins his life life of meditation


530 BCE
  • Re-began meditation under a tree
  • Remembered all of his previous lives
  • Saw death and rebirth of all types of consequence of good and bad deeds (the concept of karma)
  • After learning about karma, he removed craving and ignorance for himself
  • Achieved state of Nirvana, supreme realization of enlightenment Stayed in state for a week, then publicized his teachings, creating the dharma


486 BCE

Buddha was 80 years old and was in poor health.
-Would he have a successor?
-He declared that dharma would be the spiritual guiding for everyone on earth
-Died resting between 2 trees
-Upon his death, he reached the state of parinirvana, or complete nirvana, which released him from the cycle of involuntary rebirth