Buddha by Otgonbayar Ershuu
It would seem prudent to start the dissemination of the Dhamma with how it all began. At least that idea makes sense to me, and I feel any newly budding Buddhist could do with an overview of where Buddhism came from and who is responsible for it.
The Buddha was not born the Buddha, or to put it more correctly, the Buddha was not born a Buddha. He was born a baby boy, between 563BCE and 480BCE (current studies cannot pin the date of his birth any more accurately than this), just like any other male of our species. He was born into royalty in a province in what is now part of southern Nepal, and brought up with the attendant luxuries that such a lifestyle entailed. There was no immaculate conception, there were no miracles, he was not born with any supernatural powers. If he were to be reborn today, he would be just like you and me and you could well be spending the evening down the pub deliberating on the current state of the European Union and Brexit!
His father, being somewhat overprotective, made sure that the boy, named Siddhārtha Gautama, never roamed outside the confines of their palace and thus never experienced the daily life of the villagers and travellers through their domain. However, one evening, he convinced one of his servants to take him out of the palace and on a tour of his lands. It was this secretive trip that changed the path of Siddhartha’s life forever.
Rather than repeating what has already been written, I shall let the following Suttas tell the tale of how young Siddhārtha became a man who would be remembered and revered for almost 2500 years.
This is the story of how ‘The Buddha’ came to be.
In the Majjhimika Nikaya, Sutta 26, the Buddha details his own search for enlightenment. He also points out the real source of happiness.
MN 26: Ariyapariyesana Sutta: The Noble Search
And in the Majjhimika Nikaya, Sutta 36, the Buddha recounts the austerities he endured during his journey toward enlightenment and the true pleasures once he attained it.
MN 36: Maha-Saccaka Sutta — The Longer Discourse to Saccaka
Both Suttas give an idea of the events leading to Siddhartha’s enlightenment and will help you understand the man, as well as the Guru.
May all beings attain Nibbana.