Some 2,600 years ago a child was born into the royal family of the Sakyan clan, a people living in a part of northeast India that now lies within the borders of Nepal. He was given the name of Siddhattha. At the age of 29, Prince Siddhattha renounced a life of ease and privilege to search for spiritual liberation. Six years later, after a momentous night of meditation sitting cross-legged under a bodhi tree, he realized “the unexcelled complete awakening”. By doing so he became “the Buddha”, “the Awakened One”.
Following his enlightenment, the Buddha devoted the remaining forty- five years of his life to revealing the Dhamma: the truth of “the way things are”, and the path leading to the realization of that truth. During this time the Buddha established a monastic order (Sangha) for those of his disciples, men and women, who wished to put aside all worldly tasks and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the study and practice of his teachings.