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Siddhartha Gautama, born 563 B.C.E., the son of a Kshatriya family. His father, the governor of a small tribal state, was determined that his son should never know sorrow or suffering, and as a result he led a sheltered life throughout much of his youth. He married his cousin and studied to succeed his father as governor. According to legend, despite his sheltered life, he saw an old man and learned from the experience that all humans grow old and die. He later saw a sick man and learned that suffering and sickness are also common to human nature. Still later, he saw a monk whom he considered to be a noble character; as a result of which he left his wife and family and became a wandering holy man, trying to understand the problem of human suffering.
Gautama survived as a beggar for a time but ultimately became a hermit. According to legend, he sat one day under a Bo tree and determined to stay there until he understood suffering. He sat under the tree for forty nine days, during which time; demons tempted him with worldly pleasures and threatened him in attempts to shake him. The demons eventually abandoned him, and he received enlightenment. He then understood both the problem of suffering and the solution to it. He then became the Buddha, the "enlightened one." He delivered his first sermon in which he promulgated his philosophy to friends at the Deer Park of Sarnath. The sermon became known as the "Turning of the Wheel of the Law." From there, his followers were organized into groups of monks who owned only yellow robes and begging bowls and traveled the countryside preaching his message and begging for meals. Buddha himself carried the message for forty years before dying at the age of eighty after eating poison mushrooms mistakenly served to him by one of his disciples. His last message to his disciples was: ‘Decay is inherent in all component things. Work out hour salvation with diligence!"
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