Buddhism began in the fifth or sixth century before Christ. It was founded by Gautama Buddha, who was originally named Prince Siddhartha Gautama. He was born in 624 B.C. in Lumbini, which is in modern-day Nepal.
It is said that as a child Buddha observed much suffering in the world, and this made him renounce his worldly life. At the age of 29, he began to wander in search of truth. After six years of meditation, Gautama achieved enlightenment under the famous Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya. This was the beginning of Buddhism.
Buddha means "awakened one,” and the religion spread from the Indian subcontinent to parts of Southeast Asia. Buddhism is one of the oldest surviving religions in the world.