Buddha was born in Kapilavastu, India, which is present-day Nepal. He was the son of king of the Sakya clan. His name Siddhartha Gautama is a combination of the family name, Gautama, and his given name, Siddhartha. The title of Buddha means "Enlightened One."
Buddha married at an early age and lived the life of self-indulgence. However, he found that this life was dull and left his home in search of enlightenment. On his journey, he met an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. From these encounters, he determined that suffering was a shared characteristic of all humankind.
Then he came upon a calm and peaceful monk. From this encounter, he changed his outlook on life. This new life called for him to forsake his family, wealth, and power in order to be free to search for truth. This decision is known as the Great Renunciation.
About 528 BC, while sitting under a tree, he experienced the Great Enlightenment. Through this revelation, he discovered the way to salvation from suffering. From this revelation, Buddha traveled through the valley of the Ganges River, teaching his doctrines, attracting followers, and establishing religious communities.