A new prince was born in ancient India,
about 2500 years ago (in 553 BCE). His named was Prince
Siddhartha Gautama. His parents loved him very much. All his life,
growing up, his parents gave the prince excellent food to eat, fine
clothes to wear, and good servants to wait on him. When he became a man,
his parents gave him a different palace for each season of the year. The
prince and his wife were blessed with the birth of a baby, a new son,
who was strong and healthy. You might say the prince had
But all the prince could see was
suffering. It had bothered him greatly, all his life, that pain and old
age, and sickness and death were all part of life. The thought of this
had always made him very unhappy.
One day, the prince met a monk. That
changed his world. He could not believe the monk could find happiness in
a world that held such misery. The prince made a startling decision. He
decided to leave his parents, his wife, and his newborn son, and become
The prince traveled ancient India, in
search of peace and calm in the face of suffering and sadness. He
traveled for six years, as a monk. He was beginning to despair. Perhaps
there was no answer. Perhaps all his life he would be unhappy. It was a
It was when he was resting under a fig
tree that the way to end all suffering occurred to him! That was the day
the monks began to call him "the Buddha", or the Awakened
Four Noble Truths: What Buddha has realized, while resting
under the fig tree, is that life is ruled by four truths, truths the
Buddha called the Four Noble Truths. Those truths are:
Life is filled with suffering
Suffering is caused by people's wants.
Suffering can be ended if people stop wanting
things, like more pleasure or more power.
To stop wanting things, people must follow 8
basic laws, called the Eightfold Path.