Birth of Buddha :
‘Buddha’, meaning 'one who is awake' (in the sense of having 'woken up to reality') is more of a title rather than a name. The history of Buddhism in India began when the word ‘Buddha’ was first added to the name of a man born in Lumbini about 2,500 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama. A modest human being, he neither claimed nor was considered as a God by Buddhists. Gautama Buddha the creator of Buddhism acquired enlightenment, enduring the toughest situations in life.
Enlightenment of Buddha :
Siddhartha was born in the royal family of a small kingdom on the Indian-Nepalese border. According to traditions, he was nurtured in a monastery, but was shocked when he came across the harsh realities of life such as old age, sickness and death. In order to find the real meaning of life he left his home to become an ascetic and performed meditation. The painstaking effort as an ascetic almost took him to the verge of death. As he still could not find the true meaning of life he abandoned this path and sat below a pipal tree to meditate. He thus pledged that that "flesh may wither, blood may dry up, but I shall not rise from this spot until Enlightenment has been won’. After forty days, the Buddha was successful in attaining Enlightenment. This marked the beginning of Buddhism in India.
Buddhists consider his Enlightenment as something beyond which nothing can exceed. Normal experience symbolizes conditions like upbringing, psychology, opinions, perceptions, but Enlightenment is Unconditional. By gaining Enlightenment, the Buddha understood the true meaning of life and the sufferings of mankind. This took the Buddha into a spiritual mission to teach people, the path to Enlightenment.
Spread of Buddhism :
The Buddha began to preach, teaching people the path to Enlightenment during the remaining 45 years of his life. He traveled through most of north India including monasteries in Ladakh up to the East teaching the Buddha-dharma - 'the teaching of the Enlightened One'. Traveling from one place to another, the Buddha taught many disciples, who in turn gained Enlightenment within their own right. They began teaching others and thus, in this way a continuous cycle of teaching developed up to the present day.
Buddha was neither a God and nor did he claim holiness. He was a humble human being who put in painstaking efforts to transform himself. Thus, Buddhists consider the Buddha as supreme and an inspirational leader, who can show them, the path to Enlightenment.