Generally speaking, from the smallest insect on up to the most intelligent human being, there is agreement that all sentient beings want happiness and all of them also wish to avoid suffering. The majority of human beings do not understand what the cause of suffering is, or what the cause of happiness is, but in the teachings of the Buddha and in their practice you will find answers to these questions.
-His Holiness Sakya Trichen
The origin of Buddhism
Born as a prince in the Kingdom of Shakya, Siddhartha Gautama bathed in the lap of luxury and pleasure until one day when he witnessed old age, sickness and death. Overwhelmed by his discovery of the suffering of life, he decided to follow the path of a religious ascetic in quest of liberation.
After six years of extreme asceticism, Siddhartha came to the realization that such physical austerity and deprivation would not win him the final attainment either. With this new revelation, Siddhartha abandoned asceticism and adopted the middle path—away from all extremes.
He wandered and finally arrived at a grove in Uruvela where a tall pippal tree stood. There, he made a cushion out of kusha grass. With unwavering determination, he sat under the sacred Bodhi tree, resolute to meditate until attaining Enlightenment.
Eventually in an evening of deep meditation, Siddhartha Gautama overcame tremendous obstacles and came to realize the nature of things, and attained the perfect state of Buddhahood (Enlightenment).
The Bodhi tree where the Buddha sat under and gained full Enlightenment