The key events of the life of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

  • 563 BCE


    Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in the famous gardens of Lumbini.
  • 547 BCE


    At the early age of sixteen, he marries his beautiful cousin Princess Yasodhara, who is of equal age.
  • 533 BCE

    Leaves the palace (4 sights)

    Siddhartha leaves the palace and sees a decrepit old man, a diseased person, a corpse being cremated, and a sadhu. Siddhartha realises that there is old age, sickness, and death, and that people ultimately have little control over their lives. The fourth sight provides the inspiration that leads to a dramatic change in his life.
  • 533 BCE

    Renunciation (gives up his life as a prince)

    In the night of his 29th birthday, Siddhartha gives up his life as a prince and secretly leaves the court while everyone is asleep. He travels far and crosses the river Anoma, where he shaves his hair and hands over his princely garments to his groom Channa, with instructions to return them to the palace.
  • 528 BCE


    While meditating under a Bodhi tree in Bodh-Gaya, south of Gaya in the state of Bihar, India, the Bodhisattva experiences the Great Enlightenment, which reveals to him the way of salvation from suffering. He spends seven weeks meditating in the vicinity of the site of the Bodhi tree and attains the status of a fully realised Buddha at the age of 35.
  • 528 BCE

    First sermon

    Buddha finds his former five disciples in Benares. In his first sermon he teaches them what will become the gist of Buddhism. Upon hearing it, one of the disciples instantly attains the status of an arhat . This event marks the beginning of the Buddhist teaching and his disciples become the first five members of the sangha.
  • Period: 528 BCE to 528 BCE

    Discovery of the Middle Way

    After experiencing the extremes, he found that self denial was a s unsatisfactory as life in the palace is, so he came to the conclusion that the best course was the Middle Way, or a path between both extremes. The best life was one of moderation. Under a Bodhi tree
  • 483 BCE


    Having achieved the goal of spreading the teaching to the greatest number of people, Buddha dies at the age of eighty years, as a result of food poisoning. He dies in a forest near Kusinagara, Nepal, in the company of his followers reclining on a bed where he speaks his last words: "All compounded things are ephemeral; work diligently on your salvation." With these words on his lips, he passes into the state of Nirvana.