Buddhism originates in the teachings of Shakyamuni (Gautama Siddartha), who was born in what is now Nepal some 2,500 years ago. Shakyamuni was born a prince, but from a young age he became aware of and was profoundly troubled by the problem of human suffering. He became increasingly possessed by a longing to abandon the secular world and go out in search of a solution to the inherent sufferings of life. Buddhist scriptures describe four encounters which served to awaken in him an awareness of four sufferings common to all people—birth, aging, sickness and death—and a desire to seek their solution. Eventually he renounced his princely status and embarked on a spiritual quest to understand how human suffering could be overcome.
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