The Buddha first departure
Black volcanic stone
72cm long, 51cm high
At the age of 29, the popular biography continues, Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father’s efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man. When his charioteer Channa explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.
Accompanied by Channa and riding his horse Kanthaka, Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant. It’s said that, “the horse’s hooves were muffled by the gods” to prevent guards from knowing of his departure.
Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni, or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in eastern India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.
The word Buddha means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one”. “Buddha” is also used as a title for the first awakened being in a Yuga era. In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha (Pali sammāsambuddha, Sanskrit samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇamovement common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala.
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.