A title given to the founder of Buddhism, Siddartha Gautama (c. 563–c. 460 bc). Born an Indian prince in what is now Nepal, he renounced wealth and family to become an ascetic, and after achieving enlightenment while meditating, taught all who came to learn from him.
Buddhism, founded by him, is now a widespread Asian religion or philosophy. It has no god, and gives a central role to the doctrine of karma. The ‘four noble truths’ of Buddhism state that all existence is suffering, that the cause of suffering is desire, that freedom from suffering is nirvana, and that this is attained through the ‘eightfold path’ of ethical conduct, wisdom, and mental discipline (including meditation). There are two major traditions, Theravada and Mahayana.