The story of Buddhism begins in India in the sixth century B.C.E. with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who was known as the “Awakened One,” or Buddha.
What was the Buddha’s religious and cultural background? What problems did he inherit? Why did he respond to them in the way he did?
To answer these questions, we begin our study of Buddhism by looking back into the Vedas, the earliest surviving scriptures of the Hindu tradition.
The Vedas tell us about the lives of Indian sages and about an Indian quest for wisdom about the nature of the world and the self.
When Siddhartha Gautama “woke up” to the truth and became the Buddha, this distinctive insight made him one of the most eminent and influential of these Indian sages.