Buddhism is one of the world's most prolific religions, dominating in much of mainland South East Asia, and influential as well in South Asia and East Asia.
There is also a Buddhist diaspora spread across most of the world and a renaissance of interest in the West since the late 60s and 70s.
He was raised in the palace with the best luxuries money can buy, but shut off from the outside world by his father, the king.
One night, he sneaked out of the palace and saw four sights that had a profound impact on the rest of his life; an old man, a sick man, a dead man and an ascetic.
He ruled most of the Indian subctontinent from his capital city of Pataliputra, modern day Patna.
The Tripitaka, also known as the Pali Canon, is generally regarded as the oldest surviving Buddhist text, and is considered canon by all schools of Buddhism.
Buddhism is a religion founded around 400-500 BC by Sakyamuni Buddha.
According to tradition, Prince Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha's former name) was born in Lumbini as heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Sakya (in present day Nepal, near the Indian border).
He spent six years experimenting with the various common methods of the day, but to no avail.
Finally, at the age of thirty-five and while meditating under the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, he awoke to the insights he had been seeking.