Buddhism began in Northern India over 2,500 years ago, and is based upon the teachings of Siddattha Gotoma who became known as the ‘Buddha’ – the enlightened one. After searching for a way to free himself and others from suffering, he discovered enlightenment. For the next 45 years he instructed those who were willing to listen in the methods to achieve this for themselves. Nothing was written down by the Buddha, but he left a legacy in the form of a teaching (the Dhamma) that was at first conveyed orally by the religious order the Sangha (a community of monks and nuns) that he founded and guided. Monks and nuns (mendicants) are not permitted to preach, they are spiritual companions who can only teach when asked to do so.
In order to help people realise that the normal understanding of life is inadequate, the Buddha spoke about ‘dukkha’ (roughly translated as unsatisfactoriness). He summarised his teachings as the Truth about