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“Buddha” is a general term for a person who has attained enlightenment, so Siddhattha Gotama, the founder of Buddhism and the person whose teachings are here described, is properly referred to as “the Buddha”.
     Siddhattha Gotama in a small kingdom in what is now Nepal. As an adult he renounced his family and possessions and attempted to attain enlightenment. He tried teachers and self-mortification but was unsuccessful, and finally gained enlightenment through meditation. This he accomplished while sitting under a bodhi tree and Thai temples usually have one of these trees, sometimes with a statue of the Buddha sitting under it.



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After attaining enlightenment the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching. He had many disciples, both monks and nuns, who helped spread his teachings. In Buddhism the Three Gems are the Buddha, his teaching, and the order of monks. A person who wishes to follow the path to enlightenment is said to take refuge in the Three Gems.

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