Believe nothing, O monks, merely because you have been told it or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beingsthat doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) was a spiritual teacher from the ancient Indian subcontinent and the historical founder of Buddhism. He is universally recognized by Buddhists as the Supreme Buddha of our age. The time of his birth and death are uncertain; most modern historians date his lifetime from 563 BCE to 483 BCE, though some have suggested a date about a century later than this. Gautama is the key figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules were summarized after his death and memorized by the sangha. Passed down by oral tradition, the Tripitaka, the collection of discourses attributed to Gautama, was committed to writing about 400 years later.