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The Buddha Enlightenment 2,600 years ago

The Buddha attained Enlightenment 2,600 years ago (in 588 BCE), at Uruvela (present-day Bodhgaya), India. A few weeks after His great awakening, the Buddha shared His realization with His five ascetic friends, and they became His earliest converts and disciples. Not long afterwards, the Buddha converted more than a thousand nobles and former fire- worshippers of Uruvela. These thousand- strong followers formed the pioneer Saõgha – the spiritual community of monks.

The Buddha spent the next 45 years preaching tirelessly until His passing away in 543 BCE. Even during His lifetime, Buddhism gained a great following of kings, nobles, merchants, and masses of common folks. High-caste or low, they were all drawn to the Teaching’s simplicity, practicality, candour and egalitarian spirit. In Buddha-Dhamma, people saw the truth of existence and the possibility of overcoming all suffering. In fact, Buddhism rapidly expanded to become the dominant faith throughout the densely-populated Ganges Valley by the 5th Century BCE.

The Buddha started to preach the Dhamma two months after His Enlightenment. He first went to Sarnath near Varanasi to ‘turn the Wheel of Dhamma‘ (Dhammacakka), out of great compassion for the world.