Siddhartha Gautama, who later became know as Buddha, was born in Lumbini Nepal in 563 AD, to royal parents. His mother, Maya Devi gave birth to Buddha as she was travelling through Lumbini. Her labour commenced as she was bathing in a now sacred pond and as she exited the pond she grabbed onto the branch of a nearby tree and Buddha was born.
At the time of Buddha’s birth there was a great deal of poverty in Nepal and as such Buddha’s life was extremely privileged. Buddha was shielded from all the difficulties in Nepal as he grew up following a revelation to his parents by a Seer that Buddha was destined to be either a great King or a renowned teacher. Following this advice, Buddha’s parents shielded him from the outside world in Nepal with the expectation that this would influence his future success as a great king. The forced seclusion of Buddha however from the real world backfired once Buddha had his first encounter of the real world at 29 years of age. Upon leaving his royal residence in Nepal he was confronted with significant poverty and sickness and he selected to leave his privileged existence and to lead one of abstinence and asceticism in an effort to contemplate life beyond the physical realm and to achieve enlightenment. Buddha soon realised that these efforts would not necessarily help to bring about enlightenment and that as such the middle way was necessary.
'Enlightenment' which is known by Buddhists as the realisation of the real nature of the physical order was brought about following a period of meditation lasting 49 days. Buddha’s key message focused on the path to escaping the cycle of birth and rebirth through enlightenment as defined above. He also taught the 'middle' way.
Once Buddha had achieved enlightenment he commenced teaching and the birth of the Buddhist religion was witnessed. The love for Buddha and the acknowledgement that Buddha was a person of wisdom and knowledge resulted in his followers growing at a tremendous pace with students both inside and outside of Nepal.
The Buddhist religion in Nepal is now followed primarily by the Sherpas and other individuals living in the high mountain regions.