Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha,[note 3] or simply the Buddha, was an ascetic (śramaṇa) andsage, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.[web 2] He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinentsometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.[note 4]
Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severeasceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region. He later taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha andKosala.
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened or divine teacher who attained full Buddhahood, and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.