One day Gautama left the palace in a chariot to see how people were living their lives. As he rode through the streets, he saw a decrepit man tottering. Then he saw a man suffering from the ghastly disease of leprosy, and then he saw a corpse on a bier.
These sights made him think of decay, disease and death in life. He was overwhelmed with grief and compassion for the miseries of life and became determined to find a way to escape sufferings.
One night he bade silent farewell to his sleeping wife and son, and left the palace in search of answers for suffering humanity. After several years as an ascetic, and meeting sages, he sat down under a Bodhi tree, fell into deepest meditation and finally realized the truth he was so earnestly seeking. He became Buddha, the awakened one.
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