Exploring the Roots of Buddhism: When, Where, and Who

Exploring the Roots of Buddhism: When, Where, and Who

Buddhism, a spiritual tradition rich in history and philosophy, continues to influence millions of people worldwide. If you're new to Buddhism or simply exploring its teachings, you might wonder: when did Buddhism start, where was Buddhism founded, and who founded Buddhism? This post delves into the ancient origins of this profound faith to provide you with a clearer understanding.

When Did Buddhism Start?

The foundation of Buddhism dates back to the 5th to 4th century BCE. The exact year can be hard to pinpoint due to historical variations in records, but scholars commonly agree on this time frame. Understanding when Buddhism started helps us appreciate its long-standing presence and evolution through centuries.

Where Was Buddhism Founded?

Buddhism was founded in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent. More precisely, it originated in what is now modern-day Nepal and India, particularly around the region of Lumbini and the ancient kingdom of Magadha. The geographic setting of where Buddhism was founded is crucial as it influenced the early development and dissemination of Buddhist teachings across Asia.

Who Founded Buddhism?

The founding figure of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. Born a prince in the Shakya clan, which resided in the region of Lumbini, he renounced his royal life in search of deeper meaning and enlightenment. His profound realization under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya marks the central point of his spiritual journey, after which he devoted his life to teaching the path to Nirvana.

The Historical Context and Spread of Buddhism

The era when Buddhism started was marked by significant social and religious questioning. This period, often referred to as the Axial Age, saw similar philosophical and religious developments in different parts of the world. In the context of where Buddhism was founded, the Indian subcontinent was ripe with intellectual and spiritual debate, providing a fertile ground for the growth of new ideas.

After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha spent the remainder of his life traveling and teaching in the regions around where Buddhism was founded. His teachings attracted followers from various social classes, and after his death, these teachings were preserved and spread by his disciples. The influence of Buddhism extended far beyond its original location as it traveled across Asia, taking root in Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, adapting to local cultures and traditions.

Core Teachings of Buddhism

At the heart of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which outline the nature of suffering, its causes, and the path to overcoming it. These teachings reflect the insights of the Buddha and form the core philosophy of Buddhism, guiding millions in their spiritual lives.


So, when did Buddhism start? Around the 5th to 4th century BCE. Where was Buddhism founded? In the regions now known as Nepal and northern India. And who founded Buddhism? Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, whose teachings have resonated through millennia. Whether you are just starting to explore Buddhism or looking to deepen your understanding, the history of its foundation is a testament to its enduring wisdom and appeal.