The Buddha, whose original name was Siddhartha Gautama, was the founder of Buddhism, the religion and the philosophical system that produced a great culture throughout much of southern and eastern Asia. Buddha, meaning "awakened one" or "enlightened one" is a title not a name. In Hindu Dogma, the Buddha is viewed as being the 9th avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.
The essence of the Buddha's early preaching was said to be the four Noble truths:
- Life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering.
- Suffering is a result of one's desires for pleasure, power, and continued existence;
- To stop disappointment and suffering on must stop desiring; and
- The way to stop desiring and thus suffering is the Noble eight fold path - right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness and right concentration. The realization of the truth of anatman (no eternal self) was taught as essential for the indescribable state of release called nirvana.