Buddha (the Enlightened One) lived in Northern India in the 6th century BC. He was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Shakyamuni. He grew up at court, but at the age of 29 he was confronted with the reality of disease and misery whereupon he decided to wander the world as a beggar. After numerous journeys and encounters he gained insight while meditating under a tree that all life is suffering. Salvation in earthly existence is not possible because everything that dies is reborn. It can only be achieved by escaping the cycle of reincarnation, and thus becoming ‘enlightened’.
Enlightenment is attained by giving up desire, living in the correct manner and meditating. Buddha himself achieved Enlightenment by his 36th year, but remained on earth until he was around 80 to spread his teachings. Buddhism was subsequently propagated by his followers.