Buddhism had been gaining in popularity since the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (563483 B.c.), founded it in Northern India in the sixth century B.c. Said to be born into a prominent family, Siddhartha renounced his wealth and lived as an ascetic, wandering for six years. It was while sitting under a Bodhi tree for 49 days that he became the Buddha, or "enlightened one." Through meditation, he determined that suffering stemmed from desire and the way to avoid desire was through the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. These doctrines, or dharma, promulgated the middle way: that a moderate, reflective, disciplined lifestyle would eventually lead to detachment from materialdesires, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, and attainment of spiritual enlightenment—or nirvana. Han emperor Mingdi (A.D. 28-75), an early Buddhist, erected the first Buddhist temple in China in A.D. 68, called the White Horse Temple, nine miles east of the city of Louyang. It is likely that at first only foreign merchants and missionaries used the temple, since Confucianism was the primary mode of thought in China at the time. These foreigners, however, were permitted to live preach from enclaves in several cities, and the number of Buddhist converts gradually grew. Today there are an estimated 350 million Buddhists around the world.