Soon thereafter, a young woman offered the future Buddha a bowl of rice and milk. He accepted it, restored his strength, and began his practice anew.
He sat under the shade of a pippala tree (now called a Bodhi tree) determined not to rise until fully enlightened. He realized the 4 Noble Truths and the secret to true peace and happiness.
As a Buddha, an awakened one, he returned to teach his five fellow practitioners the Noble Truth of Unsatisfactoriness, the Noble truth of the Cause (Craving), the Noble Truth of Cessation, and the Noble 8-fold Path leading to the cessation of all suffering. The wheel of Dharma had been set in motion.
The Buddha gained many followers. On one occasion 1250 monks gathered spontaneously to hear his teaching. (This day is commemorated as a holiday in Buddhist countries.)
In one noteworthy story, the Buddha distracted murderer Angulimala from killing his own mother and 100th murder victim. Inspired by the Buddha's fearlessness and wisdom, Angulimala became a disciple and later attained enlightenment himself.
After 45 years of teaching the Dharma, the Buddha passed into Parinirvana. In his last sermon, he encouraged his disciples to diligently seek the truth and not to hold on to that which is impermanent.