Siddhārtha Gautama who became the Buddha, lived approximately 2500 years ago in India. He was the son of a wealthy chieftain who had a very privileged life. His early life was filled with studies and he was very sheltered. He was born a Hindu and studied as a Hindu.
He did not know much about the world in his early life and as he got older he began to know that there was suffering in the world. As a young man of 29 he ventured out into the world and decided that he wanted to do all he could to put an end to the suffering in the world.
He traveled away from his home and searched every religious school he could in his goal of finding a way to end the suffering of man. He found many wonderful teachings but none led to and end of man's suffering.
He arrived upon the belief that meditation was the right path but the extremes of either underindulgence or overindulgence that many of the schools taught was not the way.
He was said to have meditated under a Bodhi tree for 49 days and became the Buddha or "Awakened One".
His enlightenment both ended his own suffering and showed him the path to teach others to end their suffering. He presented this teaching in what is called the eight-fold path which is the foundation off Buddhism. It provides those who follow it a path to Nirvana. Nirvanva is not a place however, the word means coolness which a cooling down of the hot emotions (good and bad) we feel. In nirvana you are completely at peace and without worry. Also your goals and path are clear.
Siddhārtha Gautama is said to be the 9th Buddha to have lived and it is said that there will be a total of 10.
Although many Buddhists worship him as a supernatural figure, the Buddha was only a man. He is not to be worshiped and should only be looked at as a teacher. Further he believed that praying to someone for hope or guidance is a crutch and that we each have the means to get whatever and wherever we want.
Here are great words to describe what the Buddha taught about prayer in general and praying to him in particular:
The Buddha did not ask for or even allow worship of himself or of anyone or anything else. He encouraged an ethical, harmless life that included meditation to understand for oneself, the nature and origins of suffering. He emphasized the fact that we can be free from this suffering, and taught the actions that he used to become free of suffering.
He talked constantly about the fact that he was a person like any other person, and any person could do what he had done, and do it even without a teacher such as himself.
In Buddhism, teachers are useful, but not essential. The Buddha found his way to enlightenment without a teacher. This proves that anyone can. In fact sometimes having a teacher stops you fro reaching enlightenment because you might worship the teacher.
In the writing about Buddha he encourages everyone respect elders and teachers because this is natural, but to question even them when appropriate.
So the answer to the question is that Buddha was not a God to be worshipped, he was only a man who discovered a path for us to follow. Yes he was a special man, but each of us can be just as special as well.
Now you are learning about Buddhism!