Bhuddims is one of the major religions of the world. It was
founded in India about 500 BC by a teacher called Buddha.
At various times, Buddhism has been a dominant religious,
cultural, and social force in most of Asia, Especially in
India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Tibet. In each
area,Buddhism has combined with elements of other religions
such as Hinduism and Shinto.
All Buddhists have faith in (1) Buddha; (2) his teachings,
called the dharma; and (3) the religious community he
founded called the sangha.
Buddha was born about 503 BC in southern Nepal. His real
name was Diddhartha Gautama. He was a member of a rich and
powerful royal family. At the age of about 20, Gautama
became overwhelmed with the conviction that life was filled
with suffering and unhappiness. This conviction led him to
abandon his wife and infant son and to seek religious
enlightenment as a wandering monk.
After traveling throughout northeastern India for about six
yeas, Gautama experienced enlightenment. He believed he had
discovered why life was filled with suffering and how man
could escape from this unhappy existence. After others
learned of his discovery, they called him Buddha, which
means Enlightened One.
Buddha preached that existence was a continuing cycle of
death and rebirth. Each person's position and well-being in
life was determined by his behavior in his previous lives.
For example, good deeds may lead to rebirth as a wise and
wealthy man or as a being in heaven. Evil deeds may lead to
rebirth as a poor and sickly man or even to rebirth in
Buddha also taught that as long as an individual remains
within the cycle of death and rebirth, he can never be
completely free from pain and suffering. Buddha said man
could break out of the cycle by eliminating any attachment
to worldly things. By ridding himself of such attachment,
man would gain a kind of perfect peace and happiness that
Buddha called nirvana. According to Buddha, those who are
willing and able to follow the Middle Way and the Noble
Eightfold Path will conquer their attachment to worldly
things and thus achieve nirvana.
After Buddha's death, his followers collected the
traditions that had developed around the charma. The oldest
of the many Buddhist schools compiled a scripture called
the "Tripitika". This word means "Three Baskets". The first
part, the 'Basket of Discipline", deals with the rules for
regulating the order of Buddhist monks. The second part,
the 'Basket of Discourses", consists largely of sermons.
The third part, the "Basket of the Higher Dharma", contains
later and more systematic discussion of doctrine.