- Buddhism was founded by the sage Siddhartha Gautama in 563-483 BCE.
- The word Buddha means ‘enlightened’, or the ‘one who is awake’.
- The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:
- suffering as a characteristic of existence
- the cause of suffering is craving and attachment
- the ceasing of suffering, called Nirvana
- the path to Nirvana, made up of eight steps, sometimes called the Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path to Nirvana is to be "right" in all these areas: concentration, views, speech, resolve, action, livelihood, effort and mindfulness.
Types of Buddhism
There are three main types of Buddhism that represent specific geographical areas include:
- Theravada Buddhism: Prevalent in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Burma
- Mahayana Buddhism: Prevalent in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam
- Tibetan Buddhism: Prevalent in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, and parts of Russia and northern India
Spread of Buddhism
- 150 AD: Trade brings Indian people and beliefs to Asia, particularly China.3rd century: Teachings of Buddha are translated to Chinese.
- 3rd century: Ashoka the Great, the Mauryan Indian emperor, made Buddhism the state religion of India.
- 4th century: Introduced to Korea.
- 6th century: Introduced to Japan.
- 1100-1200: Muslims dominate India, and Buddhism becomes a very minor religion in the country.
- 1800s: Introduced to the United States, mostly on the west coast.
- 1959: Dalai Lama, the Buddhist leader in Tibet, flees to India to escape Chinese rule.
- Present - Buddhism remains a minor religion in its country of origin, India, with about eight million followers, or 0.7% of the total Indian population.