The Buddhism reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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The great Buddha statue in Lantau Island, Hong KongEnlarge

The great Buddha statue in Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Buddhism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings of a man named SiddhÄÁrtha Gautama. He lived between about 563 and 483 BCE. This religion began in India. It slowly spread through all Asia, to Central Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and the East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.

Table of contents
1 Quick facts
2 What is a Buddha?
3 Who was the first Buddha?
4 What do Buddhists believe?
5 The three vehicles
6 History of the schools
7 Scriptures
8 Relations with other faiths
9 Buddhism in the modern world
10 See also
11 External links

Quick facts

Buddhism is mostly about ending the feeling of pain that all people feel inside. Gautama Buddha taught that pain is a part of all life. He taught that pain is because of desire. And he showed that there is a way to end desire and end pain by doing good things, not doing bad things, and training one's mind. This is done to end pain and gain enlightenment. Enlightenment is living in nirvana. (Nirvana means "ending", like a fire going out.)

Gilded image of the BuddhaEnlarge

Gilded image of the Buddha

"To shun all evil.
To do good.
To purify one's heart.
This is the teaching of the Buddhas."
--DhammapÄÁda, XIV, 5

Buddhism teaches non-harm and moderation or balance, not going too far one way or the other. Buddhists often meditate, or think deeply, while sitting in a special way. They often chant and meditate while walking. Buddhists sometimes do these things to understand the human heart and mind. Sometimes they do these things to understand the way the world works. Sometimes they do these things to find peace.

Buddhism does not say if gods exist or not, but one can read about many gods in Buddhist books. Buddhists do not believe that people should look to gods to save them or bring them enlightenment. The gods may have power over world events and they might help people, or they might not. But it's up to each person to get to enlightenment. Many Buddhists honor gods in ritual.

What is a Buddha?

Buddha is a word in the very old Indian languages PÄÁli and Sanskrit which means "one who woke up". The word "Buddha" often means the first Buddha named Guatama, but "Buddha" does not mean just one man who lived at a certain time. It is used for a type of person, and there have been many. (In the same way, "American President" does not mean one man, but everyone who has held that office.) There were Buddhas a very long time ago, and there will be for a long time in the future.

A Buddha is a human being who has woken up and can see the true way the world works. This knowlege totally changes the person beyond birth, death, and rebirth. This person can help others become enlightened too.

To learn more, read: Buddha

Who was the first Buddha?

Old stories say that SiddhÄÁrtha Gautama was born around the 6th century BCE. He was the one would become the first Buddha. Some Buddhists believe that SiddhÄÁrtha Gautama was a perfect person.

He was born a prince, but he wanted to learn the answer to the problem of human suffering, or pain. He gave up all his money and power, and became a monk without a home. He walked from place to place, trying to learn the answers to life.

At last he found enlightenment while sitting under a big tree called the Bodhi Tree. He was the first person to teach Buddhism to the people, and Buddhists love him for that.

After SiddhÄÁrtha Gautama died, his students taught the Buddha's teaching to more people. After a time, they wrote down all the things that he had said.

To learn more, read: SiddhÄÁrtha Gautama.

What do Buddhists believe?

The Three Jewels

Buddhists often talk about the Three Jewels, which are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Dharma is the way the Buddha taught to live your life. The Sangha is the group of monks and other people who meet together, like a church.

Buddists say "I take refuge in the Budda, the Dharma, and the Sangha." This means that these three things keep them safe.

To learn more, read: Three Jewels.

The Four Noble Truths

The Buddha's first and most important teachings are the Four Noble Truths.

  1. Everything in life is painful. There is no way to avoid pain. Nothing in life is ever good enough.
  2. The reason for this pain is our desires. We want more and more, so we feel pain.
  3. There is hope. There is a way to end pain.
  4. The way to end pain is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

To learn more, read: Four Noble Truths.

The Noble Eightfold Path

If you want to understand the Four Noble Truths and end suffering, the Buddha told people to follow a special way of life called the Noble Eightfold Path. These are:

  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Thought
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Job
  6. Right Effort (or Right Working)
  7. Right Mindfulness (or Right Awakeness)
  8. Right Concentration (or Right Deep-thinking)

To learn more, read: Noble Eightfold Path

The Five Precepts

Most Buddhists follow five precepts, or rules, that say what not to do. These are sort of like the Ten Commandments in Christianity, or the Yamas and Niyamas in Hinduism.

These are the Five Precepts.

  1. I will not hurt a person or animal that is alive.
  2. I will not take something if it was not given to me.
  3. I will not have sex in a way that is not right.
  4. I will not lie or say things that hurt people.
  5. I will not take intoxicants, like alcohol or drugs.

In some types of Buddhism, when a person wants to be a monk, he will follow other precepts also.

External links

This page was copied from the original English Wikipedia page. Writers changed it so it is easier to read.