Comparison of World Religions
By : Hannah Homovich
Most historians agree that Buddhism originated in northern India in the 5th century B.C.E. The tradition traces its origin to Siddhartha Gautama (or Gotama), who is typically referred to as the Buddha (literally the "Awakened" or "Enlightened One").Buddhism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. There is no personal god or monotheistic creator God in Buddhism, as there is in Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Buddhism is a spiritual path based on the teachings of the Buddha.One of the core foundations of Buddhism is the realization that suffering is an essential part of life due to human craving and desires. Impermanence, moreover, is the nature of life itself, and because all things in existence are impermanent, human beings face suffering sooner or later in life. The Buddha taught that there is a way out of suffering and rebirth. These Buddhist teachings are known collectively as the Four Noble Truths. The Buddhist path toward awakening is summarized in the teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path. Because there is no ultimate deity or dependence on faith in anything unseen, Buddhism is considered by many to be more of a spiritual philosophy than a religion. An example of a parable from Buddhism would be The old man and the scorpion. This parable is about a man trying to save an ungreatful scorpion even though he is stung multiple times.While estimates vary between 200-500 million adherents, the generally agreed number of Buddhistsis estimated at around 350 million (6% of the world's population). This makes Buddhism the world's fourth largest (in terms of number of adherents).Ashoka promoted Buddhist expansion by sending monks to surrounding territories to share the teachings of the Buddha. A wave of conversion began, and Buddhism spread not only through India, but also internationally. Ceylon, Burma, Nepal, Tibet, central Asia, China, and Japan are just some of the regions where the Middle Path was widely accepted.The sacred book of Buddhism is called the Tipitaka. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali which is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The Tripitaka is a very largebook. The English translation of it takes up nearly forty volumes.Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh were two important people to the Buddhist. Their social pyramid consisted of; Buddhist monasteries,Buddhist monks,Buddhist nuns,Buddhist lay people, and Buddhist pilgrims.