The religion that isn't really a religion

Historical Bachground

The Buddhist religion was founded by an individual named Siddhartha Gautama. He was born into a royal family and grew up in Ancient India as a Hindu around 460 B.C.E. He lived a life of privilege and luxury until one day he left the royal enclosure and encountered for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. Disturbed by this, he began to seek the source of pain and suffering throughout life. He soon became a monk and discovered that life full of poverty was no better than his previous life. This discovery led him to a new path called the Middle Way. Upon his discovery, Siddhartha Gautama was led from a life of excesses including wealth and pain, thus becoming the Enlightened One, or Buddha

Central Beliefs

Buddhism is often considered a way of life, and not so much a religion. Buddhism does not believe in a god that controls the universe like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism. It is a tradition that focuses on personal and spiritual development. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana (a deep insight or understanding of the true nature of life). Rather than worshiping gods, Buddhists follow the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around 460 B.C.E.

During Buddha’s enlightenment period he discovered four steps to reaching Nirvana, The Four Noble Truths. These truths contain the essence of the Buddha's teachings. Once again, Buddhists do not believe in the traditional sense of a god as other religions do. Buddhists spend their time searching for enlightenment and understanding of the world around them, as Buddha himself did.

I thought Buddha was fat?

The fat Buddha you see in Chinese restaurants actually has nothing to do with Buddhism. The laughing Buddha is actually Budai. Budai is a character in ancient Chinese and Vietnamese folklore. In folklore, he is admired for his happiness, plenitude, and wisdom of contentment. One belief popular in folklore maintains that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.

Spread of Buddhism

Although created in Ancient India, very few people in India actually worship Buddhism. A great king of India, named Ashoka, helped Buddhism spread throughout the world. He sent Buddhist monks all over the world on the Silk Road. The Silk Road was an ancient trading route that connected most of the world over a thousand years ago. Thanks the Ashoka and the Silk Road, Buddhism became a major religion in China. Buddhism mostly found in China. People all over the world have adopted to philosophy of Buddhism, while not making it there official religion. There are roughly 400 million Buddhists worldwide.
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