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Bud·dhism

a religion, originated in India by Buddha (Gautama) and later spreading to China, Burma, Japan, Tibet, and parts of southeast Asia, holding that life is full of suffering caused by desire and that the way to end this suffering is through enlightenment that enables one to halt the endless sequence of births and deaths to which one is otherwise subject. (cite)

Religious Practices

The Buddha, after all, was called the "Enlightened One." After he became enlightened, he taught that the way to eliminate suffering begins with understanding the true nature of the world. However, the Buddha considered knowledge important only insofar as it remains practical. He rejected speculation about such matters as God, the nature of the universe, and the afterlife, urging his followers to focus instead on the Four Noble Truths by which they can free themselves from suffering.(cite)

Famous religious quotes

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Buddha

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Buddha

Purpose of life

One of the most important questions all belief systems seek to address is: What is the purpose of life? And virtually all religions propose a way of life that will lead to salvation, liberation, satisfaction, or happiness. Buddhism is no exception.

In Buddhism, the primary purpose of life is to end suffering. The Buddha taught that humans suffer because we continually strive after things that do not give lasting happiness. We desperately try to hold on to things - friends, health, material things - that do not last, and this causes sorrow.(cite)

History

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"). Siddhartha observed the suffering in the world and set out to find an antidote. Through meditation and analysis, he attained an enlightened state of being that marked the end of attachments (and therefore suffering), and ultimately, upon his death, release from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). The Buddha's teachings are often summarized in the Four Noble Truths, which form the basis of the first sermon he delivered after attaining enlightenment, and the Eightfold Path, which provides a basic guide for how to live in the world. Over the course of its 2500-year history, Buddhism has experienced many schisms and modifications; there are currently three major branches of the tradition — the Theravada ("Doctrine of the Elders"), the Mahayana ("Great Vehicle), and the Vajrayana ("Diamond Vehicle," often simply called "Tibetan Buddhism")(cite)

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