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Buddhism - Buddhist - Buddha


Bud·dhism (bdzm, bdz-) n.Buddha Buddhism Buddhist
  1. The teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct, wisdom, and meditation releases one from desire, suffering, and rebirth.
  2. The religion represented by the many groups, especially numerous in Asia, that profess varying forms of this doctrine and that venerate Buddha.

\Bud"dhism\, n. The religion based upon the doctrine originally taught by the Hindoo sage Gautama Siddartha, surnamed Buddha, ``the awakened or enlightened,'' in the sixth century b. c., and adopted as a religion by the greater part of the inhabitants of Central and Eastern Asia and the Indian Islands. Buddha's teaching is believed to have been atheistic; yet it was characterized by elevated humanity and morality. It presents release from existence (a beatific enfranchisement, Nirv[^a]na) as the greatest good. Buddhists believe in transmigration of souls through all phases and forms of life. Their number was estimated in 1881 at 470,000,000.

Golden Rule

*Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.* ~Udana-Varga


Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, being exceeded in numbers only by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It was founded in Northern India by the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. In 535 BCE, he attained enlightenment and assumed the title Lord Buddha (one who has awakened)

As Buddhism expanded across Asia, it evolved into two main forms, which evolved largely independently from each other:

  • Theravada Buddhism (sometimes called Southern Buddhism; occasionally spelled Therevada) "has been the dominant school of Buddhism in most of Southeast Asia since the thirteenth century, with the establishment of the monarchies in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos."
  • Mahayana Buddhism (sometimes called Northern Buddhism) is largely found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.

To which might be added:

  • Tibetan Buddhism, which developed in isolation from Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism because of the isolation of Tibet.

Since the late 19th century:

  • Modern Buddhism has emerged as a truly international movement. It started as an attempt to produce a single form of Buddhism, without local accretions, that all Buddhists could embrace.

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