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Buddhism is among one of the largest and oldest religions in the world.

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BUDDHISM Buddhism is among one of the largest and oldest religions in the world. Buddhism originated in India and is based on the teachings of Buddha or the Enlightened One. It is believed that Buddha lived somewhere around 563 and 483 BC. Buddha was an Indian philosopher who was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Buddha was the son of the head of the Sakya warrior caste. It is hard to determine what the truth is about Buddha and his life but it is generally accepted that Buddha, at young age showed interest and took part in meditation and reflection on life; this caused his father to be unhappy as he wanted Buddha to be a warrior and leader, like him. Buddha was blinded of the reality of life and lived luxuriously but as time went on he came to realize that his life was dull and he set out in search of enlightenment. ...read more.


It is believed that currently there is between 150 and 300 million Buddhist around the world. The reason that the exact number is not known is due to the fact that religion is "nonexclusive" and also that it is quite hard to tell the exact number of Buddhist followers in communist countries such as China. Buddhists believe the four noble truths, which Buddha discovered and preached about. They are: 1) As soon as a human is born he is suffering until the moment of death, which means that human life is suffering. This follows the Hindu principal of reincarnation where death leads to rebirth, therefore death is not relief. 2) All suffering is caused due to ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment and grasping that is caused from such ignorance. 3) The suffering can be stopped if ignorance and attachment is overcome. ...read more.


Each person has a karma which determines that person's specie, beauty, intelligence, longevity, wealth and social status. Buddha's teachings state that different karma can lead to the rebirth as a human, an animal, a hungry ghost, a denizen of hell or even one of the Hindu gods. All Buddhist aim to achieve an ultimate goal of Nirvana, this is a Buddhist path to release from the continual cycle of rebirth and suffering. Nirvana is an enlightened state where greed, hatred and ignorance are eliminated. Nirvana is a state of consciousness beyond definition. After a Buddhist achieves Nirvana, he may continue to live, using up the remaining karma until the final stage of nirvana is achieved at the moment of death. Buddhism has been a great success; one reason for such success is due to the adaptation to new cultures and conditions and although belief in the western world is low it is slowly adapting Buddhism and it is estimated that in the near future the number of followers is going to rise. ...read more.

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