Buddhism began in India. It is the fourth largest religion in the world and mainly practiced in Asia. Its teachings are the book Nikayas and “laws” where in the Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths. Buddhism came fourth into the world through Hinduism; though both are very similar, Buddhism is not as harsh. Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, a Brahmin Hindu prince in the 500’s B. C. His parents raised him to be above everyone.
Locked up from the outside world, he knew none of the sufferings and deaths in India. One day when Siddhartha decided to go outside the walls of his perfect world, he saw the pain and agony of those around him were in. His heart went out to those in pain and need. Siddhartha then decided to leave his family to find a way to escape the harshness of life. Through fasting, prayers, and meditating for six years, he found no hope of enlightenment.
Then one day under a tree, Siddhartha found what he was looking for all those years, enlightenment; thus making him the Buddha, “enlightened one. ” Followers of Buddhism are called Buddhists. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, karma, Dharma, and enlightenment. Unlike Indian Hinduism, you can move up the caste system without having to wait until your next lifetime through reincarnation. Hindus believe in reincarnation also, but one must work their entire life to a better one’s self then in their next life time they move up the caste system.
Buddhism is mainly about finding inner peace with the world, being the best one can be for their selves and those around them, and obtaining the path to nirvana. Nirvana is true enlightenment. Once reaching nirvana, one is free from the sufferings in life. In the Eightfold Path, Buddha teaches the path one must follow to enlightenment, and in Four Noble Truths, Buddha teaches the basic reality about life and suffering. Buddhism was a philosophy in India. In the 300’s B. C. great Mauryan king, Asoka, became a Buddhist. Asoka was a bloody king until he found his inner peace through Buddhism. Asoka was influenced by his newfound philosophy to improve India by building temples, schools, roads, bridges, art, and living conditions throughout the land. This was because, as a Buddhist, you want to promote healthy and wonderful lives of those around you. Buddhism helped create the wonderful seen art work in India, mathematics, and hospitals during ancient times.