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Facts About Buddhism

Facts About Buddhism

Buddhism is an important world religion that started in India. People who are part of the religion are called Buddhists. 

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Is Buddhism one of the major world religions? 

Buddhism is one of the world’s major religions. The five largest world religions by order of number of followers are: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Folk religions. Over 500 million people are Buddhists. This is about 7% of the world's population.

Where did Buddhism originate?

Buddhism started in India around 2,500 years ago. It has since spread across Asia and around the world.

Buddhism originated in India
Buddhism originated in India

What are the main beliefs of Buddhism? 

Buddhists do not believe in a god that created everything. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, or rebirth. Reincarnation is the belief that when someone dies, they are reborn again as something else. They believe that the human life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth, but it is possible to escape this cycle forever by reaching a state of enlightenment, or nirvana. Buddhists try to live their lives in a way that reduces suffering. 

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Who was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gautama became known as the Buddha. He was the first person to reach the state of enlightenment.  

According to legend, Siddhartha Gautama was a prince, born in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) in the fifth century BCE. From the day he was born, he lived inside a beautiful palace and never had to worry about anything. He grew curious about life outside the palace and went to see what it was like. He saw sick, old and dying people for the first time in his life. He decided it was wrong to live in luxury when so many people were suffering, so he he gave up his wealth and his name. He changed his name to Gautama Buddha and spent time as a beggar, meditating and travelling. Eventually, through deep meditation he achieved enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree. After this he decided to spend the rest of his life teaching what he had learned. ‘Buddha’ means ‘the awakened one’.


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Buddhists do not worship the Buddha as a god. They respect him as a role model and teacher.

A painted image of the Buddha at Preah Promreath Pagoda temple, Cambodia
A painted image of the Buddha at Preah Promreath Pagoda temple, Cambodia

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Where are some Buddhist pilgrimage sites?

There are four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. They were named by Gautama Buddha as places worthy of pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a significant or sacred place. A person going on a pilgrimage is called a pilgrim. 

The Mahabodhi Temple in India
The Mahabodhi Temple in India

The Mahabodhi Temple in India. The temple is believed to house the Bodhi tree where the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The tree is also known as the tree of awakening. 

>Lumbini in Nepal
Lumbini in Nepal

Lumbini in Nepal. This is the birthplace of Siddhartha.

Sarnath in India
Sarnath in India

Sarnath in India. Sarnath is the place Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon.

Kuśinagara in India
Kuśinagara in India

Kuśinagara or Kushinagar in India. Kuśinagara is where Gautama Buddha died and attained Parinirvana. Parinirvana is nirvana after death. 

What is the name of the Buddhist holy book? 

The Buddhist holy book is called the Tripitaka. The word Tripitaka means ‘Triple Basket’. The book contains three volumes called: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutra Piṭaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka. The three volumes contain the teachings of Buddha, this is called Dharma. The Vinaya Piṭaka is the monastic code. It focuses on the rules and regulations, or the morals and ethics, of monastic life. The Sutras Piṭaka are the beliefs and teachings in a story format. The Abhidhamma Pitaka is a detailed analysis and summary of the Buddha's teachings.

What is the Buddhist place of worship called? 

In Buddhism, there is no single place of worship because Buddhists can worship in the home or in the temple. The buildings Buddhists worship in include: the vihara, chaitya, stupa, wat and pagoda. These temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. Any place where an image of the Buddha is used in worship is known as a shrine. Many Buddhists also have shrines at home. 

Buddhist monks leaving an Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Buddhist monks leaving an Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

What are the features of a Buddhist temple?

Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. 

Golden Buddha statues
Golden Buddha statues

All Buddhist temples contain a Buddha statue or a picture. Buddha statues are called Buddharupas.

Buddhist monks praying in Luang Prabang, Laos
Buddhist monks praying in Luang Prabang, Laos

Buddhist temples contain a lectern. This is a place the head monk can talk to the worshippers from.

Buddhist novice monks in wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai
Buddhist novice monks in wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai

Buddhist temples contain an area for silent meditation. This area might be a room, a hall or a courtyard.  

Do Buddhists meditate?

Many Buddhists meditate. Meditation helps Buddhists to develop an understanding of themselves and develop a calm mind. Meditation is one of the most important parts of Buddhism. 

A Buddhist monk meditating
A Buddhist monk meditating

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What does a Buddhist monk do?

Buddhist monks and nuns are responsible for sharing the Buddha's teaching and guiding Buddhists. Monks wear robes that are generally either yellow, orange or red. 

Two novice Buddhist monks
Two novice Buddhist monks

What festivals do Buddhists celebrate?

There are two main festivals that Buddhist celebrate. They are Wesak and Parinirvana Day. Wesak is celebrated in May. It is the festival celebrating the birth of the Buddha. Parinirvana Day marks Buddha’s death and when the Buddha achieved final enlightenment.

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What is the Buddhist creation story? 

There isn’t a Buddhist creation story. Buddhists do not believe that a God created the world. 

What is the symbol of Buddhism?

The symbol of Buddhism is called ‘The Wheel of Life’, the Dharmachakra or the Dharma Wheel. The wheel represents the teachings of the Buddha. The three swirls in the center of the wheel represent the three jewels of Buddhism. The three jewels are the Buddha (or the teacher), the Dharma (the teachings of Buddha), and the sangha (the community). It is in the shape of a wheel to represent the completeness of the Dharma. 

The Dharmachakra, Dharma Wheel, or Wheel of Life symbol in Buddhism
The Dharmachakra, Dharma Wheel, or Wheel of Life symbol in Buddhism

What is the Lotus symbol in Buddhism? 

In Buddhism, the lotus is linked with purity, spiritual awakening, and faithfulness. The flower is considered pure because even though it grows in murky waters, the flower is white. Lotus flowers also symbolise purity of speech, of the body, and of the mind.

Lotus flower
A Lotus flower

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snowberry - September 5, 2023

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Mia - June 9, 2023

This was super cool for me to read

Brooke - March 29, 2023

Very interesting I enjoyed reading it!

jaidalin - February 15, 2023

the site was good teaches us a lot

karisma - February 15, 2023

its super cool

Axel - February 8, 2023

I love this site

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