Most historians agree to the fact that Buddhism has originated in the 5th century BCE in the Northern India.

 Most historians agree to the fact that Buddhism has originated in the 5th century BCE in the Northern India. Its founder was Siddhartha or ‘Gautam Buddha’, whom we also refer to as Lord Buddha. The word Buddha literally means the awakened or the enlightened one or the one who has attained true ‘Gyana’. Prince Siddhartha observed that there was only pain and suffering in this world and he set out to find its resolution. He attained a state of enlightenment which was the result of continuous meditation for years. He meditated for years and pondered upon the fact that what was the ultimate truth and what could end the sufferings in this world. He also pondered over what was the cause of all the suffering in this world. He attained true Gyan under the Bodhi tree at Gaya in northern India which marked an end from the worldly attachments. According to his teachings, attachment is the source of all evils and every pain.

Buddhism as a religious or spiritual tradition focuses upon the personal spiritual development of the individual. It is said that there are around 376 million followers worldwide of Buddhism and Lord Buddha. Buddha went on his quest for enlightenment around 6th century BC. Buddhists also seek to reach Nirvana following the path of Lord Buddha and as prescribed by his teachings. Buddhists believe that nothing is permanent in this life and that even life itself is not permanent therefore one should instead of wasting his time behind worldly attachments should try to attain true Gyan and instead of getting caught in the cycle of life and death should try to attain Nirvana or liberation of the soul.

People are caught in the cycle of life and death and the only way to be liberated from it is through meditation and self-analysis. Life and existence are endless. They are endless in the sense that living beings die and reincarnate or are born again. Thus again and again a cycle of life and death follows. But life, according to Lord Buddha’s teachings is also impermanent and it is so because no state in life whether good or bad lasts forever. Lord Buddha was born around 2500 years ago in Nepal to a royal family. His name was Siddhartha and he led a life of luxury and privilege until one day he came against an old man, a sick man and a corpse. These scenes changed his view of life. He was stunned to see pain, death and sorrow and started thinking if there could be a way out of it.

He was so disturbed by these scenes that he abandoned the royal life, full of privileges and adopted a monk’s lifestyle. He shunned all the luxuries and became an ascetic who followed the path of asceticism. After attaining enlightenment he was known as Lord Buddha. Today, in its history of 2500 years Buddhism has undergone multiple modifications and there are multiple different sects or schools of Buddhism. The two main and most followed sect6s are the Theravada and the Mahayana. Theravada has its followers in many countries of the world which include Srilanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma. Mahayana Buddhism has a very high number of followers in countries including Taiwan, Japan, Tibet, China, Korea and Mangolia.

After attaining enlightenment the first sermon which Lord Buddha delivered is based on the four noble truths. These four noble truths also form the essence of his teachings. He came to understand them while meditating under the Bodhi tree. These four noble truths include:

The truth of suffering

The truth of the origin of all the sufferings

The truth of the cessation of the worldly sufferings

The truth of the path to the cessation of pain, misery and suffering.

Today Buddhism has developed into many different forms and along with there are also diverse customs and traditions being followed by the different sects. There main customs include veneration of Lord Buddha and meditating on his qualities and teachings. The Buddhist monks the Mantra of ‘Buddham Sharnam Gachhami’ which in Sanskrit means I willingly devote myself to the path of Gyan under the aegis of Lord Buddha.

Lord Buddha like many other great religious preachers also preached love, sympathy, brotherhood and non-violence. His teachings mainly emanate from the idea of kindness and sympathy to all human beings. Toady Buddhism has spread to nearly every part of the world from India which is its place of origin. It has taken various forms and everywhere it has also adopted the local customs and traditions.

It is said that Buddha taught to people for around 45 years extensively, but yet, by the time of his death, His words had never been recorded. His preachings were transmitted orally and the earliest Buddhist texts that are available describe a gathering of 500 Buddhist followers after his death to record and standardize his teachings. The earliest texts also serve as religious recitations. Recitation of these texts is considered an essential practice among the Buddhist monks. These texts are divided into three collections also known as Tripitaka. These collections contain Lord Buddha’s understanding of his path of enlightenment.

Karma is one of the fundamental Buddhist principles. Until one is enlightened and liberated from the cycles of life and death his actions will determine his rebirths in future. Apart from the four noble truths Buddha also prescribed the eightfold path. This eightfold path is also regarded as the guideline for correct behavior and the correct pattern of life. Today, Buddhism has spread to nearly every part of the world with millions of followers around the globe.


Buddhism at a glance (n.d.). In BBC Religion. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from HYPERLINK “”

Hardy, J. (n.d.). Principles of Moral Thought and Action. In Religion Library: Buddhism. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from HYPERLINK “”

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