Information about the Buddhism Religion
Religion or philosophy inspired by the 5th century B.C. teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (also known as Gautama Buddha
"the enlightened one"). Buddhism focuses on the goal of spiritual enlightenment centered on an understanding of Gautama
Buddha's Four Noble Truths on the nature of suffering, and on the Eightfold Path of spiritual and moral practice, to break
the cycle of suffering of which we are a part. Buddhism ascribes to a karmic system of rebirth. Several schools and sects
of Buddhism exist, differing often on the nature of the Buddha, the extent to which enlightenment can be achieved - for
one or for all, and by whom - religious orders or laity.
Theravada Buddhism: The oldest Buddhist school, Theravada is practiced mostly in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and Thailand,
with minority representation elsewhere in Asia and the West. Theravadans follow the Pali Canon of Buddha's teachings,
and believe that one may escape the cycle of rebirth, worldly attachment, and suffering for oneself; this
process may take one or several lifetimes.
Mahayana Buddhism, including subsets Zen and Tibetan (Lamaistic) Buddhism: Forms of Mahayana Buddhism are common in
East Asia and Tibet, and parts of the West. Mahayanas have additional scriptures beyond the Pali Canon and believe
the Buddha is eternal and still teaching. Unlike Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana schools maintain the Buddha-nature is
present in all beings and all will ultimately achieve enlightenment.
Hoa Hao: a minority tradition of Buddhism practiced in Vietnam that stresses lay participation, primarily by
peasant farmers; it eschews expensive ceremonies and temples and relocates the primary practices into the home.
World Religions: Learn about the religions of the world!
What does the Buddism symbol mean? What does the Buddism symbol stand for?