57 Facts About Buddhism


Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices that are largely based on the Buddha's teachings and their resulting interpreted philosophies.

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Buddhism is an Indian religion or philosophy founded on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, a Sramana called Shakyamuni, or "the Buddha" ("the Awakened One"), who lived c 5th to 4th century BCE.

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Buddhism thus set out on a quest to find liberation from suffering.

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Buddhism famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree β€” now called the Bodhi Tree β€” in the town of Bodh Gaya and attained "Awakening".

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Buddhism spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, and then died, achieving "final nirvana", at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India.

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Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which is dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful.

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In Buddhism, dukkha is one of the three marks of existence, along with impermanence and anatta.

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Samsara in Buddhism is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya, and the resulting karma.

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Buddhism developed a complex cosmology to explain the various realms or planes of rebirth.

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In East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, rebirth is not instantaneous, and there is an intermediate state between one life and the next.

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Buddhism asserts that there is nothing independent, except the state of nirvana.

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In Buddhism, dependent arising refers to conditions created by a plurality of causes that necessarily co-originate a phenomenon within and across lifetimes, such as karma in one life creating conditions that lead to rebirth in one of the realms of existence for another lifetime.

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Buddhism applies the theory of dependent arising to explain origination of endless cycles of dukkha and rebirth, through Twelve Nidanas or "twelve links".

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In early Buddhism, it was commonly stated that all five aggregates are void, hollow (tucchaka), coreless (asaraka), for example as in the Phenapindupama Sutta (SN 22:95).

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Mahayana Buddhism meanwhile, has a vastly expanded cosmology, with various Buddhas and other holy beings residing in different realms.

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Mahayana Buddhism holds that these other Buddhas in other realms can be contacted and are able to benefit beings in this world.

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All forms of Buddhism generally reveres these aryas who are spiritually attained beings.

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Mahayana Buddhism generally sees the attainment of the arhat as an inferior one, since it is seen as being done only for the sake of individual liberation.

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Theravada Buddhism is a diverse tradition and thus includes different explanations of the path to awakening.

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Mahayana Buddhism is based principally upon the path of a Bodhisattva.

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East Asian Buddhism in influenced by both the classic Indian Buddhist presentations of the path such as the eighth-fold path as well as classic Indian Mahayana presentations such as that found in the Da zhidu lun.

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Monastic life in Buddhism has additional precepts as part of patimokkha, and unlike lay people, transgressions by monks do invite sanctions.

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In Tibetan Buddhism, there are practices and methods which are sometimes seen as being outside of the two tantric stages, mainly Mahamudra and Dzogchen.

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The many different schools of Mahayana Buddhism have a large repertoire of meditation techniques to cultivate these qualities.

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Insight in Mahayana Buddhism includes gaining a direct understanding of certain Mahayana philosophical views, such as the emptiness view and the consciousness-only view.

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Buddhism thus condemned the animal sacrifice of the Brahmins as well hunting, and killing animals for food.

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The modern study of early Buddhism often relies on comparative scholarship using these various early Buddhist sources to identify parallel texts and common doctrinal content.

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Buddhism was one among several Indian religions that did so.

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One method to obtain information on the oldest core of Buddhism is to compare the oldest extant versions of the Theravadin Pali Canon and other texts.

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Richard Salomon, in his study of the Gandharan texts, has confirmed that their teachings are "consistent with non-Mahayana Buddhism, which survives today in the Theravada school of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, but which in ancient times was represented by eighteen separate schools.

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Likewise, there is scholarly disagreement on whether insight was seen as liberating in early Buddhism or whether it was a later addition to the practice of the four jhanas.

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Kushan support helped Buddhism to expand into a world religion through their trade routes.

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Buddhism spread to Khotan, the Tarim Basin, and China, eventually to other parts of the far east.

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Origins of Mahayana Buddhism are not well understood and there are various competing theories about how and where this movement arose.

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However, during the fifth and sixth centuries CE, there seems to have been a rapid growth of Mahayana Buddhism, which is shown by a large increase in epigraphic and manuscript evidence in this period.

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Buddhism argues that Buddhist texts even directly copied various Shaiva tantras, especially the Bhairava Vidyapitha tantras.

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Already during this later era, Buddhism was losing state support in other regions of India, including the lands of the Karkotas, the Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas, the Pandyas and the Pallavas.

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From China, Buddhism was introduced into its neighbours Korea, Japan (6th–7th centuries), and Vietnam (c.

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Pure Land Buddhism became popular during this period and was often practised together with Chan.

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Theravada Buddhism was the dominant religion in Burma during the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom.

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Theravada tradition bases itself on the Pali Canon, considers itself to be the more orthodox form of Buddhism and tends to be more conservative in doctrine and monastic discipline.

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Mahayana refers to all forms of Buddhism which consider the Mahayana Sutras as authoritative scriptures and accurate rendering of Buddha's words.

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These traditions have been the more liberal form of Buddhism allowing different and new interpretations that emerged over time.

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The Buddhism practised in Tibet, the Himalayan regions, and Mongolia is a form of Mahayana, but is different in many ways due to its adoption of tantric practices and is discussed below under the heading of "Vajrayana".

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Tantric Buddhism is largely concerned with ritual and meditative practices.

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Buddhism has faced various challenges and changes during the colonisation of Buddhist states by Christian countries and its persecution under modern states.

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East Asian Buddhism meanwhile suffered under various wars which ravaged China during the modern era, such as the Taiping rebellion and World War II.

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Japanese Buddhism went through a period of modernisation during the Meiji period.

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Influential figures on post-war Western Buddhism include Shunryu Suzuki, Jack Kerouac, Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the 14th Dalai Lama.

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Buddhism has spread across the world, and Buddhist texts are increasingly translated into local languages.

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These new forms of Buddhism are diverse and significantly depart from traditional beliefs and practices.

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Ambedkar's Buddhism rejects the foundational doctrines and historic practices of traditional Theravada and Mahayana traditions, such as monk lifestyle after renunciation, karma, rebirth, samsara, meditation, nirvana, Four Noble Truths and others.

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Ambedkar's Navayana Buddhism considers these as superstitions and re-interprets the original Buddha as someone who taught about class struggle and social equality.

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Buddhism has had a profound influence on various cultures, especially in Asia.

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However, Buddhism requires acceptance of Buddha as the greatest being in the cosmos, and local shamanic traditions were bestowed an inferior status.

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Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Tibet, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Buddhism has spread to the Nordic countries; for example, the Burmese Buddhists founded in the city of Kuopio in North Savonia the first Buddhist monastery of Finland, named the Buddha Dhamma Ramsi monastery.

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