A 360 Welcome! to this basic Buddhism Religion facts page of professor Nancy Ash, DD, PhD, New Earth Theological University's Dean, School of Interspiritual Studies. Tashi Delegs! (Tibetan for auspicious best wishes.) About this author
Your online Interspiritual University is known by its students and faculty as "NETU"
This page is general educational content to assist students in their studies.
At-a-glance, here's what is helpful to know about Buddhism:
1) To be like The Buddha means "to wake up" or to become awakened. Buddha is a Sanskrit word.
2) The religion (one of the oldest in the world) is about 2,500 years old founded by The Buddha in the fifth century BC.
3) Buddhism began in northeastern India.
4) Siddhartha Gautama, a noble prince born in the country Nepal in (563) BC became known as the awakened or enlightened one, aka The Buddha (Gautama Buddha). He died in India at the age of 80 (483 BC).
5) Buddhism is nontheistic.
6) With about 350 million followers (depending on the source of statistics surveys) it is the world's fourth largest religion.
7) Buddhism is a major religious tradition in many Asian countries. In Thailand more than 90% of the population follow this religion. The predominant religion in Vietnam is also Buddhism.
8) The Buddha became enlightened sitting in meditation under a bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India.
9) Key Buddhism religion facts are The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path (foundation for living a meaningful life). The four nobles are: 1) existence IS suffering 2) the cause or origin of suffering is desire and attachment 3) suffering ends 4) there is a path to end suffering known as the eight steps. The eight are to be "right" in these ways: concentration, view, speech, resolve, action, livelihood, effort and mindfulness.
10) Buddhism is a tradition of profound spiritual development with meditation at its core of practice.
11) Buddhists believe in reincarnation and karma.
12) Buddhism, though considered a religion, is a rich spiritual tradition that embraces other religions. Buddhists may also be practicing Jews, Christians, Hindus, Atheists, etc.
13) Buddhism has become one of the largest religions in the USA, after Christianity, Judaism, etc. It's one of the fastest growing in the United States as well.
14) His Holiness The Dalai Lama is the most famous Buddhist. His is a Tibetan Buddhist.
15) The focus of Buddhist practice is to reach enlightenment.
16) Buddhism encourages personal responsibility.
17) According to Buddhism all of life is interconnected, which is known in new thought as "oneness."
18) Buddhism is considered by many to be a major school of philosophy as well as a religion.
19) Compassion for all sentient (conscious) beings is very important to Buddhists.
20) The Buddha of our time was part of the Indian Shakya Clan, and is known as Buddha Shakyamuni.
21) The Sanskrit word nirvana refers to achieving an ultimate state of consciousness or bliss.
22) The dharma is the teaching of Buddha. It is the path. Sometimes it's known as "The Buddha Dharma."
23) In Buddhism it's important to understand the Three Jewels: The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sangha. The sangha is a sanskrit word for community.
24) Buddhists strive to overcome their suffering.
25) Prayer, meditation and contemplation practices are central to Buddhist teachings.
26) Buddhism teaches a loving and peaceful way of life.
27) Sacred text of Buddhism is the Pali Canon Tripitaka (actual words of The Buddha). Tripitaka is translated as "three baskets."
28) The original language of Buddhism is Pali of the Theravada school.
29) There are two major schools of Buddhism, Mahayana and Hinayana. A third, the Vajrayana, is the indestructible diamond vehicle, which is known as more esoteric.
and, here's an interesting fact:
30) 1% of the general public in the USA is Buddhist.