Buddhism is major global religion with a complex history and system of beliefs. About 300 million people around the world practice Buddhism. The word comes from “budhi” which means, “to awaken”. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.
Siddhartha Gautama: The Buddha
Lived from 566 to 480 B.C.
The son of an Indian warrior-king.
After encountering an old man, an ill man, a corpse and an ascetic, Gautama was convinced that suffering lay at the end of all existence. He renounced his princely title and became a monk, depriving himself of worldly possessions in the hope of comprehending the truth of the world around him. The culmination of his search came while meditating beneath a tree, where he finally understood how to be free from suffering, and ultimately, to achieve salvation. Following this epiphany, Gautama was known as the Buddha, meaning the "Enlightened One." The Buddha spent the remainder of his life journeying about India, teaching others what he had come to understand.
The Four Noble Truths
They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. The notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it. The Four Noble Truths are a contingency plan for dealing with the suffering humanity faces -- suffering of a physical kind, or of a mental nature.
Karma refers to good or bad actions a person takes during her lifetime. Good actions, which involve either the absence of bad actions, or actual positive acts, such as generosity, righteousness, and meditation, bring about happiness in the long run. Bad actions, such as lying, stealing or killing, bring about unhappiness in the...