Buddhism, with about 365 million followers makes up 6% of the world's population and is the fourth largest religion in the world (exceeded by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism). Buddhism was founded in Northern India in the sixth century BCE by the first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama when he attained enlightenment. Buddhism is made up three main forms. They are Theravada Buddhism found mainly in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos, Mahayana Buddhism which is largely found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia and Vajrayana Buddhism. Some other that can be included are Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism.
There are four principle beliefs in Buddhism.
The Four Nobel Truths
The Eightfold Path
The three Jewels
The Three Marks Of existence.
The Four Noble Truths
The “Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism are:
•Life means suffering.
•The origin of suffering is attachment.
•The cessation of suffering is attainable.
•The path to the cessation of suffering.
The first of the Four Noble Truths is life means suffering. The basis of this is that to live is to suffer, because the human race is not perfect and neither is the world. On this earth, everyone inevitably suffers pain, sickness, injury, old age, and eventually death as well as psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment and depression. Life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because the world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to permanently keep what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too there for all things are suffering and as all things are life, life is suffering. The second Noble Truth is that the origin of suffering is attachment. The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things. Transient things not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and all objects of our perception. The reasons for our suffering are desire, passion, pursuit of wealth and prestige and striving for fame and popularity, so basically attachment to transient things and because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, therefore is followed by suffering. The third Noble Truth is the cessation of suffering is attainable. The cessation of suffering can be attained through the unmaking of craving and attachment. The third noble truth presents the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion and extinguishing all forms of clinging and attachment. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a many leveled process that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana being freedom from all worries and troubles and it is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it. The final Noble Truth is the path to the cessation of suffering. The path to the end of suffering is a gradual path of self-improvement. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism) and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to the conditions of Karma. The objects of suffering such as craving, ignorance and delusions will eventually disappear as progress is made on the path.
The Noble Eightfold Path
The 8 aspects of the Eight Fold Path are the right view, right intentions, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration with each of these falling into three categories, wisdom, ethical conduct and mental development. The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by the Buddha. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the aim of freedom from attachments and delusions. Together with the Four Noble Truths it...