Buddhists follow the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who is known as the Buddha, meaning the enlightened one. Buddhism originated in northern India and is the fourth largest religion of the world. However, Buddhism is more a philosophy or way of life other than a religion because unlike so many other religious traditions, Buddhism is founded on the teaching of a human being and not a god. Philosophy means love of wisdom and the Buddhist’s believe in leading a moral life, being mindful and aware of thoughts and actions and developing wisdom and understanding.
Siddhartha Gautama was a warrior prince who founded Buddhism and lived from 566 to 483 BC . He was born in Lumbini, in the Himalayas and lived in Northern India. Siddhartha Gautama was a prince of a wealthy, royal family, he was aware of his luxurious life as a prince and was tired of it. He wanted to discover the truth about life and spent many years in meditation, sitting underneath a Bodhi tree in order to discover a way to end suffering for everyone and to release himself from the material values of life. After many years under the Bodhi tree he came to an epiphany and become the “Buddha”. The night he became enlightened was divided into four periods in which he learnt something new each time. Firstly, he gained understanding of all the past, and of what had led him to the point of seeking enlightenment. He then understood the way in which all living things came into this world and pass away. After this, he understood how all the negative feelings and cravings that make people cling to life, bring more suffering and that he had overcome these cravings. Then, at dawn he gained full enlightenment and experienced the peace of Nirvana, which is the point where the three poisons, greed, hatred and ignorance disappear and a sense of happiness and calm is achieved. After he was enlightenment at 35 years old, he travelled around India teaching the wise knowledge he had achieved. Siddhartha Gautama spent most of his life teaching in the cities of the Ganges plain and was the first person of his time to discover the true cause of suffering in the world and show people real compassion. Buddha is a title, which means “the one who is enlightened” or “one who has woken up to the truth”. What makes a person a Buddha is that a Buddha discovers and teaches the path to enlightenment. According to Buddhist tradition, there have been and will be other Buddha’s. Siddhartha Gautama inspired people by what he did and what he taught, so that they followed him and tried to put his teachings into practice.
Beliefs and Values of Buddhism
Buddhists believe that everyone has the potential to become enlightened and that, by practising their religion, they will develop wisdom and happiness.
Four Noble Truths
In Siddhartha Gautama’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Varanasi, the holiest city of ancient India, he spoke about the Four Noble truths and the Eightfold Path. The four noble truths are the most basic expression of the Buddha's teaching. In the Four Noble Truths Buddha sets out the problem of life, the cause of that problem, that the problem can be overcome and the way to achieve it. The First Truth is that all life involves suffering. The first truth is Dukkha, which is the pali word for suffering.  Dukkha is deeper than physical pain, it refers to the suffering that occurs on a number of levels. There is the suffering that comes with feeling sick, old age, death and injuries, which are inevitable as we are fragile human beings.  Then there is the frustration and the feeling of being discontent with life, that our life is not what we want or expect it to be and nothing is ever good enough. The second truth is that the origin of suffering is craving and attachment. The Buddha discovered that the direct causes of suffering are desire, craving, and ignorance and this is the cause of suffering. The...