Buddhism Overview and News
Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices considered by most to be a religionand is based on the teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as "The Buddha" (the Awakened One), who lived in the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent. He likely died around 400 BCE. Buddhists recognize him as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beingsend their suffering by understanding the true nature of phenomena, thereby escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth, that is, achieving Nirvana. Among the methods various schools of Buddhism apply towards this goal are: ethical conduct and altruistic behavior, devotional practices, ceremonies and the invocation of bodhisattvas, renunciation of worldly matters, meditation, physical exercises, study, and the cultivation of wisdom.
Buddhism is broadly recognized as being composed of two major branches:
- Theravada, which has a widespread following in Southeast Asia
- Mahayana (including Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren and Vajrayana), found throughout East Asia. It should be noted that in some methods of classification, Vajrayana is considered a third branch.
While Buddhism remains most popular within these regions of Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world.