and Buddha Basics
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based
on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who lived between
approximately 563 and 483 BCE. Originating in India, Buddhism gradually
spread throughout Asia to Central Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast
Asia, as well as the East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Korea,
teaches followers to perform good and wholesome actions,
to avoid bad and harmful actions, and to purify and train
the mind. The aim of these practices is to awaken the practitioner
to the realization of true reality and the achievement
morality is underpinned by the principles of harmlessness
and moderation. Mental training focuses on moral discipline
(sila), meditative concentration (samadhi), and wisdom
Buddhism does not deny the existence of supernatural beings
(indeed, many are discussed in Buddhist scripture), it
does not ascribe power for creation, salvation or judgement
to them. Like humans, they are regarded as having the power
to affect worldly events, and so some Buddhist schools
associate with them via ritual.
is a Buddha?
Buddha is a word in ancient Indian languages including Pali and Sanskrit
which means "one who has been awakened". It is derived from
the verbal root "budh", meaning "to awaken" or "to
be enlightened", and "to comprehend".
The word "Buddha" denotes
not just a single religious teacher who lived in a particular
epoch, but a type of person, of which there have been many
millions, billions, and infinite ones throughout the course
of cosmic time. (As an analogy, the term "American
President" refers not just to one person, but to everyone
who has ever held the office of American presidency.) The
Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, then, is simply one member in
the spiritual lineage of Buddhas, which stretches back
into the dim recesses of the past and forward into the
distant horizons of the future.
who is referred to by Buddhists as Shakyamuni Buddha, did
not claim any divine status for himself, nor did he assert
that he was inspired by a god or gods. A Buddha is anyone
who has fully awakened to the true nature of existence
and who is liberated from the cycle of birth, dead, and
rebirth. Anyone can free themselves from suffering as Gautama
did, regardless of age, sex, or caste.
by which a person can be led to enlightenment are known
as the Buddhadharma, or simply the Dharma, meaning (in
this context) "law, doctrine, or truth".
article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
to Buddhism Reference Section
to Religion Main Reference Category