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Definition: Buddhism is the religion of the followers of Gautama Buddha (Sakayamuni). It is an offshoot of Hinduism with many variations. Like Hinduism, Buddhism is one of the major religions of the world with probably more than 3.5 million adherents. Common threads of Buddhism include the 3 jewels (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha 'community'), and the goal of nirvana. Following the 8-fold path can lead to enlightenment and nirvana.

After founder Siddharta Gautama renounced his family and station, he set out on a spiritual journey of abstinence and contemplation, after which which he sat down under a banyan tree, where he meditated until he achieved enlightenment or nirvana. He then taught followers what he had learned. This became the doctrine of Buddhism or its dharma, and included the 4 Noble Truths. Gautama Buddha accepted the Hindu view of reincarnation and the cycle of birth and death, with the goal being escape from the cycle. Buddha recommended a monastic life, but he also encouraged his followers to spread the word.


  • "Buddhism" A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press, 2001
  • "Buddhas and Bodhisats," by B. A. de V. Bailey. Parnassus, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Feb., 1940), pp. 26-30+51.
  • "An Introduction to Buddhist Archaeology," by Gina L. Barnes. World Archaeology, Vol. 27, No. 2, Buddhist Archaeology (Oct., 1995), pp. 165-182.

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