Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices that is deemed as a religion. It is based on the teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama who was commonly known as "The Buddha" , the Awakened One. He lived in the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent and were recognized by his followers as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help end their suffering. He understood the true nature of phenomena of escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth, that is, achievment of Nirvana. Buddhism applies following goal to attain salvation that are: ethical conduct and altruistic behaviour, 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 of Theravada, (widespread in Southeast Asia ) and Mahayana (found throughout East Asia).
It is estimated that the number of Buddhists in the world are between 230 million and 500 million. Traditional followers takes refuge in The Three Jewels of the Buddha, the Dharma (the Teaching of the Buddha), and the Sangha (the Community of Buddhists).
Life of Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in the city of Lumbini around the year 485 BCE and was raised in Kapilavastu.
Shortly thereafter, a wise man visited his father, King Śuddhodana. The wise man said that Siddhartha would either become a great king or a holy man based on whether he saw life outside of the palace walls. Determined to make Siddhartha a king, Śuddhodana shielded his son from the unpleasant realities of daily life. Years after this, Gautama married Yasodhara, with whom he had a son, Rahula, who later became a Buddhist monk.
At the age of 29, Siddhartha ventured outside the palace complex several times, against his father's wishes. Soon he discovered the suffering of his people through encounters with an old man, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These sights eventually prompted Gautama to abandon royal life and take up a spiritual quest to free himself from suffering by living the life of with a respectable spiritual practice. He looked and found companions for himself with similar spiritual goals and teachers who taught him various forms of meditation.
One day, after almost starving to death, Gautama accepted a little milk and rice from a village girl named Sujata. After this experience, he concluded that ascetic practices such as fasting, holding one's breath, and exposure to pain brought little spiritual benefit. He viewed them as unfruitful due to their reliance on self-hatred and mortification. Thus he abandoned asceticism and instead concentrated on meditation through breathing. This way led to his discovery of what Buddhists call the Middle Way, a path of moderation between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.
After discovering the Middle Way, he sat under a sacred fig tree, also known as the Bodhi tree, in the town of Bodh Gaya, India, and vowed not to rise before achieving Nirvana. At age 35, after many days of meditation, he attained his goal of becoming a Buddha. After his spiritual awakening he attracted a band of followers and instituted a monastic order. He spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma, travelling throughout the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent. He died at the age of 80 (405 BC) in Kushinagar, India, due to food poisoning.