Buddhism

Posted: 20.09.2011
Updated on: 16.01.2012

Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म

Bauddha Dharma

is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one"). The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end ignorance (avidyā) of dependent origination, thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.

Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana "The Great Vehicle". Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tiantai (Tendai) and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications Vajrayana - a form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and Mongolia - is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a subcatagory of Mahayana.

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