Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest teachings and currently one of the fastest growing religions, with nearly 400 million practitioners.This beautiful philosophy started sometime between the 4th and 6th centuries BCE by its main founder Siddhartha Gautama (the original “Buddha”). Siddhartha was an incredibly enlightened man who aimed to help humanity eradicate suffering and reach enlightenment (or nirvana). The word Buddhism derives from Buddha which means “awakened one.”
There are two major schools of Buddhism which are Theravada (The School of the Elders) and Mahayana (The Great Vehicle). The first of the two, Theravada, is said to be the oldest and is found mainly in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana originated throughout East Asia, however both schools of Buddhism are now practiced worldwide.
Buddhism, like many religions, encompasses a vast amount of traditions, practices, ceremonies and study material. The general philosophy of Buddhism states that all humans are born equal and have the same potential to attain enlightenment. Contrary to what some believe, enlightenment is not a state that the mind finally achieves — it is not a “destination.”
Revealing one’s enlightenment can happen on a moment-to-moment basis through practicing meditation and self-reflection.
The depth of origin and concepts within Buddhism are extensive and incredibly interesting to learn. We all have the potential be a Buddha!