Buddhism is one of the largest religions with China having the most population of over 244 Million or 18.2% of its population. Below are some facts on Buddhism.
- The term ‘Buddhism’ was coined by Western scholars in the 1830s. Buddhists don’t actually refer to their religion as “Buddhism”.
- Buddhism originated from around 400BC with the historical individual known as the Buddha.
- The first mention of the Buddha in Western writing is in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, 2 AD.
- The Buddha founded an order of monks and nuns known as the Sangha who have preserved his teachings down to the present day.
- Buddhism is an extensive and internally diverse tradition with two main branches. With 360 million followers, Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world.
- In Buddhism, there is no single holy book. Extensive scriptures have been preserved in many Asian languages.
- Because of its emphasis on meditation and mindfulness, Buddhism is often considered to be a form of psychology rather than a religion.
- Many traditional Buddhists believe in reincarnation and rebirth.
- Modern Buddhists believe this idea can be jettisoned without losing any central value. –
- Buddhists go to temple, not at a special time or day, but when they can.
- It is common for Buddhists to go on a full moon day.
- A Buddhist temple is called Vihara and is a place for education. In a temple, you will find a shrine room with a large Buddha and statues of his disciples. You will also find relics and manuscripts. There is also a lecture room, meditation room and a library.
- Shoes are removed before entering a temple for respect for Buddha.
- Buddha is known as a teacher not a god.
- Candles and incense sticks are lit and Buddhists recite verses in the Vihara.
- Flowers and food are placed on the front of the Buddhist Statue. The flowers are to remind the person that they will not live forever.
- The food is given to the Monks since they own nothing of their own and Buddhists feel that giving food will help them reach Nirvana
- The following principles are said to help Buddhists to act well:
- Not to hurt living things,
- Do not take advantage of what is not there.
- Use senses correctly.
- Speak kindly.
- Do not take or use drugs or alcohol.
- The word 'Buddha' is a title, which means 'one who is awake', in the sense of having ‘woken up to reality'.
- In Buddhism, Karma is the force that drives the cycle of suffering and rebirth for each being.
- Some Buddhist monks in Japan used to practice self-mummification by adhering to a special diet, then sealing themselves alive into burial chambers.
- The Swastika is recognized as a symbol of auspiciousness in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
- Buddhist monks are not allowed to kill any animal, for any reason, even pests and vermin.
- Buddhism sees humans as part of nature, not as separate from it.