Introduction to Buddhism

Buddhism is a way of life that was developed over 2,500 years ago in India. Since then, it has spread throughout Asia and into other parts of the world as well. Buddhism as it is practiced today has three major streams. Theravada (Teaching of the Elders) is said to be the oldest stream of Buddhism and can be found in southern Asian countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand. Mahayana (Great Vehicle) is the Buddhism of northern Asian countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. The third stream is Vajrayana (Thunderbolt Vehicle), the Buddhism of Tibet.

Buddhism developed out of a wish held by the Buddha to overcome the suffering he experienced in life. It was not his intention to establish a new religion. He did not establish churches. He did not build altars nor organize rituals. What he taught was based upon what he learned from others, but more importantly, from the experiences in his own life.


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