Buddhism is an ancient religion that originated in India between 563 B.C. and 483 B.C. It came to be when a sheltered, isolated prince named Siddharta Gautama decided to see what the outside world was like. He had been sheltered to be a good king because that was the belief of ancient people; however, he left his palace at age 29 and was humbled by what he saw. For the first time, Siddharta Gautama saw human suffering, and he vowed not to return to the palace until he had figured out how to end it. He put himself through various tests that stripped him of basic human necessities to learn more about the world and travelled until he came across a tree. He meditated in front of this tree for 49 days, during which he learned the cause of human suffering: humans. This realization and the understanding of how to rid the world of this suffering made him a Buddha, which can be translated as "the enlightened one" or "the awakened one."
Buddhism has had a big impact on the course of the world. Its idea of karma has shaken the way people view decisions they must make, the enticing offer of nirvana has made followers more mellow and understanding, and the idea of endless rebirth has made those who would do others harm decide against it. In ancient times, and even today, followers of Buddhism have followed Buddha's wishes and have rejected marriage, live lives of poverty, and practice nonviolence.
Some notable Buddhists include Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth, and Tiger Woods. One Buddhist changed the way humans interact with technology by creating devices such as the iPhone and iPad; his name was Steve Jobs. Buddhism is a religion of knowledge and peace, and those who follow it are promised a wonderful chance to join Buddha in his perfect world with no harm.
- An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices
- Gender and Religion, 2nd Edition