During the last decades, Buddhism has also gained a significant presence outside Asia. With the number of adherents estimated to be almost 400 million people, Buddhism in our day has expanded worldwide, and it is no longer culturally specific. For many centuries, this tradition has been a powerful force in Asia, which has touched nearly every aspect of the eastern world: arts, morals, lore, mythology, social institutions, etc. Today, Buddhism influences these same areas outside of Asia, as well.
Origin & Early Development
The origin of Buddhism points to one man, Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, who was born in north India during the 5th century BCE. Rather than the founder of a new religion, Siddhartha Gautama was the founder and leader of a sect of wanderer ascetics (Sramanas), one of many sects that existed at that time all over India. This sect came to be known as Sangha to distinguish it from other similar communities.
The Sramanas movement, which originated in the culture of world renunciation that emerged in India from about the 7th century BCE, was the common origin of many religious and philosophical traditions in India, including the Charvaka school, Buddhism, and its sister religion, Jainism. The Sramanas were renunciants who rejected the Vedic teachings, which was the traditional religious order in India, and renounced conventional society.
Siddhartha Gautama lived during a time of profound social changes in India. The authority of the Vedic religion was being challenged by a number of new religious and philosophical views. This religion had been developed by a nomadic society roughly a millennium before Siddhartha’s time, and it gradually gained hegemony over most of north India, especially in the Gangetic plain. But things were different in the 5th BCE, as society was no longer nomadic: agrarian settlements had replaced the old nomad caravans and evolved into villages, then into towns and finally into cities. Under the new urban context, a considerable sector of Indian society was no longer satisfied with the old Vedic faith. Siddhartha Gautama was one of the many critics of the religious establishment.
In some religions, sin is the origin of human suffering. In Buddhism there is no sin; the root cause of human suffering is avidyā “ignorance”.
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What's being said on facebook.com/southchinamorningpost — South China Morning Post
Michael Tkaczevski - Wasn't the whole point of escaping the communists' violence and oppression to preserve Tibetan Buddhism's history and teachings? Isn't letting the Dalai Lama end with the 14th effectively killing a part of the tradition? Glenys Day ..
Who are some important people in Buddhism history?
the dalai lama Tenzin Gyatso and prince guatama himself