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Buddhism: Founder, Origin, Beliefs and Practices

Last Updated : 01 Dec, 2023
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Buddhism is one of the world’s most popular faiths. Buddhism’s beliefs and practices date back 2,500 years to India. Siddhartha Gautama brought Buddhism to Asia for the first time in the fifth century BCE, and from there, it gradually spread throughout Asia and beyond. Buddhism is centered on several central ideas, such as the idea of karma and the Four Noble Truths. The ultimate aim is to reach nirvana, or enlightenment, which is a permanent break from the cycle of suffering and reincarnation. Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha was the first person to attain enlightenment.

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a way of life that combines spiritual growth and practice to reveal the true essence of reality. Meditation and other Buddhist practices are ways to transform yourself so that you might become wiser, compassionate, and aware of your surroundings. The experience that the Buddhist tradition has accumulated over thousands of years is an unmatched resource for all those who wish to pursue a path leading to Enlightenment. An enlightened person lives totally and organically in accordance with their view of reality, which they see to be absolute clarity. This is the ultimate aim of the Buddhist spiritual path, signifying the cessation of suffering for all who reach it. Buddhism does not believe in the worship of gods or deities like other religions rather, their emphasis is on personal spiritual growth and comprehending the essence of life.

Religious book of Buddhism

In Buddhism, Tripitakas is considered as the Holy Book. Tripitakas means ‘three baskets’. It is divided into three parts: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, and Abidamma Pitaka and the collection of these three are collectively considered as the important Buddhist texts. They were originally written on long, narrow leaves, which were later sewn together at the edges.

Noble Truth of Buddhism

The core of Buddha’s teachings can be found in the Four Noble Truths, although many questions are not answered by them. They are the facts about suffering, the reasons for suffering, the fact that suffering ends, and the facts about the way that ends suffering. Buddhism views suffering as a way of seeing the world truthfully and working toward its betterment, rather than as a cause for negativity. Buddhism does not deny the presence of pleasure, but it does admit that it is temporary. On the other hand, the search for pleasure can never cease. The concept of everlasting happiness is called into question by the inevitability of aging, illness, and death.

Beliefs of Buddhism

These are the beliefs of Buddhism. They provide important background knowledge to understand how Buddhists use morality and mindful meditation to reach enlightenment and find inner peace. These basic teachings focus on balance, personal growth, and the journey toward enlightenment, forming the foundation of the Buddhist way of life.

  • Absence of a Supreme Deity: Buddhism sets itself apart from other religions by not honoring a supreme god or divinity. Rather, its focus is on attaining a deep state of wisdom and inner peace known as nirvana.
  • Path to Enlightenment: The core of Buddhism revolves around the journey to enlightenment, relying on three pillars: morality, meditation, and wisdom. Meditation, in particular, plays a crucial role in awakening deeper truths and fostering mindfulness.
  • Diverse Philosophies: Buddhism is a tapestry of diverse philosophies and interpretations, making it an inclusive and ever-evolving way of life. It’s not merely a religion but a profound spiritual tradition.
  • Balance Between Self and Selflessness: Buddhists emphasize the significance of balance, steering clear of extremes like self-indulgence and self-denial. The middle path promotes equilibrium and harmony.
  • The Four Noble Truths: At the heart of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths, offering insights into life and suffering. They acknowledge the existence of suffering, its cause (attachment and desires), and the path to end suffering through the Eightfold Path, guiding a mindful and virtuous life.
  • Karma and Reincarnation: Central to Buddhist beliefs are the concepts of karma (cause and effect) and reincarnation (continuous rebirth), shaping both their actions and worldview.

Practices of Buddhism

These are the things Buddhists do to meditate and follow moral principles as they move forward on their journey to enlightenment and inner peace. In Buddhism, these practices are crucial for helping people achieve a state of mindfulness that nurtures self-awareness and peace.

  • Personal Worship and Monastic Discipline: Buddhists have the freedom to worship in temples or at home, fostering a personal connection to their faith. On the other hand, Buddhist monks, known as bhikkhus, adhere to a strict code of conduct, including celibacy, in their pursuit of spiritual growth.
  • Symbols of Spiritual Significance: While Buddhism lacks a singular symbol, it features several images of profound meaning, including the lotus flower (purity), the eight-spoked dharma wheel (path to enlightenment), the Bodhi tree (where Buddha attained enlightenment), and the swastika (representing “well-being” or “good fortune” in Sanskrit).
  • Inclusive and Evolving Religion: Buddhism accommodates diverse philosophies and interpretations, making it an inclusive and evolving religion that embraces different perspectives. It is often described not just as a religion but as a “way of life” or a “spiritual tradition” guiding individuals toward inner awakening.

The Founder of Buddism

The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama, also known as “the Buddha.” He lived a long time ago, around 500 B.C., and he was originally from Nepal. Even though he grew up in a rich family, he felt sad about the suffering in the world. So, he chose to leave his wealthy life and live more simply. He believed in the “Middle Way,” which means finding a balanced way of living between two extremes. This way, he wanted to avoid having too much or too little in life.

Buddhists believe that Gautama attained enlightenment while meditating beneath a Bodhi tree, having searched for it for six years. He taught people how to reach this spiritual state for the remainder of his life. Following Gautama’s death in 483 B.C., his disciples started putting together a religious movement. The core of Buddhism was laid forth by the teachings of the Buddha.

What is Nirvana in Buddhism?

In Buddhism, they believe Nirvana is the ultimate goal achieved through certain meditation practices. Nirvana is like blowing out a flame, symbolizing the end of desire, hatred, ignorance, suffering, and the cycle of rebirth. It’s a state where suffering disappears, and life is no longer characterized by misery. Some Buddhists distinguish between Nirvana attained before death (with remaining) and Nirvana at death (without remainder), where causes for future existence are eliminated. Nirvana is often described as a blissful, stable, and unconditioned state. The Buddha is said to have achieved Nirvana at the age of 35, marking the end of the cycle of birth and death.

Dharma in Buddhism

“Dharma” refers to the teachings of the Buddha. He imparted the values of compassion, generosity, kindness, patience, and wisdom.

To be more precise, the five moral precepts that govern Buddhism prohibit:

  1. Killing living things
  2. Taking what is not given
  3. Sexual misconduct
  4. Lying
  5. Using drugs or alcohol


Buddhism’s beliefs and practices provide a way to insight and inner serenity. It teaches us to live a more conscious and peaceful existence by understanding suffering, letting go of attachments, and following the Eightfold Path. Buddhism leads us to a deeper comprehension of both the self and the outside world via compassion, meditation, and a dedication to balance.

FAQs on Buddhism Beliefs and Practices

1. What are the beliefs and practices in Buddhism?

Buddhists hold that enlightenment, or nirvana, can only be attained by good deeds, meditation, hard work—both physically and spiritually—and that human existence is one of suffering.

2. Where is Buddhism most practiced?

North Korea, Nepal, India, China, and South Korea are home to sizable Buddhist communities.

3. Is Buddha a Hindu god?

Since Siddhartha was born into a Hindu household, Buddhism is said to have partially emerged from Hinduism, and some Hindus even see Buddha as the Hindu god in human form.

4. Do Buddhist believe in god?

The majority of Buddhists in every nation polled claim that, in contrast to belief in God, they believe in invisible entities like deities or spirits.

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