Siddhartha Background Research

1.     Where and when did Buddhism originate?

Siddhartha Gautama founded Buddhism in India around 500 BCE.

2.     What is the Eightfold Path?

The Eightfold Path is one of the main teachings of Buddhism.  It is comprised of eight aspects to end all suffering by freeing oneself from attachments and desires. The ultimate goal of the Eightfold Path is to achieve Nirvana.

3.     What are the Four Noble Truths?

The Four Noble Truths is another main teaching of Buddhism. They are the truths about suffering, its causes, and how to overcome it. Along with the Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths help one achieve Nirvana.

The Four Noble Truths are:

1. Life is suffering.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

4.     What is Karma?

Karma is, in essence, the concept of reaping what you sow. It was originally a Hindu concept but was adopted by Siddhartha Gautama into Buddhism. In Buddhism, karma is transferred to the next life, as one’s current actions affect how their next life will be. 

5.     What is Nirvana/Samsara and how can it be obtained?

Nirvana is the ultimate state of enlightenment and is a state at which one is free from suffering. It is a state in which the karmic and rebirth cycle are finally broken. Samsara is the cycle of birth, life, death and then rebirth. In Buddhism, it is believed that every human goes through Samsara multiple times until Nirvana is reached.

6.     What are the religious texts of Buddhism?

The main Buddhist texts are called the Buddhavacana, or Word of Buddha. In order to be considered a Buddhavacana, the texts have to meet certain requirements. Some other highly important Buddhist texts include the Mahayan Sutras, Tripitaka, and the Vajrayana Tantras.

7.     Where is Buddhism primarily practiced today? Explain.

Although Buddhism originated in India, it is not commonly practiced there today. Today, Buddhism is primarily practiced in many of the other countries in Asia. There are three different types of Buddhism: Mahayan (practiced in East Asia), Theravada (practiced in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia) and Vajrayan (practiced in Tibet, Mongolia, and some parts of China and Russia).