Buddha Dharma, known by many as Buddhism, is also referred to as "the teachings of the awakened one." It revolves around the teachings of Gautama Buddha or Pali Gotama Buddha, an India native from approximate fifth century, before (the) Common (or Christian) Era, and is also referred to as a religion, psychological discipline and a passage of life.
History has it that Buddha was born a prince in Nepal, formerly Lumbini, to a wealthy family. Indulging in a life of luxury, he grew discontent at 29 years of age, and found that life's pleasures were temporary and would never bring about lasting joy because of sickness, aging and death that must meet everyone regardless of circumstance.
So Buddha left his family palace life, even his wife and child. He became a wanderer seeking peace for nearly five years until he was enlightened while meditating under a tree at Bodh Gaya. His enlightenment brought about ideas which he eventually decided to teach to others, including about:- the nature of existence.
- a path leading to release from inherent suffering. - our re-birth many times, depending upon our deeds and actions, both resulting in good and bad. - the idea of a permanent self or soul being illusion.
Buddha did not say he was God, and founded the religion without God; some say Buddha Dharma is, "A religion without a God." After about forty-five years, having supposedly finding an end to suffering, Buddha died (88 years old). His departing instructions to followers were, "Strive on with diligence."
After the death of Gautama Buddha, Buddha Dharma spread across the country and continued across the entire continent covering the major areas; Southeast, Central and East Asia. It is now a modern day religion among 350 + million people, possibly even over 700 million, by some statistics, and ranks fifth among religions worldwide, following Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and traditional Chinese, in that order. Among organized religions worldwide, Buddha Dharma ranks fourth; their Sangha (monk order) ranks the oldest. Buddha Dharma continues to grow and in the modern day world consists of three traditions: Mahāyāna, Sanskrit: Sthaviravāda or Theravāda and Vajrayāna Buddhism.
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