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Standing Buddha statue at the Tokyo National Museum. One of the earliest known representations of the Buddha, 1st–2nd century CE.

Buddhism {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} is a nontheistic religionUnknown extension tag "ref"{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} or philosophy (Sanskrit: dharma; Pali: धम्म dhamma) that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.Unknown extension tag "ref" He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving. Buddhists believe that this is accomplished through the direct understanding and perception of dependent origination and the Four Noble Truths.

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian siddhas, may be viewed as a third branch or merely a part of Mahayana. Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai) is found throughout East Asia. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth century India,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> is practiced in regions surrounding the Himalayas, Mongolia<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> and Kalmykia.<ref>"Candles in the Dark: A New Spirit for a Plural World" by Barbara Sundberg Baudot, p305</ref> Buddhists number between an estimated 488 million<ref group="web" name="auto">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and 535 million,{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} making it one of the world's major religions.

In Theravada Buddhism, the ultimate goal is the attainment of the sublime state of Nirvana, achieved by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way), thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} Mahayana Buddhism instead aspires to Buddhahood via the bodhisattva path, a state wherein one remains in this cycle to help other beings reach awakening. Tibetan Buddhism aspires to Buddhahood or rainbow body.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} One consistent belief held by all Buddhist schools is the lack of a creator deity. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.


Buddhism sections
Intro  Life of the Buddha  Buddhist concepts  Practice  History  Demographics  Schools and traditions  Buddhist texts  Comparative studies  Criticism  See also  Notes  References  Sources  External links  

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Standing Buddha statue at the Tokyo National Museum. One of the earliest known representations of the Buddha, 1st–2nd century CE.

Buddhism {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} is a nontheistic religionUnknown extension tag "ref"{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} or philosophy (Sanskrit: dharma; Pali: धम्म dhamma) that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.Unknown extension tag "ref" He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving. Buddhists believe that this is accomplished through the direct understanding and perception of dependent origination and the Four Noble Truths.

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian siddhas, may be viewed as a third branch or merely a part of Mahayana. Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai) is found throughout East Asia. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth century India,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> is practiced in regions surrounding the Himalayas, Mongolia<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> and Kalmykia.<ref>"Candles in the Dark: A New Spirit for a Plural World" by Barbara Sundberg Baudot, p305</ref> Buddhists number between an estimated 488 million<ref group="web" name="auto">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and 535 million,{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} making it one of the world's major religions.

In Theravada Buddhism, the ultimate goal is the attainment of the sublime state of Nirvana, achieved by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way), thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} Mahayana Buddhism instead aspires to Buddhahood via the bodhisattva path, a state wherein one remains in this cycle to help other beings reach awakening. Tibetan Buddhism aspires to Buddhahood or rainbow body.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} One consistent belief held by all Buddhist schools is the lack of a creator deity. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.


Buddhism sections
Intro  Life of the Buddha  Buddhist concepts  Practice  History  Demographics  Schools and traditions  Buddhist texts  Comparative studies  Criticism  See also  Notes  References  Sources  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Life of the Buddha
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