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Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one"). Buddha who was born as a prince in Kapilvastu, in modern day Nepal, lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by adherents as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering, achieve nirvana, and escape what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth. Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada—the oldest surviving branch—has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications Vajrayana, a subcategory of Mahayana, is recognized as a third branch. While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Various sources put the number of Buddhists in the world at between 230 million and 500 million, making it the world's fourth-largest religion.

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The main entrance to the temple proper
Angkor Wat is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center—first Hindu, then Buddhist—since its foundation. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and is the country's prime attraction for visitors. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temples. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 km (2.2 miles) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the center of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unusually, Angkor Wat faces the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. As well as for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, the temple is admired for its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

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Ascetic Gautama with his five companions, who later comprised the first Sangha. Wall painting in a Laotian temple
Credit: Wallpainting in a laotian temple, taken by Sacca

Ascetic Gautama with his five companions, who later comprised the first Sangha. Wall painting in a Laotian temple

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Thích Quảng Đức (born Lâm Văn Tức in 1897 – died June 11, 1963) was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on June 11, 1963. Thích Quảng Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration. Photos of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm regime. Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his iconic photo of the monk's death, as did David Halberstam for his written account. After his death, his body was re-cremated, but his heart remained intact. This was interpreted as a symbol of compassion and led Buddhists to revere him as a bodhisattva, heightening the impact of his death on the public psyche. Thích Quảng Đức's act increased international pressure on Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the Buddhists. However, the promised reforms were implemented either slowly or not at all, leading to a deterioration in the dispute. With protests continuing, the Special Forces loyal to Diệm's brother, Ngô Đình Nhu, launched nationwide raids on Buddhist pagodas, seizing the holy heart and causing deaths and widespread damage. Several Buddhist monks followed Thích Quảng Đức's example and burned themselves to death. Eventually, an Army coup toppled and killed Diệm in November. The self-immolation is widely seen as the turning point of the Vietnamese Buddhist crisis which led to the change in regime.

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Wikipedia:WikiProject Religion

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Wikipedia:WikiProject Buddhism

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WikiProject Tibetan Buddhism

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All know the Way, but few actually walk it.


Buddhism (book)

Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism: TimelineBuddhist councils

Buddhism topics

Major Figures: Gautama BuddhaDisciplesLater Buddhists

Dharma or Concepts: Four Noble TruthsNoble Eightfold PathThree marks of existenceDependent OriginationSaṃsāraNirvanaSkandhaCosmologyKarmaRebirth

Practices and Attainment: BuddhahoodBodhisattva4 Stages of EnlightenmentWisdomMeditationPreceptsPāramitāsThree JewelsMonasticsLaity

Countries and Regions

Schools: TheravādaMahāyānaVajrayāna

Texts: Pali CanonTibetan CanonChinese CanonSanskrit texts

Related topics: CriticismComparative StudiesCultural elements



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