information on India - Religions in India
evolved in India. There were periods in India's past when
Buddhism was dominant in India. Today less then 1% of
India's population is Buddhist. Buddhism has more
followers in countries east of India.
Buddhism was established in
about 500 BC. Buddhism began with a prince called
Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha belonged to an
aristocratic family. As a prince he had lot of wealth. He
never left his palace. At some point Siddharta began to
leave his palace and behold for the first time poverty,
sickness and misery. After seeing this Siddharta lost
interest in his spoiled life and left his palace forever
and gave his rich personal belongings to the needy. He
joined a group of ascetics who were searching for
enlightenment. In those days people searching for
enlightenment believed that this could be gained only by
people who were capable of resisting their basic needs.
These people almost did not eat anything and almost
starved themselves to death. Siddharta also adopted this
path of searching enlightenment. But at some point he
came to a conclusion that this was neither the way
towards enlightenment nor the spoiled life he had as a
prince was the right path towards enlightenment.
According to him the right path was somewhere in the
middle and he called it the 'middle path'.
In order to focus on his
enlightenment search, Buddha sat under a fig tree and
after fighting many temptations he got his enlightenment.
In his region 'enlightened' people were called Buddha.
And so Siddharta was named Buddha. According to Buddha's
theory life is a long suffering. The suffering is caused
because of the passions people desire to accomplish. The
more one desires and the less he accomplishes the more he
suffers. People who do not accomplish their desirable
passions in their lives will be born again to this life
circle which is full of suffering and so will distant
themselves from the world of no suffering - Nirvana.
To get Nirvana, one has to
follow the eight-fold path which are to believe right,
desire right, think right, live right, do the right
efforts, think the right thoughts, behave right and to do
the right meditation.
Buddhism emphasis non- violence.
Buddha attacked the Brahmanic custom of animal
slaughtering during religious ceremonies. Religiously the
Buddhists are vegetarians. But a strong narrative in India claims that
Buddha, died because he ate a sick animal. Buddhism
does not have a God, nor is it atheistic. Many Buddhists keep images of
Buddha. Buddha is not seen as the first prophet of the
religion, but as the fourth prophet of the religion.
There are two main doctrines in
Buddhism, Mahayana and Hinayana. Mahayana Buddhist
believe that the right path of a follower will lead to
the redemption of all human beings. The Hinayana believe
that each person is responsible for his own fate. Along
with these doctrines there are other Buddhist beliefs
like 'Zen Buddhism' from Japan and the 'Hindu Tantric
Buddhism' from Tibet. Zen Buddhism is a mixture of
Buddhism as it arrived from India to Japan and original
Japanese beliefs. The Hindu Tantric Buddhism is a mixture
of Indian Buddhism and original Tibetian beliefs which
existed among the Tibetians before the arrival of
Buddhism in Tibet, among it magic, ghosts and tantras (meaningless
Buddhism Plain and Simple