Buddhism is one of the world's oldest and most influential religions, and it is often considered to be the second largest religion in the world. Buddhism began in India in the 6th century BCE and has since spread throughout the world. It is estimated that there are roughly 400 million Buddhists worldwide, making it the fourth largest religion in the world.
The core teachings of Buddhism are based on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are: suffering exists, suffering has a cause, suffering can be ended, and there is a path to ending suffering. The Eightfold Path is a set of eight practices that help one to end suffering and achieve enlightenment. These practices include right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Buddhism has five main branches: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Zen, and Pure Land. Theravada is the oldest and most conservative branch, and is practiced mainly in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Mahayana is the largest branch and is practiced mainly in East Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan. Vajrayana is a more esoteric branch and is practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia. Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism and is practiced mainly in Japan. Pure Land is a devotional school of Mahayana Buddhism and is practiced mainly in China and Japan.
Buddhism is an atheistic religion and does not include a belief in a creator God. Instead, Buddhists focus on achieving enlightenment through following the teachings of the Buddha and the Four Noble Truths. Buddhists believe in rebirth and karma, the belief that one's actions in this life will determine one's circumstances in the next life.
Buddhism is a religion that emphasizes compassion and non-violence. Buddhists practice meditation and mindfulness, and strive for peace and harmony. Buddhism has had a profound influence on many aspects of Asian culture, including art, music, literature, and architecture.
Although it is often thought of as the second largest religion in the world, Buddhism is in fact the fourth largest. It is estimated that there are roughly 400 million Buddhists worldwide, making it the fourth largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.