The Four Noble Truths

Buddhism is one of the major religions of the world. The religion was founded by Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) in Northeastern India around 630 BCE. It arose as a monastic movement during a time of Brahman tradition. Buddhism rejected important views of Hinduism. It did not recognize the validity of the Vedic Scriptures, nor the sacrificial cult, which arose from it. It also questioned the authority of the priesthood. The Buddhist movement is open to people of all castes; it denies that a person?s worth can be judged by their blood (Anderson). The religion of Buddhism has 150 to 350 million followers around the world (Encarta 1). The wide range is due to two reasons. The tendency for religious affiliation to be nonexclusive is one. The other is the difficulty in getting information from Communist countries such as China. Its followers have divided into two main branches: Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada, the way of the elders, is dominant in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. Mahayana, the greater vehicle, refers to the Theravada as Hinayana, the lesser vehicle. It is dominant in India, Tibet, Japan, Nepal,

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