Buddhism was founded by Lord Buddha around 6th century BCE. It began in India but is now practiced by many countries including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China, and Japan. The Buddha is said to be born as Siddhartha Gautama into the royal family of a small kingdom Lumbini on the Indo-Nepalese border. Despite having a privileged upbringing, he was jolted out of his sheltered life after realizing the harsh realities of life i.e. old age, sickness, and death. These things prompted him to think about the meaning of life and one night he left his palace and all the comforts behind to seek answers to his questions.
He attained the “enlightenment" after several days of meditation under a Bodhi Tree in Magadh (currently Bihar) and became Buddha, which means ‘the awakened one’ or ‘the enlightened one’. After becoming the Buddha, he realized that all people had the ability to unfold their potential and some needed just a little help to do so. Hence he decided to help people grow towards enlightenment through his teachings.
The first sermon given by Buddha is known as Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which means ‘Turning the Wheel of Dhamma’. The eight spokes of the wheel represent- Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Buddha gave the first teachings to five ascetics who became his first disciples.
What does Buddhism teach?
Buddhism teachings see life as a process of constant change which means that one can change for the better. It emphasizes how to live a happy and peaceful life. It is not learning about strange beliefs from faraway lands but teaches us to look at our own lives and think about them. It shows us how to understand ourselves and cope with our daily problems in a righteous manner. Buddhism has developed many methods to control ones’ mind and one of the most important and effective ways to do so is meditation. It is a way of developing more positive states of mind that are characterized by calm, concentration, awareness, and emotions.