Buddhism Part I

Buddhism 1

Buddhism, which is based on the work of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha (“the enlightened”), in the 6th or 5th century BC. Declining religion in the north of India.

Buddhism is a missionary religion that does without the term “God”.

Worldwide the number of Buddhists is estimated at (2010) around 495 million. This corresponds to a share of around 7.2% of the world population. Buddhism is the fourth largest of the major world religions after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Around 487 million Buddhists live in Asia, around 1.8 million in Europe (including Russia), around 4.5 million in North America and around 0.8 million in Latin America, around 0.6 million in Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) and around 0.3 million in Africa. Regarding the numbers, however, it must be taken into account that belonging to Buddhism does not exclude belonging to other religions at the same time. This is how around 70% of Japanese people feel about both Shintoism as belonging to Buddhism and so a large part of the Chinese Buddhists (outside Tibet) also cultivate the traditions of Daoism or a religiously shaped Confucianism.

Facts Buddhism

Number of Buddhists worldwide *)
approx. 495 million
Main distribution areas
South East Asia
East asia
Central Asia and Eastern Siberia
predominantly Buddhist states and areas
Sri Lanka
Buryatia (Russia)
Kalmykia (Russia)
Tuva (Russia)
Main directions
Hinayana (“small vehicle”)
Mahayana (“large vehicle”)
Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism)
Zen (Japanese Buddhism)
important festivals (selection)
Losar (Tibetan New Year; Tibetan Buddhism, February)
Nirvana Day (remembrance of the Buddha’s entering into Nirvana; Mahayana, February 15)
New Year (Hinayana, April)
Hana Matsuri (“Flower Festival”, memory of the birth of Buddha; Mahayana, April 8th)
Vesakh (highest Buddhist holiday; remembrance of the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha; Hinayana, May)
Saga Dawa (memory of the birth of Buddha; Tibetan Buddhism, May / June)
Rohatsu (memory of Buddha’s enlightenment; Zen, October / November)
Bodhi Day (remembrance of Buddha’s enlightenment; Mahayana, December 8th)
important pilgrimage sites, holy places (selection)
Lumbini, Nepal (Buddha’s birthplace)
Bodh Gaya, India (place of Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree)
Rajgir, India (Buddha’s place of activity and, according to Buddhist tradition, the place of the first Buddhist council after Buddha’s death)
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka (oldest historically documented offshoot of the Bodhi tree)
Kandy, Sri Lanka (Buddha’s tooth relic)
the mountains of Kailas and Emei Shan in China
*) As of 2010.

According to electronicsmatter.com, Buddhism spread from the Indian suburbs both within India and through missions to other Asian countries, from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to Tibet and from Afghanistan to Japan. The central focus of the teaching and preaching of the Buddha and the resulting subsequently Buddhist traditions is his as part of the ” enlightenment ” gained insight into the “dependent arising” of all existence and associated with this disease, which in the eternal cycle of rebirth (see below) and that has to be overcome. Buddhism is historically in the context of the numerous reform movements in the Indian religious landscape in the 5th century (including the Jaina) who, by turning to ascetic exercises and forms of personal religiosity, sought a change in the old Brahmanism, which was shaped by ritual and sacrifice. So Buddha rejected the caste system and with it the power of the Brahmins and the authority of the Veda. In spite of this demarcation position, a basic religious tolerance remained a characteristic of Buddhism, which neither combated Brahmanism as a religion nor the forms of belief that it encountered in the course of its missionary work.

Spread and forms

In the present day Buddhism exists in various forms. The Hinayana (“small vehicle”) or Therevada school, the oldest and second largest Buddhist school, is called southern Buddhism. The distribution area of ​​the »School of the Elder« is mainly in South (East) Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia. The Mahayana -Buddhismus is the largest school buddistische direction (“Grüßes vehicle”) and is common in Nepal, Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan. The Vajrayana -Buddhismus even Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism), is the Tibetan form of Mahayana Buddhism and spread to Tibet, northeast India (Sikkim), Bhutan, Russia (Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva) and Mongolia. Buddhism reached Oceania (Hawaii) and North and South America via East Asian emigrants. There have been Buddhist communities in Europe since the beginning of the 20th century (mostly small in number).

In the area of ​​its historical origin, i.e. H. On the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism has been displaced in the course of its history except for very small Buddhist minorities. In the 20th century, however, there was a renewed interest in Buddhism – initially limited to small circles of Indian intellectuals. Since the mid-1950s, v. a. In a critical examination of the Hindu social order based on caste, a neo-Buddhist movement was formed, whose membership in India today is estimated at around 5.8 million and thus around 73% of Indian Buddhists. In Indonesia, interest in Buddhism, encouraged by immigrants from China, Sri Lanka and Thailand, has been revived since the early 1970s. Buddhism 1