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Section A How it originated Siddhartha Gautama, the son of a great warrior, started Buddhism around 500 BC. He was reared with many great luxuries. He grew up and married early in his life, having a son called Rahula (meaning Bond). At the age of 29 he left his home and went walking through the town. There he encountered an aged man, a sick man and a corpse. From these experiences he realised that suffering is everywhere in human life. He then left his family, wealth and power to follow the ways of a monk. Then, at the age of 35, he was sitting under a bo tree. He meditated through the night, gaining knowledge of his past lives and finally grasped the Four Noble Truths. At this point he had received the Great Enlightenment. From here until his death, he travelled along the River Ganges and taught the dharma (law) to all he met.

Buddha died at the age of 80 from eating contaminated food.

What/Who it Worships Buddhists can worship no god or as many as they wish, as long as their worshipping brings them closer to their own nirvana. People are counted as Buddhists if they 'take refuge' in the Buddha, the dhama (the law) and the sangha (the community). These refuges are known as triatna, or the Three Jewels of Buddhism. They are precious to followers and before special occasions they will say three times: "I go to the Buddha for refuge, I go to the dharma for refuge, I go to the sangha for refuge." Symbols One of the symbols from Buddhism is the Wheel of Life, or Wheel of Law. It represents the natural life according to Buddhism. In the middle, the pictures are of the 3 sins: passion, hatred and stupidity. Around the...