A History and Analysis of Buddhism

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Buddhism, a human centered religion over 2,500 years old has more than 300 million followers throughout the world. Originally a religion of Asia, Buddhism is steadily growing in Australia, Europe and North America. Buddhism's uniqueness is its focus o the human person rather than on divine beings and gods. Today Buddhism continues to grow in Australia.

Ethical thinking within a Buddhist tradition involves the interplay of a vast array of factors including, for example, the ideas of its founder (s), the culture in which it's practiced the changing needs of society and significant figures in the later development of the tradition. To this end a Buddhist tradition both impacts on and is a product of wider culture. (World Religions Rogers, k 2001:37)

Siddhartha Gautama was one of those remarkable people. History tells us that he was born the son of a king in Northern India about 2,500 years ago. His early life was one of luxury and privilege.

He lived in fantastic palaces, enjoying the best food, clothing and entertainments. The good life however, was not enough for Gautama; he wanted to know what the rest of the world was like. So he began to off in his chariot to visit the village near his palace. What he found there was like nothing he had ever known. He saw people, sick people, and even dead bodies being carried off to be cremated. These discoveries horrified Gautama that he could enjoy palace life no longer. He longed to find out whether there was a way of ending suffering.

After many years of prayer, fasting and meditation, he sat under a tree known as the Bodhi Tree (knowledge tree).He closed his eyes and began to meditate. When he opened his eyes, he knew he had at last seen the truth and found...