Understanding Buddhism

Copyright Raymond Pagnucco

            Buddhism can be traced back to the teachings of one person. Siddhartha Gautama, a man who was born into a life of luxury sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Having originated in India, Buddhist thought shares some similarities with other theological systems from the area; especially a cyclical view of reality and a belief in Karma.

            However, Buddhism has developed and become more complicated as it has spread across the globe and interacted with other systems of thought. Buddhism spread from India into Central, East, and South-East Asia and is composed of multiple branches, or schools, of thought. Theravada Buddhism is the most common form in South-East Asia; Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. While Mahayana Buddhism is most common in East Asia; China, Korea, Japan. Vajrayana Buddhism, which some consider a subset of Mahayana, is the dominant form in Tibet and Mongolia.

            With the following pages we hope you will come to know and understand the basis for Buddhist beliefs, teachings, and practices, and also be able to reference relevant sources of wisdom and authority. Ultimately ending up with a good grasp of common and divergent views within Buddhism in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed.

Beliefs and Teachings

Sources of Wisdom and Authority

Practices and Expressions

The Buddhist Tradition Through History