- the Western name for what is generally known in Asia as the Buddha-asana, the RELIGION or discipleship of the BUDDHA. Buddhism appears to have originated in north-east India in the sixth century B.C. and according to TRADITION was the result of the religious experience of GAUTAMA a young prince and son of a ruler of the akya tribe. His home was in the foothills of the Himalayas but his awaking or ENLIGHTENMENT occurred at a place now known as Bodh-Gay, on the banks of one of the southern tributaries of the Ganges. The doctrine which he began to preach is known as the DHAMMA (Dharma) and consists of an analysis of the human situation, existence, and personality to provide a means whereby the suffering and mortality of mankind may be transcended and a new state of BEING achieved. The Buddha's personality and preaching attracted disciples, who were subsequently organized into communities known as the SAGHA. The doctrine was independent of belief in a CREATOR GOD, priestly rites or functions. It was regarded by contemporary HINDU priests (BRAHMAN) as HERETICAL. In many discourses (Sutta) the Buddha is represented as engaging in controversy with BRAHMANS. The new community of the Sagha was an egalitarian society in which CASTE differences were disregarded.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.
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