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Posted on May 5th, 2014, by

Buddhism is the oldest of the three world religions because Christianity is younger than Buddhism in five centuries, while Islam is younger as much as twelve centuries. The most part of the followers of Buddhism live in the South, Southeast and East Asia: Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China (as well as the Chinese population in Singapore and Malaysia), Mongolia, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, etc., but even in Russia, we can find Buddhists. Of course, it is difficult to calculate the total number of Buddhists in the world because this kind of census is not carried out anywhere, and such census is also contrary to the ethical and legal standards of many countries. However, we can very roughly say that there are about 400 million laypeople that practice Buddhism all over the globe, while there are also something about 1 million monks and nuns among them. Thus, basing on these data, it is possible to say that Buddhism is very popular among the planet’s population, and it will be an interesting study to any researcher to explore this religion with all the necessary details. In such a way, it seems to me that exploring of various literature sources on the topic and visitation of real religious site will give me a good opportunity to learn something new and interesting about a chosen religion. Thereby, the main goals of this paper are not only to explore Buddhism from different positions, using the method of interview for these aims, but also I am going to compare and contrast Buddhism with Islam in the body of this paper.

Making introduction to Buddhism, it is possible to note that the Buddha had a unique opportunity to teach his followers more than two and a half thousand years ago because the Buddha, who is considered to be “The Enlightened One”¯, lived during the heyday of the northern India civilization and was surrounded by very gifted students. According to Lopez (2008), exactly this fact gave the Buddha an opportunity to teach his followers for forty four years, and to show them all existing ways to full disclosure of the mind, as it was manifested in the variety of his appeals to the followers. Estimating the heritage of the Buddha’s sacred texts, Wallace (2003) stated that there was created Kangyur (a collection of the Buddha’s own words), which was written after his death and consisted something about 108 volumes containing 84,000 of helpful teachings. The later comments of the Buddha’s students also created another 254 volumes, each with a minimum thickness of two centimeters, and these commentaries were called Tengyur.

In addition, Wallace (2003) stated that the Buddha on all the questions why and what he teaches answered in the similar way, and his words may be interpreted as the following: “I teach because you and all the creatures have an aim to be happy, and I want to avoid the pain. I teach what all things mean and show their deep sense to people”¯. In such a way, the last Buddha’s words before leaving the body (that he can die happily because he did not leave any teachings in a closed hand, and that people have already received everything good from their great master) should be understood in a big variety of the wealth of methods presented in the Buddha’s teachings. And although later these teachings became the basis of a number of schools, these schools have in common one thing which can be explained that every school is aimed at comprehensive development of a person (through a sensible use of body, speech and mind) on the own level of understanding of the life and teachings of the Buddha.

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