Buddhism is no longer a practice left for the people of the eastern world. That is to say, millions of people all over the globe are now interested in the practice of Buddhism.
Many of these people have found something fascinating about Buddhism. As a result, they developed an interest in the practice.
Here are 45 interesting facts about Buddhism that will satisfy your curiosity.
1. The Founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama
Many would say “The Buddha” is the founder of Buddhism. Certainly, they are not wrong. To clarify, “The Buddha” means “The Awakened One”. Therefore, it is the title of honor given to the founder of Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama after his awakening.
2. The Buddha Was Born A Prince
The Buddha was born into royalty as a prince. That is to say, his father (Suddhodhana) was then the chief of the Shakya clan, India. And, his mother (Queen Maha Maya) was the princess of Koli.
3. The Core Buddhists Do Not Refer to The Practice as Buddhism
The Westerners coined the term “Buddhism” around the 1930s. However, the Buddhists in Asia would rather refer to the practice as “The Buddha-Sasana” which means “The Teachings of Buddha” or “The Dharma” which means “The Law”.
4. The Four Sights of Siddhartha Gautama
The founder of Buddhism saw four things that triggered his quest for enlightenment. On his first trip outside the palace, he saw an old man. However, during his second trip, he saw a corpse. And on the third trip, he saw a sick man and fourth, he saw an ascetic. These made him feel a strong desire to keep aside the palace life and seek out a way to end suffering.
5. The Buddha Is Not a God
Buddhists do not refer or see the Buddha as a God. But, they see him as a teacher who summed up his findings to lead the way to awaken.
6. Buddhists Are About 10 Percent Of the World’s Population
Buddhism is a fast-rising practice. After Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, Buddhism is the practice with the next largest population. However, with the rate of population increase, Buddhism might soon become the second largest practice.
7. Buddhism Does Not Teach “A Supreme God”
To practice Buddhism, you are not required to believe in one supreme god. That is to say, Buddhism is not about supernatural beings but more of human relationships.
8. The Buddha Was Born a Hindu
The Buddha came from a Hindu family. However, it did not make Buddhism less a different practice from Hinduism. That is to say, where Buddhism is non-theistic, Hinduism is theistic.
9. There Are More Than One Buddha
In Buddhism, a Buddha is anyone who can successfully attain enlightenment. As a result, some Buddhist monks who have awakened are seen as Buddha.
10. The Buddha Is Not Worshipped
Buddhists do not worship the Buddha. However, they revere him for his great teachings. Moreover, they see him as a human and not a god.
11. You Are Responsible For Yourself
The Buddha teaches that you are in charge of your path to enlightenment. That is to say, whatever you do or not do is only on you. Certainly, there is no savior to save you from your sins or reduce the consequences of your wrong actions.
12. The Lotus is a Symbol of Enlightenment
The lotus is a very significant plant in Buddhism. In other words, it is a representation of the journey towards awakening. Similarly, this is seen by the way it grows through the mud to the light just like the Buddha.
13. There are Several Schools of Buddhism
In modern society, Buddhism has several schools that teach different beliefs. But, there are 2 popular schools, The Mahayana Buddhism and The Theravada Buddhism. Others include the Vajrayana Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, Esoteric Buddhism, Nichiren Shoshu, and others. While their activities differ, they have the same fundamental belief.
14. Buddhists Do not Believe in Salvation or Suffering After Death
The teachings of Buddhism is based on giving the present life a meaningful purpose. As a result, they focus more on the present rather than the past or future.
15. Buddhism Teaches 3 Basic Principles
The basic teachings of Buddhism are The Four Noble Truth, The Eightfold Path, and The Five Buddhist Precepts.
16. The Buddha Spent 49 Days Under The Bo Tree
The demons tempted the Buddha during these days. However, after the temptation, he discovered the Four Noble Truth and the Eightfold Path (the Middle Way).
17. Buddhists Believe in Karma
The law of Karma says that to every action one takes, there is a consequence. It is a principle of cause and effect. Moreover, Karma is the base of moral living in the teachings of Buddha.
18. The Four Noble Truth is The Truth About Suffering
The Four Noble Truth includes:
- Suffering exists in life
- The cause of suffering is desire and hatred
- There is an end to suffering while ultimate happiness achieved
- The Eightfold Path leads to the end of suffering
19. To Achieve True Happiness You Must Follow The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path involves moderation in:
This means that you should not do anything excessively.
20. The Five Buddhist Precept is The Principle of Moral living
Upholding these principles is the basic practice of Buddhism. They Include:
- Avoid killing any living creature
- Say the truth always
- Avoid taking intoxicants
- Do not take others possessions
- Avoid sexual misconduct
21. Buddhism Would Be Even Without The Buddha
The Buddha taught the practice of Buddhism. However, the Buddha did not create this practice. Moreover, the practice extends across Buddhists.
22. Buddhism Does Not Interfere With One’s Perception
Practicing Buddhism does not mean you should believe everything the Buddha taught. Therefore, you have the right to seek out the truth in your own way. While you practice the path to alleviate suffering.
23. There Is No Holy Book In Buddhism
There are widespread scriptures of the Buddha’s teachings preserved in various Asian languages. But, there is no single book recognized as the traditional holy book of Buddhists.
24. The Place Where The Buddha Attained Awakening Is The “Bodh Gaya”
Bodh Gaya is a place in the Indian state of Bihar. Moreover, the Buddha attained enlightenment under a bodhi tree at this site. In addition, a Temple complex is built in the site and used as a pilgrimage center.
25. The Gandharan Buddhist Text Is The Oldest Surviving Buddhism Manuscript
Dated about the 1st century CE, the Gandharan Buddhist Text remains the oldest manuscript of the Buddhists. In addition, it is written in Gandhari and represents the Gandharan Buddhism.
26. Buddhacharita Is A Poetic Biography Of Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha)
The Buddhacharita is considered the oldest biography of the Buddha. This poetic narrative was written by Asvaghosa around the early 2nd century CE.
27. The Buddha Died In Kushinagar In 483 BC
Kushinagar is a place in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is where the Buddha attained parinirvana after he died at the age of 80 in 483 BC.
28. Siddhartha Gautama Started His Ascetic Life In Rajagaha
When Buddha left his luxury to seek enlightenment, he started by begging for alms in the streets of Rajagaha. Certainly, this is a city in the Indian State of Bihar.
29. The Buddha Taught His First Disciples In Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath.
After awakening, the Buddha the started sharing his findings. His first teaching was The Four Noble Truth and he started in Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath. Moreover, this place is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
30. The First Disciples of Buddha Were Only Five In Number
These five disciples of the Buddha were his friends who help him during his self-mortification. In addition, these were the first people he taught the path after his awakening.
31. The Golden Buddha Statue Weighs 5.5 Tons
The Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is a 9-foot tall statue of Buddha weighing 5.5 tons (5,500 kilograms). On the other hand, this statue is standing in the temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok, Thailand.
32. The Laughing Buddha Is Not The Founder Of Buddhism
The common laughing Buddha statues seen mostly in Chinese restaurants are not Siddhartha Gautama. However, the Statue represents Budai. He is a Chinese folk hero of the 10th century.
33. The Spring Temple Buddha Is The World’s Tallest Buddha Statue
With a height of 420 ft (128 meters), the Spring Temple Buddha statue remains the tallest Buddha statue in the world. This statue was completed in 2008. It is located in China (Lushan, Henan). In addition, it was the tallest statue in the world until the completion of the Statue of Peace in India.
34. The Buddha Was Not Chubby As The Statue Portrays
The chubby appearance of the statues of Buddha symbolizes happiness. In the same vein, chubby is a symbol of happiness in the eastern world. Therefore, the statues only show that the Buddha is a happy man. So, does not mean that the Buddha is chubby.
35. The Thanboddhay Pagoda Has The Highest Number Of Buddha Depictions
From the statues to the images of Buddha on each pillar, the Thanboddhay Pagoda has over 500,000 Buddha depictions. Further, the Pagoda is located in Myanmar.
36. Arthur Schopenhauer Became The First Westerner To Pick Interest In Buddhism
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He was best known for his work “The World as Will and Representation”. Moreover, the basic themes of this work can be compared favorably with the Buddha’s Four Noble Truth.
37. Buddhism Has No Central Office
There is no overall leader in Buddhism. Also, there is no central headquarter that gives instruction to others. That is to say, each Buddhist Temple is independent and stems from a particular school of Buddhism. As a result, Buddhism is prone to fissures.
38. The Elongated Earlobes Of The Buddha Depictions Represents Wisdom And Compassion
It is common to see other bodhisattvas who have attained enlightenment portrayed as having long ears. That is to say, the elongated earlobes signify wisdom. Moreover, the Buddha hears the cry of the world due to suffering and responds by seeking out solutions. Also, this is a reason for the long earlobes, to show the compassionate nature of the Buddha.
39. The Depictions Of Buddha Has 32 Major Characteristics Of A Great Man
There are 32 significant features of the Buddha statues that portrays the Buddha as a great man. Few examples include finely webbed hands and feet, level feet, body with a golden hue, forty teeth, jaw like a lion, and many others.
40. The Flame-like Headdress Of The Buddha Represents The Light Of Predominant Knowledge
The Ushnisha is an oval protuberance on the top of Buddha’s head. It significantly shows the Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment. On the same note, it implies the Supreme knowledge of the Buddha.
41. A Single Tooth Of The Buddha Still Remains
In the Temple of Tooth located in Kandy, Sri Lanka still exists a relic of the Buddha. The Sri Lankan legend has it that this left canine tooth of the Buddha was retrieved after his cremation. In addition, the relic symbolizes the living Buddha. Consequently, it attracts reverence, ceremonies, and rituals.
42. Taking Refuge In The Triple Gem Involves a Ceremony To Officially Become A Buddhist
The Triple Gem includes the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Moreover, when you decide to take refuge, there would be a ceremony where you vow to uphold the Five Precepts. After that, you will become an official Buddhist.
43. Nirvana Is The Ultimate Goal Of Buddhism
Nirvana is the spiritual bliss. In addition, it is a state where there is no more suffering. One can achieve this through the Eightfold Path which is to be moderate in everything.
44. Some Buddhist Monks Practice Self-mummification
This practice is known as a sokushinbutsu. Most importantly, it involves the practice of asceticism till the point of death. In addition, the Buddhist monks who practiced this mummified themselves alive. That is to say, they ate the bark of trees, resin, berries, pine needles, and some herbs that would help preserve their bodies. Some hundreds of Buddhist monks are believed to have tried this practice. However, only 24 sokushinbutsu have been discovered.
45. The Buddha’s Last Advice To His Disciples Was “Strive Hard To Achieve Your Own Salvation”
Before his death, the Buddha left a final piece of advice for his followers. In short, he told them that all things in the world change. That nothing lasts. Therefore, they should strive hard to achieve their own salvation. Likewise, the Buddha made it clear here that everyone is responsible for their salvation.
These are interesting facts about the practice of Buddhism and the life of the Buddha. In addition, I believe they will improve your knowledge of the practice of Buddhism.