A Buddhist is a person who follows the Dhamma-Vinaya (conduct and discipline) preached by the Mahabodhi, Siddhartha Gautama. A Buddhist believes the Four Noble Truths (Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni), which are:
1. DUKKHA - Life is full of suffering
2. SAMUDHAYA - Suffering is caused by unrequited desire
3. NIRODHA - To eliminate suffering one must eliminate desire
4. MAGGA - The cessation of suffering is achieved by following Ariya-Atthangika-Magga, the Noble Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path consists of the following eight categories of proper conduct, divided into three broad areas:
* Right Understanding--samma ditthi
* Right Thought--samma sankappa
* Right Speech--samma vaca
* Right Action--samma kammanta
* Right Livelihood--samma ajiva
* Right Effort--samma vayama
* Right Mindfulness--samma sati
* Right Concentration--samma samadhi
Although there are different schools of Buddhism, the above are the core beliefs of the faith.
Buddhism in various forms is practiced across East Asia, although it has largely died out in its home country of India. Sri Lanka is the birthplace of Theravada Buddhism, practiced in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, while Mahayana Buddhism is practiced in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Siberia.
Many people in the West have taken a keen interest in Buddhism in recent decades, leading to a resurgence of this ancient faith.
In spite of doctrinal differences, all of the above groups are considered Buddhist because they all revere the Buddha and his teachings.