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Buddhism firstly does not believe in the existence of an omnipotent being i.e. God. Instead, there is a concept of, if you will, the universal law. To better understand this, think of laws of physics (like inertia), those things that all physical things abide by, but we simply do not know why.

All beings on this Earth are bound to the 'cycle of suffering'. Suffering does not necessarily mean it must be painful or you must not like it, but it means that they are worldly things. i.e. by being bound to these things, you are 'suffering' as in you are not free and you will not find true peace. If you die, you will be reincarnated to suffer through whatever you deserve depending on your karma in the past life.

Buddhism believes in freeing oneself from the otherwise neverending worldly suffering through detaching oneself from worldly things. Buddhism says you will never cease to feel angry, jealous, happy, or whatever as long as you are attached to worldly things like pleasure, love, and hate. Attachment to physical things also contribute to this suffering cycle. All the things that you see, hear, feel, touch, and taste everyday are all created by your brain, so there is no knowing that they are real and true. Thus, it is fair to say Buddhism is about freeing the mind.

When you meditate, you sit still, close your eyes, and clear your mind. This is so that you are less likely bound by 'outside' things, and you can focus on understanding the facts of life and freeing the mind. Enlightened monks are those who have fully detached themselves from all worldly things and therefore have found true peace. Once they die, they will not reincarnate because they are then free of the cycle of suffering.
On an interesting note, the Jedi concept was adapted from Buddhism. That's why Light Jedi's are taught to control the mind, and Anakin is warned against falling in love. I must add that Buddhism does not say you must not fall in love, but love is just another worldly thing which will cause much suffering like hatred, jealousy, and lust (just look at Anakin for example). The whole concept of 'The Matrix' is based on Buddhism (although not exactly the same), that the world is not real and once you have freed your mind and realized the 'outside' things, you become enlightened (like Neo).

Some may say that monks are torturing themselves by denying themselves the pleasures in life. In truth, monks who truly understand Buddhism do not wish for those things because it is 'outside' to them. To them, a new house is the same as a new pair of shoes, all of which is of no importance.
by -K.W.- January 09, 2006
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Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Buddha. Buddha taught that 1) life permates around suffering, 2) humanity suffers because of their desires, 3) to overcome desires, one must obtain nirvana, and 4) to obtain nirvana, one must follow the eight-fold path (Right Views, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration). These are known as the four noble truths. Buddha accepted the concepts of karma and samsara, but rejected the idea of the Brahman and atman. Buddha also taught different understandings of reality and psychology which was based on the idea of anicca; that reality is not permanent and predictable but rather transient and changing. Thus all things flow according to cause and effect. The idea that there is a self, or ego, is an illusion. Buddhism teaches anatman or anatta, No Self. Acting on this illusion of the Self leads to dissatisfaction in existence - Dukkha.
Buddhism teaches that karmic cause and effect leads to the generation of energy, a process called dependent co-arising. The workings of karma cause those energies to coalesce as five bundles of energy called skandhas. The skandhas are: Body (rupa), Perception (jamjna), Feelings (vedana), Inherent Impulses (karmic predispositions, samskaras), Consciousness/Reasoning (vijnana). These are always in flux and disperse at death. Karma causes them to reform as a new existence unless the chain of cause and effect is broken.
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A teaching by Siddhartha Gautama "The Buddha"(563 - 483 B.C) that teaches that eradication of the "self" illusion, extinguishment of material attachments and eradication of sensual cravings is the path to liberation (nirvana). Buddhism is perhaps the religion with the strongest scientific backing, with Albert Einstein once famously saying that Buddhism was the religion he favored most. It is believed that The Buddha referred to sub atomic particles and intra atomic forces long before any Western scientist. Some argue that "Buddhism" is not really a religion as it does not require worship to a God.
To the great credit of Buddhism, not a drop of blood has been shed in the name of The Buddha, in the faith's 2500 year history.
by Xavii June 18, 2005
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Buddhism is a religion which has its beginnings with Siddharta Gautama, a prince who gave up material possessions in order to meditate, always searching for the reasons of life. He came up with the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, things which also Buddhists live by. Siddharta became known as the Buddha, and despite those fat, bald little Buddhas you may have seen, looked nothing like them.
Buddhism generally calls for a passive way of life, giving up material possessions in the search for truth and enlightenment. This is usually done through hours and hours of meditation.
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An offshoot of Brahminism/Vedism taught by the Indian Prince Gautama Siddhartha, which declared that there was no permanent self (Atman) and that liberation from suffering was to be found not by worshipping gods but by escaping from the cycle of birth and death. According to Gautama Buddha, suffering and rebirth are caused by attachment to things which are devoid of independent existence and thus impermanent.

While generally classified as a religion, Buddhism is probably more accurately described as a spiritual path. However, many Buddhist sects contain strong religious elements.

Buddha himself told his disciples that understanding in Buddhism should be established through personal insight rather than faith or revelation.

Some modern Buddhists, especially in the West, do not accept the ideas of karma and rebirth (after death) at face value.
Sokka Gakkai believers who chant for personal gain and belief-free Western Zen practitioners are Buddhists.
by Buddhabing August 10, 2005
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