Buddhism is the world's fourth largest religion, practised by more than 520 million people. The followers of this religion are known as Buddhists and have different traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices based on their original teachings and interpretations. Buddhism has been originated in Ancient India between the and 4th centuries BCE and spread mostly in Asia. Buddhism owns two branches: Theravada and Mahayana. The Theravada branch has become important particularly in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Instead, the Mahayana branch is popular in East Asia.
Buddhists share the common goal of overcoming suffering, as well as believe in a cycle of death & rebirth. However, nowadays, there are different Buddhist schools which differ in their interpretation of the liberation path and the value given to the Buddhist texts, as well as in their teaching methodologies and practices.
In ancient times, this religion was transmitted orally and the Buddha's words and concepts were transferred from generation to generation by the word of mouth. The first Buddhist text has been written in Sri Lanka, 400 years later the Buddha’s death.
Nowadays Buddhism is relevant in different parts of the world and Buddhist texts are translated into different languages. However, the religions have different aspects depending on the part of the world where it is practised. Indeed, in Western countries, the doctrine is considered as an exotic and progressive religion. Instead, in eastern countries, it is seen as a familiar and traditional religion.
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