1. Religion & Spirituality

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

The Bible and Suicide

Buddhism: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Can You Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism?
The 4 Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism. The Buddha's first sermon after his Enlightenment centered on these Four Noble Truths
What Do You Know About Buddhism?
There's more to Buddhism than shaving one's head and being blissful. Here is an introduction to Buddhism for beginners.
Learn About the Life of the Buddha, Founder of...
This simple account of the historic Buddha's life covers his early life, the Four Passing Sights, the Renunciation, the Quest, his Enlightenment, and his later life as a teacher.
The Roots of Terrorism, According to the Buddha...
The Buddha taught us that evil acts, including terrorism, are rooted in greed, hate and ignorance. Social science has reached similar conclusions.
Introduction to the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
Understanding the Four Noble Truths is critical to understanding Buddhism. Here is a simple introduction for beginners.
The Dharma Wheel
The dharma wheel is a symbol of Buddhism.
What Zen Buddhism Really Means
This is a bare-bones introduction to Zen Buddhism for those who don't know Zen from spinach. It includes a brief history of the school and the Zen definition of Zen.
What Is the Buddhist Eightfold Path to...
The Eightfold Path is the Buddha's prescription for relieving suffering. It is the means by which one can realize enlightenment and enter Nirvana.
What Buddhists Really Mean by 'Life Is Suffering'
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The Buddha didn't
The Symbol of the Lotus
An explanation of the symbolic meanings of the lotus in Buddhist art and literature.
What Buddhism Says About Right View
The Buddha taught that Right View is an essential part of the Buddhist path. In fact, it is part of the Eightfold Path, which is the basis of all Buddhist practice.
Are Buddhists Also Atheists?
If atheism is the absence of belief in gods, then many Buddhists are atheists. Why then do Buddhists pray and bow to Buddha figures on altars?
What the Buddha Didn't Teach About Reincarnation
Would you be surprised to hear that reincarnation is not a doctrine of Buddhism? If so, be surprised -- it isn't.
What Do Buddhists Believe?
What do Buddhists believe? In Buddhism, beliefs are beside the point, and doctrines are a means to an end, not the end itself.
The Six Realms of Existence in the Buddhist...
The Six Realms are an allegorical description of conditioned existence, or samsara, into which beings are reborn. The nature and conditions of one's existence is determined by karma. Certainly some realms seem more desirable than others -- heaven sounds preferable to hell -- but all are dukkha, meaning they are temporary and imperfect.
What Is Nirvana in Buddhism?
In Buddhism Nirvana is not a place, and it is neither existence nor non-existence. So what is it?
What Is Enlightenment in Buddhism
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Most people have
Do Buddhists Worship the Buddha? Depends on...
Do Buddhists worship the Buddha? It certainly looks as if they do. But looks can be deceiving. This article clarifies some terms and Buddhist practices.
What Buddhism Teaches About Self and No-Self
The Buddha taught that an individual is a combination of five aggregates, called the Five Skandhas. The skandhas are empty of intrinsic self; the self is no-self (anatman or anatta in Theravada Buddhism and shunyata in Mahayana Buddhism). These teachings are difficult to understand but essential to Buddhism.
Giving Thanks for Food: Three Buddhist Verses...
How do Buddhists give thanks for food? Here are meal chants from three schools of Buddhism that are chanted before meals, expressing gratitude.
The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism
The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism explains why life is unsatisfactory (dukkha).
What Buddhists mean by Buddha Dharma
As used in Buddhism, the word dharma has many meanings. This article explains the many aspects of Buddha Dharma.
Everything You Need to Know About Buddhist...
A Basic Guide to Buddhist Chanting.
Brief Guide to Major Schools of Buddhism
Buddhism comes in many sectarian flavors. This is a very basic guide to major schools for people new to Buddhism.
What Are the 8 Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism?
Images of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, with explanations of their meanings.
What Buddhism Teaches About Sex
Buddhism challenges us to think about sexual ethics and morals very differently from the way most of us have been taught to think about them. What does Buddhism teach about sex?
Buddhism and Karma
Understanding the laws of karma is essential to understanding Buddhism. Yet karma is mostly misunderstood by Westerners. This essay briefly explains the Buddhist view of karma.
The First Noble Truth of Buddhism
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The study of Buddhism
What Is Buddhist Tantra Really All About?
The esoteric teachings, secret initiations and erotic imagery associated with Buddhist tantra have fueled no end of interest. But tantra may not be what you think it is.
Prince Siddhartha - The Prince Who Became the...
The historical Buddha's original name was Siddhartha Gautama, and he was said to have been a prince. What do we know about young Prince Siddhartha?
Right Action
Right Action is the fourth aspect of the Buddhist Eightfold Path. But what is Right Action, exactly? Here is a brief explanation
What Buddhism Teaches About Anger
Anger is a poison and an obstacle to enlightenment, the Buddha said. Yet we all get angry. What does Buddhism teach about dealing with anger?
Buddhist Holidays 2015 Online Illustrated...
This calendar of Buddhist holidays for 2015 is ordered by date instead of by holiday, so that you can follow along through the year. Note that the several traditions of Buddhism do not all observe the same holidays at the same time.
What Is Mahayana Buddhism?
There are a few basic teachings that distinguish all forms of Mahayana. Here Mahayana and Theravada are compared to make these distinctions clear.
Buddhism: Is It a Philosophy or Religion?
Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion? Clarifying this point is important to understanding Buddhism.
Theravada Buddhism Teachings and Overview
The distinctive practices and teachings of Theravada, the oldest school of Buddhism.
Karuna: Learn the Importance of Compassion in...
The Buddha taught that compassion isn't just a nice virtue; it is essential to realizing enlightenment.
Why Do Buddhists Avoid Attachment?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >You may have heard
Are There Gods in Buddhism?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >It is often asked
The Third Noble Truth of Buddhism
The Third Noble Truth explains the cessation of things that bind us to suffering.
Offering Food - Buddhist Rituals and Traditions
Offering food is one of the oldest and most common rituals in Buddhism. Food is offered to monks and ritually to deities and hungry ghosts. Here is a brief explanation of the meaning and purpose of Buddhist food offerings.
The Five Skandhas
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The historical
The Enlightenment of the Buddha
This is the story of the enlightenment of the Buddha, including his meditation under the bodhi tree and the temptations of Mara.
The Wheel of Life:
The Wheel of Life is one of the most common subjects of Buddhist art. The detailed symbolism of the Wheel is rich with meaning that can be interpreted on many levels.
A Guide to Practicing the Six Perfections of...
The Six Perfections or Paramitas are guides for those who seek enlightenment in Mahayana Buddhism. This article introduces the Perfections.
The Fourth Noble Truth of Buddhism - The...
In the Fourth Noble Truth, the Buddha presented the path to enlightenment.
Introduction to the Precepts of Buddhism
The Buddhist Precepts are not a list of commandments to follow. Here is an introduction to the Precepts, both Theravada and Mahayana
War and Buddhism
Buddhism opposes war, but sometimes Buddhists must go to war. Buddhism values pacifism, yet Buddhism is associated with martial arts. What does Buddhism teach about war?
How to Learn About Buddhism
Learning about Buddhism can be intimidating. Where do we even begin? Here are some suggestions for how to put one's toe in the water, so to speak.
Buddhism and Sexism
Is sexism intrinsic to Buddhism, or did Buddhist institutions absorb sexism from Asian culture? Can Buddhism treat women as equals, and remain Buddhism?
What Does Samsara Mean in Buddhism?
The Sanskrit word samsara refers to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
The Three Poisons - In Buddhism, the Roots of...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >In the center
The Fifth Buddhist Precept
The Fifth Precept of Buddhism, translated from the Pali Canon, is
Right Mindfulnes - Mindfulness as Buddhist...
Mindfulness is a whole-body-and-mind awareness of the present moment that is a cornerstone of Buddhist practice
Are All Buddhists Vegetarians?
The historical Buddha and his disciples were not vegetarians. Why then did vegetarianism come to be associated with Buddhism?
History and Description of Kathina, the...
Kathina is an ancient ceremony for giving Buddhist monks and nuns gifts of cloth to make robes. This article explains the ceremony and its history.
Get an Overview of the Robes Worn by Buddhist...
Although the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns come in many colors and styles, they are all part of a tradition going back to the time of the historical Buddha, 26 centuries ago.
Mahayana Buddhist Scripture: Learn about the...
Of the countless scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism, few are more widely read or revered than the Lotus Sutra. This article gives a brief overview of the sutra and its history.
What Buddhism Teaches About the Ethics of...
Right Livelihood is the fifth. Buddhism.
What Is a Buddha, Anyway?
The Buddha is pictured in many ways, and the word Buddha is used to mean many things. Just who or what is a Buddha?
Do You Know the Legend of the Birth of the...
The story of the Buddha's birth is rich with mythical symbolism.
The Search for Original Buddhism: A Noble Quest...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Was there a pure,
About Buddhist Nuns - Their Lives and Role
There are Buddhist nuns as well as monks, but nuns have not always been supported by Buddhist institutions in Asia.
Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel
The three turnings of the dharma wheel mark three significant developments in Buddhist history.
Right Speech
Right Speech is a portion of the Buddhist Eightfold Path. What do Buddhists mean by Right Speech?
What Is a Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism?
Bodhisattvas are idealized in Mahayana art and literature, and they are also ordinary people. They exemplify compassion and wisdom, and they vow to help all beings realize enlightenment and enter Nirvana.
Why 'Right Intention' Is So Important to Buddhism
The second aspect of the Eightfold Path of Buddhism is Right Intention or Right Thought. Why are our thoughts or intentions so important?
Sunyata - The Perfection of Wisdom in Buddhism
Sunyata, or Emptiness. Buddhism.
Greed and Desire
Desires are inexhaustible, especially in our consumerist culture. What does Buddhism teach about greed and desire?
Right Effort
A brief explanation of Right Effort as the sixth part of the Buddhist Eightfold Path
Becoming a Buddhist - Taking Refuge in the...
To become a Buddhist, a person vows to take refuge in the Three Jewels or Three Treasures. The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. This essay explains what each jewel represents. Page 2.
Where Did the Laughing Buddha Come From?
When Westerners think of Buddha, usually they picture the short, fat, bald version, not the austere and serious meditating Buddha. Where did the Laughing Buddha come from?
Vajrayana - The Esoteric Path or Diamond...
This is a brief introduction to basic Buddhist Vajrayana -- what is is, how it originated.
Vesak - Vesak Is the Observance of the Buddha's...
What is Vesak? Vesak is a major Buddhist holiday observing the historical Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death (Parinirvana).
An Overview of the Diamond Sutra
The Diamond Sutra is a jewel of the world's religious literature and one of the most revered texts of Mahayana Buddhism. This article describes the sutra's origins and history.
Dependent Origination
Dependent Origination is a Buddhist teaching on the nature of existence -- nothing exists independently of other things.
The First Buddhist Precept
The first precept of Buddhism -- do not kill -- touches on some of today's hotter issues, from veganism to abortion and euthanasia. Let's take a look at this precept and at what some Buddhist teachers have said about it.
Ever Think of Going on a Buddhist Retreat?
Retreats are a great way to initiate a personal exploration of Buddhism, and of yourself. Here is advice about how to find authentic Buddhist retreats and what to expect when you participate in one.
Evil in Buddhism -- How Buddhists Understand Evil
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Evil is a word
The Wheel of Life: Yama, Lord of the Underworld
The creature holding the Wheel of Life in his hooves is Yama, the wrathful dharmapala who is Lord of the Hell Realm. Dharmapalas are not evil beings, but rather are the fierce protectors of Buddhism and Buddhists. Page 2.
It's All Karma, Right? 11 Myths About Buddhism
Much of what people in the West believe about Buddhism is mistaken. It is all too common to find a magazine or web article about Buddhism that begins
An Overview of Nichiren Buddhism
Nichiren claimed his were the only true teachings of Buddhism. Today Nichiren Buddhism has millions of followers worldwide.
Why Convert to Buddhism?
Why I can give you no good reason to convert to Buddhism.
What Buddhists Should Know About the Heart Sutra
A brief introduction to the Heart Sutra for the completely baffled.
The Faith of Buddhism - Trust the Practice,...
In Buddhism, the word faith does not refer to belief. Instead, it means trust or confidence, in oneself and in the dharma.
Siddhartha's Renunciation - On the Path to...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The historical
What Buddhism Teaches About Karma and Rebirth
The law of karma is a law of cause and effect, or an understanding that every deed produces fruit. The fruits of karma affect our lives and cause rebirth.
Mara, Lord of Death
The demon Mara plays a role in many stories of the Buddha and his monks, and in particular the story of the Buddha's enlightenment. This article discusses Mara's origins and what he represents in Buddhism.
The Buddha's Path to Happiness - An Introduction
We all want to be happy, but what is happiness, and how do we find it? Here is what the Buddha taught.
What Are Buddhist Teachings on the Self?
You can find Buddhist teachings about finding the self, losing the self, small self, big self, original self, true self, and no self. What's a self?
Which School of Buddhism Is Right for You?
Advice for choosing a school of Buddhism that is right for you
What Does it Mean to Practice Buddhism?
Buddhists often speak of Buddhism as a practice rather than a faith. What exactly is Buddhist practice?
Buddhism in China: A History of the First...
A condensed 1,000-year history of Buddhism in China, from the year 1 to 1000 CE.
Upaya -The Buddhist Teaching of Skillful Means
In Mahayana Buddhism, upaya refers to a teacher's wise and compassionate acts to help others reach enlightenment.
Gods, Goddesses and Buddhist Tantra - An...
The veneration of tantric deities looks like polytheism, but it isn't. Instead, it is a means to realize enlightenment by realizing oneself as a goddess or god.
: Mahayana, which means "Great Vehicle" in Sanskrit, is one of the two major schools of Buddhism . It
The Wheel of Life: The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
Hungry Ghosts (Pretas) are beings with a hunger that can never be satisfied. They have huge, empty stomachs, but their thin necks don't allow nourishment to pass. Food turns to fire and ash in their mouths. Page 5.
An Attitude of Gratitude - What the Buddha...
A grateful mind is a powerful aid in Buddhist practice. Moment-to-moment mindfulness and gratitude go hand in hand. How can we become more grateful?
Buddhists Don't Have to Be Nice - Avoiding...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >"Buddhists are
Buddha Nature
Buddha Nature, an essential doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, is the already enlightened nature of all beings.
Earth Witness
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The "earth witness"
11 Famous Buddhist Temples and Their Legends
These eleven temples are among the most legendary in Buddhist history, including Shaolin, Angkor Wat, and the Temple of the Tooth.
The Wheel of Life: The Realm of the Gods
The Realm of the Gods (Devas) is the highest realm of the Wheel of Life and is always depicted at the top of the Wheel. It's nice being a Deva, but even the Devas are subject to karma, death and rebirth. Page 3.
What Buddhism Teaches About Equanimity
The Buddha taught his disciples to develop equanimity. What do Buddhists mean by equanimity, and how do you develop it?
What Do Rituals Symbolize in Buddhism?
Can there be Buddhism without the rituals? Maybe, but the rituals do have a purpose.
Samsara: The World We Create
In Buddhism, samsara is the world of delusion and suffering through which unenlightened beings must travel. It is also a world we create with our thoughts.
Buddhist Perspectives on the Abortion Debate
Buddhism teaches that abortion is the taking of a human life, but at the same time most Buddhists are reluctant to interfere with a woman's personal decision to abort. From a Buddhist perspective, these positions are not contradictory.
New to Buddhism? Try One of These Popular Books
In the West, many of us begin our journey in Buddhism by reading a book. We are fortunate today that there are several books in the English language that can introduce us to Buddhism, and more are published every year. I don't presume to know which book is
What Buddhism Teaches About Romantic Love and...
What does Buddhism say about issues related to romantic love, including marriage and divorce? And are same-sex marriages okay?
Meet Avalokiteshvara, Buddhism's Bodhisattva of...
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is beloved to Mahayana Buddhists as the embodiment of infinite compassion.
12 Links of Dependent Origination - Buddhist...
The Buddha said there are twelve links ( nidanas ) in the "chain" of Dependent Origination . Dependent
Right Concentration
Right Concentration is the eighth part of the Buddhist Eightfold Path. Through Right Concentration, the mind finds its way to wisdom and enlightenment.
Not All Buddhists Celebrate Buddha's Birthday...
Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on different dates by various schools of Buddhism. Whatever the date, it is a joyous holiday featuring parades, hanging lanterns, and the sharing of food and flowers.
The Wheel of Life: The Realm of Asuras
The Asura (Jealous God) Realm is marked by paranoia. Asuras are hyper-competitive and paranoid. They are driven by a desire to beat their competition, and everyone is competition. Page 4.
The Five Dhyani Buddhas: Amitabha Buddha
The Five Dhyani Buddhas are transcendent Buddhas visualized in tantric meditation. The five Buddhas are Aksobhya, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava and Vairocana. Each represents a different aspect of enlightened consciousness to aid in spiritual transformation. Often in Vajrayana art they are arranged in a mandala, with Vairocana in the center. Page 2.
The First Buddhist Nuns
The historical Buddha’s most famous statements on women came about when his stepmother and aunt, Maha Pajapati Gotami, asked to join the Sangha and become a nun. The Buddha initially refused her request. Eventually he relented, but in doing so he made conditions and a prediction that remain controversial to this day.
An Introduction to Koan Study in Zen Buddhism
A brief overview of the origin an use of koans in Zen Buddhism
The Jataka Tales
The Jataka Tales are stories and fables about the previous lives of the Buddha. Where did these stories come from? What is their history?
Reincarnation Without Souls? Understanding...
A Buddhist answer to the question, if the human population of earth is growing, where do all the new souls come from?
Perfection of Renunciation
Renunciation in Buddhism is not penance or self-punishment. Instead, it is an act of liberation from the things that bind us to suffering.
Enlightened Beings: Are They Really Different...
When we speak of an enlightened being, are we talking about a flesh-and-blood individual, or something else?
Impermanence (Anicca) and the Path to...
The Buddha taught that all phenomena are impermanent. How is this teaching essential to enlightenment?
How the Doctrine of the Two Truths Explains...
The Two Truths Doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism explains the nature of reality.
The Wheel of Life: The Hell Realm
The Hell Realm is marked by anger, terror and claustrophobia. Hell Beings (Narakas) are known for their aggression. Page 6.
Perfection of Generosity
Giving to others is essential to the practice of Buddhism. However, one's motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what is given.
Vajra or Dorje
A vajra is a Buddhist symbol and ritual object with several meanings. Learn more about this word and its definition.
How Buddhism Approaches Morality
A look at Buddhist approach to morality, which avoids absolutes and rigid commandments and encourages one to weigh and analyze situations on one's own.
Introduction to Bodhisattva Vows of Buddhism
In Mahayana Buddhism, the ideal of practice is to become a bodhisattva who strives to liberate all beings from the cycle of birth and death. The Bodhisattva Vows are vows taken formally by a Buddhist to do exactly that. The vows also are an expression of bodhichitta, the desire to realize enlightenment for the sake of others.
An introduction to the Buddhist concept of vijnana - awareness or consciousness.
Three Poisons
The Three Poisons - Greed, Hate and Ignorance - are the primary causes of evil (akusala) in Buddhism.
Overview of the Life and Role of a Buddhist Monk
An overview of the life and role of Buddhist bhikkhus (monks).
The Four Dharma Seals and the Definition of...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >In the 26 centuries
The Role of Karma in Natural Disasters - Don't...
Karma does not create natural disasters, according to the Buddha's teaching. It's incorrect to blame victims of natural disasters for their suffering.
An Overview of Chinese Mahayana Buddhist Sutras
There are myriad Mahayana sutras associated with the so-called Chinese Canon of Mahayana Buddhist scripture. Here is an introduction to the Chinese Mahayana sutras.
Anatman, Anatta
No-self; the central Buddhist teaching that individual identity is ephemeral.
Ten Famous Buddhas: Where They Came From; What...
These are among the most famous and iconic images of the Buddha ever created. Learn the stories behind these amazing works of art.
What Is the Tripitaka or Tipitaka? About Early...
The Tripitaka is the oldest collection of Buddhist scriptures and includes many texts believed to be the words of the historical Buddha.
A Brief Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is distinguished by its rich mythology and art, its esoteric tantra practices, and its reincarnated lamas. Here is a basic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.
The Koan Mu, Its Origin and Use in Zen Buddhist...
The koan Mu, also known as Chao-chou's Dog, is one of the most famous Zen koans. Here is a brief introduction to the koan.
The First Buddhist Monks
The Buddha and his first disciples had no fixed place to call home. They slept under trees and begged for all of their food. Their only clothes were robes they patched together from cloth taken from rubbish heaps.
Perfection of Discerning Wisdom in Theravada...
In Theravada Buddhism, wisdom, or panna, refers primarily to penetrating insight into the true nature of reality.
The Wheel of Life: The Animal Realm
Animal Beings (Tiryakas) are solid, regular and predictable. They cling to what is familiar and are disinterested, even fearful, of anything outside their limited experience. Page 7.
Pali Canon: Early Buddhist Scriptures
The earliest written scriptures of Buddhism, the texts were kept alive through the years by being memorized and chanted by generations of monks.
The Fourth Buddhist Precept
The Fourth Precept tells us to abstain from telling lies. Practice of the Precept goes deeper than simply not lying.
Dragons often appear in Buddhist art and literature. Where did they come from, and what do they represent?
The Wheel of Life: The Center
At the center of the Wheel of Life are the forces that keep it turning -- hate, desire and ignorance. Page 9.
Thich Nhat Hanh's Mindfulness Training: Living...
The Five Mindfulness Trainings are Thich Nhat Hanh's guide to living a beneficial and joyful life. Here is a brief introduction.
Rahula was the Buddha's only child and also one of his disciples.
Do Buddhists Pray?
Is there prayer in Buddhism? No, and yes, depending on what you mean by prayer. Here is a brief explanation.
Buddhism and Food - What's Okay, What's Not
Vegetarianism isn't an absolute rule for Buddhists, but why not? And what's wrong with onions?
  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Buddhism

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.