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Buddhism

Major religion founded on the teachings of Sakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama), a sixth-century BC prince who became known as the 'Buddha' or the 'Enlightened One'. In its teachings, Buddhism seeks the liberation of the individual from the suffering inherent in life. Among his main teachings were the Four Noble Truths: 1 - that sorrow is the universal experience of mankind; 2 - that the cause of sorrow is desire; 3 - that the removal of sorrow can only come from the removal of desire, and 4 - that desire can be systematically abandoned by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which was eight steps that should be taken.

Buddhism was probably brought from India to China by monks traveling along the 'Silk Road' at the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty or around the first century BC. The opening of this inland trade route made travel between China and India easier than before. In AD 67, two Indian monks came to Luoyang. Emperor Ming Di ordered the building of the White Horse Temple and asked them to translate Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. As Buddhism spread from India to Asia many diverse forms of the religion developed. At first, Buddhism was known only to members of the ruling class. It was during the period of the Southern and Northern dynasties that it was spread among the ordinary people. See also: Zen Buddhism

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