Buddhism is an offshoot of the pantheistic religion of
Hinduism, originating around 525 BC in India. Buddhists focus on the philosophical and psychological teachings of Gautama Buddha and imitate his way of life. There are two major sects, Theravada, prevalent in south east Asia,
and Mahayana, prevalent in China, Tibet, Korea and
Japan. Theravada adherants attempt to train and purify the mind by following the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, hoping to understand the true nature of all things, eliminate
stress and suffering from their experience, and achieve Nirvana (liberation). Mahayana is further subdivided into many sects, including Nichiren and Zen Buddhism.
The Four Noble Truths
\1. We all suffer (Dukkha)- This involves experiences of pain, sorrow, misery, and lack of fulfillment.
\2. Everything is impermanent (Anicca)- We suffer because we desire things that are impermanent.
\3. The way to liberate ourselves is to eliminate desire.
\4. Desire can be eliminated by following the Eightfold Path.