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Siddhartha observed that his new acquaintance was
Buddhism is a world religion that began on the
at peace, though he owned nothing.
Indian subcontinent, but unlike Hinduism, Buddhism
Siddhartha left his palace and lived with Hindu
spread to many faraway lands. While Hinduism does
gurus as an ascetic. He prayed and fasted. To fast is
not have a single founder, we can trace Buddhism
to eat little or no food. Siddhartha fasted so strictly
back 2500 years to Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who
that he became very weak. This made the prince
lived in Shakya, a small kingdom at the foothills of the
realize that self-denial was not the path to truth.
Himalayas in present day Nepal.
Finally, Siddhartha sat down under a bodhi tree
A legend says that before Siddhartha was born, a
To meditate is to calm your mind, often
holy man told his father, King Suddhodana, that if
a particular object. After many days
Siddhartha remained in his father’s palace, he
and nights of contemplation, Siddhartha reached
would become a great king, but if he learned of the
enlightenment—a state of heightened wisdom.
suffering of the outside world, Siddhartha would
The Buddha taught his followers to seek balance
become a great teacher.
lives. The path to happiness is neither
Because Suddhodana wanted Siddhartha to one
through indulgence nor denial,
day rule his kingdom, he
he said, but a “middle way.”
shielded his son from anything
Siddhartha taught that by
Upon reaching enlightenment,
unpleasant or disturbing.
putting aside one’s own selfish
Siddhartha realized what Buddhists
Siddhartha was raised in
desires, one can escape the
luxury. Palace gardeners
cycle of death and rebirth to
picked flowers soon after they
reach Nirvana.
blossomed so the young prince
Siddhartha told other
2. The cause of suffering comes from
would never see death. When
of his enlightenment.
Siddhartha rode from the
well known for his
palace, guards cleared beggars
teaching. Siddhartha’s students
3. The way to end suffering is to
and sick people from the
called him “the Buddha,” which
streets before his chariot
means “the Enlightened One,”
and the followers of
is to follow the eightfold path.
One day, Siddhartha saw
Siddhartha’s teachings are
two old men who had
The Eightfold Path of Buddhism
called Buddhists.
wandered into the path of his
Right View—Accept the world as it is
The Buddha did not want
chariot; as the curious prince
and not as you want it to be.
his teachings to replace other
pursued these men he came
Right Intention—Be motivated by good
religions, though today over
across some people who were
will, kindness, and empathy rather than
three hundred million
very ill. Finally, he saw a
anger, resentment, or greed.
Buddhists in all parts of the
funeral procession, and for the
Right Speech—Strive for your word to
world adhere to his philosophy.
first time in his life, the prince
be helpful; do not lie or gossip.
His ideas traveled to China,
encountered death. His chariot
Right Conduct—Be aware of your
Korea, Japan, and Southeast
driver broke the news to
behavior and always work to be better.
Asia. Buddhism lost most of its
Siddhartha that all of us get
Right Livelihood—Choose a career
influence on the Indian
old, sick, and eventually die.
that results in joy rather than suffering.
subcontinent by the eighth
The prince was confused by
Right Effort—Avoid anger, jealousy
century, partly because its
what he had seen, so one night
and other negative thoughts
ideas were absorbed into
he put on a simple robe and
Right Mindfulness—Be aware and
Hinduism, and partly due to
secretly left his father’s palace.
control your thought and emotions so
the rise of Islam. Buddhism is
As Siddhartha wandered the
your thoughts and emotions do not
a major religious and moral
streets, he encountered
control you.
force in the world, but it has
an ascetic—a holy man
Right Meditation—Focus your mind
been all but unknown in India
who had given up all
and body so that you can find the path
for over one thousand years.
comforts and
to enlightenment.
Fill in the Blanks
Buddhism is a r__l__g__on that began on the Indian subcontinent and spread to C__i__a,
Korea, J__p__n, and southeast Asia. Buddhism is rooted in the teaching of S__d__h__r__ha
Gautama, a p__in__e who lived at the foothills of the H__m__l__y__s about ________ years ago.
Siddhartha was raised in such l__xu__y that he was not allowed to see anything u__p__e__s__nt
or d__s__u__b__ng. When Siddhartha did encounter s__f__e__i__g and d__a__h, he began a
spiritual quest that ended when he achieved a state of heightened w__sd__m called enlightenment.
Siddhartha then became known as the B__dd__a, which means “the E__l__g__t__n__d One.”
The Buddha taught his followers that the path to happiness is not found in i__d__l__e__ce or
d__ni__l. Instead they should seek b__l__n__e in their lives by finding a “m__d__le way.”
Buddhists believe in *re__nc__rn__ti__n, but they also believe you can escape the cycle of d__a__h
and r__b__r__h by putting aside your s__l__i__h desires. The Buddha did not want his
*t__a__h__n__s to replace other religions, though today over three hundred million
B__d__h__s__s adhere to his p__i__o__o__hy.
Answer in Complete Sentences
*1. Why would someone want to live as an ascetic? (You may want to ask your parent for help.)
2. How are Buddhism and Hinduism similar (the same)?
*3. According to the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, why is there suffering and what can we do to end
*4. In three complete sentences, how would you summarize the Eightfold Path of Buddhism?
*This is a higher order learning question. Any reasonable answer is acceptable.