Comparing and contrasting with Buddhism - Sample Essay

Buddhism began about 2,500 years ago in north-eastern India. It is a religion based on the teachings of an Indian nobleman, Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, or “enlightened one”. Buddhists do not worship the Buddha as a god but honour him as a great teacher. They follow his teachings as a guide to living in and understanding the world around them. Today, there are around 360 million Buddhists all over the world. Most live in Asia but Buddhism has also attracted many followers in Europe and North America.

The life of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kapilavastu, India (now Nepal) in about 563 BCE. At his birth, legend says, a wise man told his father that Siddhartha would either become a great ruler or a great holy man, depending on what he saw of life. Determined that his son should rule after him, his father did all he could to shield Siddhartha from the problems of the outside world. Siddhartha grew up in great luxury in his father’s palace. He married a beautiful princess and had a son.

Despite this, he felt that something was missing from his life (see “Buddhism”. Grolier Encyclopedia of knowledge, pp. 234-238). At the age of 29, Siddhartha had an experience that changed his life. On a secret chariot ride outside the palace, he saw a sick man, an old man and a dead man. It was the first time that he had seen people suffering. Then he saw a holy man who was happy and content, despite being poor. Siddhartha vowed to give up his luxurious life and become like the holy man.

That night, he left the palace and began his search for the answer to the suffering he had seen (see “Buddhism”. Grolier Encyclopedia of knowledge, pp. 234-238). After many years of fasting and hardship, Siddhartha came to the village of Bodh Gaya. Sitting under a great tree, he closed his eyes and began to meditate. There, at last, he gained enlightenment and became the Buddha. He realized that people suffered because they always wanted more than they had. After many years of fasting and hardship, Siddhartha came to the village of Bodh Gaya.

Sitting under a great tree, he closed his eyes and began to meditate. There, at last, he gained enlightenment and became the Buddha. He realized that people suffered because they always wanted more than they had (see “Buddhism”. Grolier Encyclopedia of knowledge, pp. 234-238). The Buddha spent the rest of his life as a monk. He traveled around India with a group of followers, teaching people how to overcome suffering. He died, aged 80, in the town of Kushinagara in India.