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standing Buddha statue with draped garmet and halo
Standing Buddha statue at the Tokyo National Museum. One of the earliest known representations of the Buddha, 1st–2nd century CE.

Buddhism (/ˈbʊdɪzəm/, US also /ˈbd-/) is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahayana (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle").

Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, and their specific teachings and practices. Widely observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism, meditation, and the cultivation of the Paramitas (virtues).

Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon and Tiantai (Tendai), is found throughout East Asia.

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Xa Loi Pagoda, the focal point of the attacks
The Xá Lợi Pagoda raids were a series of synchronized attacks on various Buddhist pagodas in the major cities of South Vietnam shortly after midnight on August 21, 1963. The raids were executed by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces under Colonel Lê Quang Tung, and combat police, who took their orders directly from Ngô Đình Nhu, the younger brother of the Roman Catholic President Ngô Đình Diệm. The most prominent of the pagodas raided was the Xá Lợi Pagoda, the largest in the capital Saigon. Over 1,400 Buddhists were arrested, and estimates of the death toll and missing ranged up to the hundreds. In response to the Huế Phật Đản shootings and the banning of the Buddhist flag in early May, South Vietnam's Buddhist majority arose in widespread civil unrest and protests against religious bias and discrimination by the Catholic-dominated government of Diem. The Buddhists demanded religious equality and a lifting of restrictions against Buddhist activity. Buddhist temples in major cities became the focal point for organizing protests, the most prominent of these being Xá Lợi Pagoda, with Buddhist monks converging from rural areas. In August, several Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) generals proposed the imposition of martial law, ostensibly for the purpose of breaking up the demonstrations, but in reality to prepare for a military coup. However, Nhu—who was already looking to arrest Buddhist leaders and crush the protest movement—used the opportunity to pre-empt the generals and embarrass them. He disguised Tung's Special Forces in army uniforms and used them to attack the Buddhists, thereby causing the general public and South Vietnam's American allies to blame the army, diminishing their reputations and ability to act as future national leaders. Soon after midnight on August 21, Nhu's men attacked the pagodas using automatic firearms, grenades, battering rams and explosives, causing widespread damage. Some religious objects were destroyed, including a statue of Gautama Buddha in Từ Đàm Pagoda in Huế, which was partially levelled by explosives. The temples were looted and vandalized, with the remains of self-immolated Buddhist monks confiscated, and in Hue, violent street battles erupted between government forces and rioting pro-Buddhist civilians.

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Mazie Hirono
Mazie Keiko Hirono (born November 3, 1947) is an American politician. She was the second Asian immigrant elected lieutenant governor of a state of the United States. A lifelong Democrat, she ran against Linda Lingle for governor of Hawaii in 2002, one of the few gubernatorial races in United States history where two major parties nominated women to challenge each other. Hirono is currently the congresswoman for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district. She considers herself a non-practicing Jodo Shinshu Buddhist, and is often cited with Hank Johnson (D-Georgia), as the first Buddhist to serve in the United States Congress. She is the third woman to be elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii.

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Tomioka Tessai Two Divinities Dancing



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If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.


Buddhism (book)

Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism: TimelineBuddhist councils

Buddhism topics

Major Figures: Gautama BuddhaDisciplesLater Buddhists

Dharma or Concepts: Four Noble TruthsNoble Eightfold PathThree marks of existenceDependent OriginationSaṃsāraNirvanaSkandhaCosmologyKarmaRebirth

Practices and Attainment: BuddhahoodBodhisattva4 Stages of EnlightenmentWisdomMeditationPreceptsPāramitāsThree JewelsMonasticsLaity

Countries and Regions

Schools: TheravādaMahāyānaVajrayāna

Texts: Pali CanonTibetan CanonChinese CanonSanskrit texts

Related topics: CriticismComparative StudiesCultural elements

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Hinduism Indian religions Jainism Religion Spirituality Asia
Hinduism Indian religions Jainism Religion Spirituality Asia

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