Buddhism is a world religion founded by the first Buddha "the awakened one" around 500 BC. The real name of the first Buddha is Siddharta Gautama. The 359-377 million followers are called Buddhists. They strive for a deep insight into the true nature of life and they avoid the extreme. The basic idea is the personal spiritual development. They think that life means suffering due to greed, hate and infatuation. This is why they practice mediation in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness and wisdom. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). The centre of the religion is the Noble Eightfold Path with insight, understanding, striving, concentration, action, wilfulness, the right intention and speech. This is what Buddhists strive for. In Buddhism there are no gods or deities.


People call any person a Buddha if she or he has found enlightenment. They are recognized by Buddhists as an awakened teacher. They share their insights and help sentient beings end their suffering. They are taught to eliminate the ignorance and craving. The ultimate goal is the attainment of the state of nirvana.