Often confused for a religion, Buddhism dates back to two thousand five hundred years ago. The word originates from the word ‘budhi’ which means the, ‘to awaken’ (Brian white, ‘buddhanet basic Buddhist guide’). This tradition known considered a philosophy is attributed to an Indian prince known as Siddhartha Gautama who at the age of thirty five years was ‘awakened’ and was identified as the Buddha from then onwards. His realization was as a result of him growing weary of a life at the palace and he wanted to go out and discover spiritual understanding. From being a mere tradition in India, the Buddhism practice has spread all over the world and is now practiced by over three hundred million people worldwide.
One of the practices that are associated in Buddhism is meditation. The Buddhist center defines meditation as, a means of transforming the mind by developing and encouraging concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and calmness by seeing things in their true nature. This meets the teaching the Buddha aimed to spread which were to emphasize compassion and liberate people from their suffering. Buddhism does not involve the worship of a supernatural creator, therefore, being open to people of all religions, races, genders, nationalities and sexualities. This being the case, one would ask why the followers of this philosophy bow to the idol of the Buddha. The bowing is as a sign of gratitude to the Buddha for his teachings and the followers neither ask for favors from the idol nor worship the idol. After all, the Buddha never considered or declared himself a god.
The teachings of Buddha are classified into four noble truths which are: life is suffering, life is as a result of craving and aversion, suffering can be overcome and happiness attained and lastly, the 8-fold path which leads to the end of suffering (Brian, White). There is more to Buddhism than meets the eye and a closer look would reveal a whole new world of beliefs, practices and rituals.