Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Top ten facts about Buddhism

Damien Keown, author of Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, tells us ten things we need to know about Buddhism.

From the Sangha to reincarnation, discover fascinating facts about Buddhism below:

  1. The term ‘Buddhism’ was coined by Western scholars in the 1830s. Buddhists don’t actually refer to their religion as “Buddhism”.
  2. Buddhism originated from around 400BC with the historical individual known as the Buddha.
  3. The first mention of the Buddha in Western writing is in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, 2 AD.
  4. The Buddha founded an order of monks and nuns known as the Sangha who have preserved his teachings down to the present day.
  5. Buddhism is an extensive and internally diverse tradition with two main branches.
  6. With 360 million followers, Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world.
  7. In Buddhism, there is no single holy book. Extensive scriptures have been preserved in many Asian languages.
  8. Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being or creator god.
  9. Because of its emphasis on meditation and mindfulness, Buddhism is often considered to be a form of psychology rather than a religion.
  10. Many traditional Buddhists believe in reincarnation and rebirth. Modern Buddhists believe this idea can be jettisoned without losing any central value.

Featured image credit: “Buddha”, by Alexis. Public domain via Pixabay.

Recent Comments

  1. ILLUSIONSGAME

    It is looking more like 600BC now with a discovery in India. Also, the “religion” may be up to 22% of the worlds population: see the article in Buddha Weekly called Buddhism Could Now Be the 2nd Largest Spiritual Path with 1.6 Billion or 22% of the World’s Population According to Some Recent Studies

  2. der

    Rebirth is central to Buddhism. When the Buddha became enlightened, rebirth is one of the three epiphanies he experienced according to the most reliable texts according to scholars and historians, which are the Chinese and Theravada.

  3. […] the time to read Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. My interest was first piqued by reading the top ten facts about Buddhism, and I look forward to learning more about meditation and mindfulness in the new year. Any tips I […]

  4. Felix M Moore

    Just correct a typo. Clement of Alexandria lived c. 200AD, not 2AD as stated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *