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Buddhism

Founded in India in 525 BC by Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha (THE ENLIGHTENED ONE), the faith is based on his teachings. Buddhism spread far and wide through the sub-continent in the 3rd c. BC under the efforts of Emperor Ashoka, who commissioned the erection of rock edicts documenting the teachings of Buddha across his empire. Some of these Ashokan edicts still exists at Junagadh. In Gujarat, Buddhism was mainly centered in Saurashtra and Kachchh, where Buddhist caves and remains of ancient monasteries can still be seen. In the subsequent centuries, the FAITH faced a decline in popularity in western India because of the Hindu revival and the growing influence of Jainism. However, Buddhism flourished in many other parts of Asia, where it continues to thrive. Today, a small percentage of the Gujarat population practices this faith. Many of them are Neo-Buddhists who converted in 1956 along with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, an ex-Harijan, prominent jurist and the Architect of the Constitution of India, who led a mass movement for the eradication of untouchability. Buddhism is a philosophy coordinated with a code of physical and intellectual morality. Buddhists seek nirvana, the release from the cycle of rebirth and suffering. The basic doctrines of Buddhism include the four truths: Truth of suffering(dukkha sacca), truth of the origin of suffering(samudaya sacca), truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering(nirodha sacca) and truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering(magga sacca). These truths are achieved by following the eight fold path which leads to the removal of suffering and the attainment of wisdom(panna) through righteous aspirations and understanding, following the precepts(sila) of right speech, right action and right livelihood and the concentration of mind(Samadhi) attained by right exertion, right attentiveness and right concentration. Buddhism accepts the presupposition of samsara, in which living beings are trapped in a continual cycle of birth and death based on their previous physical and mental actions(karma). Buddhism is strongly based on meditaion and the observance of a moral code. The sacred text of Buddhism is the TRIPITAKA(the three baskets), which comprises VINAYAK PITAKA(monastic law), SUTTA PITAKA(words of the Buddha) and ABHIDHAMMA PITAKA(philosophical commentaries). Buddhism gave rise to two major sects: Hinayana(dominant in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia) and Mahayana(based in China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan).