The Spread of Buddhism and Christianity
Buddhism and Christianity were each founded by one person, and then eventually grew into two of the largest religions in the world. Each religion had different reasons
for the success in the spreading of each respected belief. Although both faced many hardships, the two religions overcame and prevailed through their problems and continued to find ways to attract new believers every day.
Buddhism was founded by one man, Siddhartha Guatama. He was born into royalty around 563 B.C.E. in a Kingdom near the border of India and Nepal. He was raised in wealth and luxury, and at the age of 16, he married a wealth woman and they had a child together. Around the age of 29, he began to realize that all humans were in a cycle of suffering, dying, and then being reincarnated only to suffer and die over and over again. It was then that he decided to leave his wife and child to find a way out of this repeating cycle of life and death. First he studied with teachers, but found he was coming to no conclusions, so he turned to more extreme things such as self-mortification, but he was still left unsatisfied.
As a last resort, Guatama began intense yogic meditation under a papal tree. One night, he went into a deep trance, and moved through different levels of being. First, he saw all of his previous lives, living through each one over and over again. He then realized that reincarnation is based on how you treat all living things and whether you do right or wrong. He then achieved the knowledge of everything there is to be known in the world, and he attained perfection. He became the ?Buddha?, which means ?Enlightened One?, and he found the release from reincarnation. Buddhacarita, the best known biography of the Buddha, describes what it was like when dawn broke and the Buddha came out of his trance; ??and the leader of all reached the state of all-knowledge. When, through his Buddhahood, he had cognized this fact, the earth swayed like a woman drunken with wine, the sky shone bright with the Siddhas who appeared in crowds in all the directions, and the mighty drums of thunder resounded through the air. Pleasant breezes blew softly, rain fell from a cloudless sky, flowers and fruits dropped from the trees out of season-in an effort, as it were, to show reverance for him,? (The Global Experience, Ashvaghosha, pg. 79).
Having achieved enlightenment, the Buddha began spreading his knowledge to help others achieve ?Nirvana?, which means to be released from the reincarnation cycle. He preached that there were 4 Noble Truths: (1) all life is suffering; (2) the source of suffering is desire; (3) to end desiring is to end suffering; (4) there is an eight-fold path to end suffering; to have the right understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. This idea of being released from suffering attracted many people, and Buddhism soon spread rapidly through Northern India,...