Buddhism is the fourth largest religion of the world and has its origin in India. Siddhartha Gautama, a warrior prince who lived from 566 to 480 B.C founded Buddhism. Gautama was tired and weary of his luxurious life. He renounced his princely life to seek the ultimate truth.
He spent many years in hard penance in search of liberation or nirvana. After many years of penance he achieved an epiphany and came to be known as "Buddha". Buddha means the "Enlightened One". After the enlightenment, he traveled around India imparting the wise knowledge he had achieved. Gradually, his teachings spread to the South Asian countries. Today, Buddhism is a popular religion practiced by many around the globe.
As Buddhism spread to many countries it was split into many number of sects. Each sect has adopted a various beliefs, rituals, practices and customs. However, all the sects believe in the basic doctrines and beliefs of early Buddhism.
Buddhism believed all individuals irrespective of the age, race, and background could attain eternal happiness. One of the basic beliefs is that all delusions and negative mental states could be overcome through the practice of meditation. Another is reincarnation. Buddhist doctrines believed in the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. The doctrine stresses on these cycles and believe Nirvana is achieved when one sheds his desires and ego. "The Four Noble Truths" also is included in Buddhism.
The first truth is "Dukkha" or suffering. According to this there is suffering in the life of every individual. Suffering includes loneliness, frustration, embarrassment, anger and fear. This is the reality and not pessimism. This explains how to avoid sufferings and achieve happiness.
The second noble truth is "Samudaya". According to this truth craving and aversion are the root cause of suffering. Craving and greed deprive an individual of happiness and contentment. Unless an individual curbs his cravings for luxuries of life, he would not attain Nirvana.
"Nirodha" is the third noble truth. This truth explains how an individual could overcome his sufferings and achieve happiness. As per to this belief, an individual should never dwell on the incidents that occurred in the past or think too much about his future. Life would be happy if an individual learns to live each day at a time.
"Marga" is the final truth. According to the fourth truth, to end your suffering and attain nirvana, an individual has to follow the "Eight-fold Path". The "Eight-fold Path" emphasizes on focusing one's mind on being aware of his thoughts and actions. It also gives importance to morality and perfect livelihood. You would have a better understanding of the "Four Noble Truths" by being compassionate to others and also by developing wisdom.
Buddhist teachings could be understood and adopted by any individual. Buddhism believes that the root cause of a problem is an individual himself. Hence, the solution to his problem is within himself. It is believed Buddha had asked his followers to test the teachings for themselves before practicing the beliefs.