The name Buddhism comes from the word budhi which means to wake up and thus Buddhism can be said to be the philosophy of awakening. This philosophy has its origins in the experience of the man Siddhattha Gotama, known as the Buddha who was himself awakened at the age of 35.
Buddhism is now 2,500 years old and has about 380 million followers worldwide. Until a hundred years ago Buddhism was mainly an Asian philosophy but increasingly it is gaining adherents in Europe, Australia and America.
The aim of Buddhism is to guide everyone to lead a noble life without harming anyone, to cultivate humane qualities in order to maintain human dignity, to radiate all-embracing kindness without any discrimination, and to train the mind to avoid evil and to purify the mind to gain peace and happiness.
Buddhism is a religion which teaches people to ‘live and let live.’ In the history of the world, there is no evidence to show that Buddhists have interfered or done any damage to any other religion in any part of the world for the purpose of introducing their religion. Buddhists do not regard the existence of other religions as a hindrance to worldly progress and peace. Instead of converting the followers of other religions into our religion, Buddhists can encourage others to practice their own religions, provided that they promote the well being of all living beings.
The Buddha’s message was an invitation to all to join the fold of universal brotherhood to work in strength and harmony for the welfare and happiness of mankind. He had no chosen people, and did not regard himself as a chosen one either.