Buddhism, like most of the great religions of the world, is divided into a number
of different traditions. We will deal in this essay with Theravada Buddhism.
is a religion which shares few concepts with Christianity. For example,
they do not believe in a transcendent or immanent or any other
type of God or Gods, the need for a personal savior, the power of prayer,
eternal life in a heaven or hell after death, etc.
They do believe in reincarnation:
the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and
After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to
desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana.
Buddha's Four Noble Truths may be described (somewhat simplistically) as
be fully understood: the universality of suffering
be abandoned: the desire to have and control things which cause. suffering
be made visible: the supreme truth and final liberation of nirvana which
is achieved as the cause of suffering is eliminated. The mind experiences
complete freedom and liberation
be brought into being: the truth of the eightfold ariya path leading to
the cessation of suffering