35+ Interesting Facts About Buddhism

  1. Buddhism is the world’s 4th largest religion, with around 500 million followers.  
  2. Cambodia has the highest percentage of Buddhist population (97%) in the whole world.
  3. In Japan, at least 17 Buddhist monks mummified themselves between 1081 and 1903. This self-mummification process resulted after eating specific food for years before death. This food only contained tree nuts, buds, and roots. It removes muscle, fat, and moisture from the body and only retains necessary nutrients. The condition for acceptance of the mummification process was if the corpse did not show signs of decay for 1,000 days after death. (Source)
  4. China has the world’s largest Buddhist population (around 244 million).
  5. Around half of the Buddhist population follows Mahayana Buddhism. China, the Korean peninsula, Japan, and Vietnam have the highest number of practitioners of this Buddhist sect.
  6. The second major branch of Buddhism is Theravada Buddhism. It has followers in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
  7. A smaller Buddhist school, Vajrayana, is mainly followed in Bhutan, Mongolia, and Tibet (China). It is commonly known as Tibetan Buddhism.
  8. Buddhism originated in Ancient India. However, it could not gain much popularity in India, where less than 1% population follows Buddhism.
  9. More than 98% of Buddhists live in the Asia-Pacific region.
  10. Like many other Indian religions, Buddhism also believes in the continuous rebirth of a person.
  11. Charity (Dana) given to monks is considered a virtue in Buddhism that results in better rebirths.
  12. Monks can only eat solid food before noon.
  13. Buddhism does not believe in any supreme or creator God. Therefore, it can be called a godless religion
  14. Theravada Buddhism is purely atheist, while adherents of Mahayana Buddhism worship several deities. 
  15. Buddhism started to spread outside India during the era of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who later adopted Buddhism.
  16. During the Middle Age period, the spread of Buddhism in Central Asia and Persia suffered a setback due to the rise of Islam in these regions.
  17. In Tibetan Buddhism, sexual yoga (Karmamudra) with a visualized or physical consort is a religious practice. (Source)
  18. Former CEO of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs was the son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, but he was a follower of Buddhism.
  19. Buddha is not considered a god but an extraordinary person. However, Buddhists worship him to show their respect for him. The religion teaches its followers to achieve enlightenment (wisdom and inner peace) through meditation and other religious practices. 
    A statue of Buddha
    There are several concepts about Buddha in Buddhism

  20. Mahayana Buddhism has a concept of three bodies or modes of Buddha. According to this idea, the Buddha had an earthly, heavenly, and invisible mode. This concept is also known as Trinity in Buddhism.
  21. The Buddhist New Year is celebrated every year in January by Tibetan Buddhism, in March by Mahayana Buddhism, and in April by Theravada Buddhism. 
  22. Most of the Buddhist monks wear orange robes. The reason is a readily available dye of that color centuries ago at the time of the emergence of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Comparatively, Tibetan monks are usually seen in maroon color robes. (Source)
  23. Buddhist monks and nuns must shave their heads every two months. They are also not allowed to dye grey hair. (Source)  
  24. The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of a 41-year-old Buddhist monk shows that meditation kept his brain eight years younger. (Source)
  25. The construction of two high statues of Buddha (175 ft. and 120 ft. tall) took place in Afghanistan during the 4th and 5th centuries. These were demolished in 2001 by the then regime of Afghanistan.
  26. Buddhism originated from Hinduism, and both religions have several similarities. Buddhism believes in the Hindu concepts of the wheel of dharma, karma (effect of an action), reincarnation, moksha (salvation), the existence of several hells and heavens, swastika, om, lotus flower, and meditation.
  27. Many Buddhists usually avoid meat and alcohol. Fasting also has religious significance in Buddhism.
  28. The sacred texts of Buddhism are collectively known as Tripitaka. These include the teachings of Buddha, initially written in the 1st Century CE.
  29. Clement of Alexandria was the first Christian who mentioned Buddhism in his writings around 202 AD.  
  30. Buddhists believe in the four noble truths according to Buddha’s teachings. These truths include suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the path to the end of suffering.
  31. Buddhism teaches the path to end suffering through its Noble Eightfold Path. The steps in this path include correct understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
  32. Buddhism has five precepts for the morality of its followers. These five rules teach them to refrain from killing, stealing, intoxication, wrong speech, and misusing sensual pleasure. (Source)
  33. The median age of Buddhists is 36 years. It is the second-highest median age among major religions after Jews (37 years).
  34. The Bodhi tree is considered sacred in Buddhism. They believe Buddha achieved enlightenment while sitting under this fig tree in Bihar (India). It is a site of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
  35. There are four main pilgrimage sites in Buddhism. These include Bodh Gaya, the deer park at Varanasi, Lumbini (birthplace of Buddha), and Kusinara (final death of Buddha). All these sites are in India. After Buddha’s death, his ashes were buried in the stupas of these places.
  36. The Spring Statue Buddha in China is the second tallest statue in the world. Four of the seven tallest statues belong to Buddha. (Source)
  37. In China, a company is preparing Buddha-like pears using a plastic mold. (Source)

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