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During the 500's B.C some Indians felt unhappy with the Hindu religion. Some left their homes
looking for peace and focusing their mind inward in positive thought (meditation). Some of these people
became religious teachers. One of these people was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama. As a man he
seemed to have everything. One day, he decided to leave his kingdom and explore the outside world. He
became shocked by the misery and poverty around him. He understood for the first time that people did not
have everything he had. He gave up all he had and became a monk. As he preached his message, he became
known as Buddha and started the religion Buddhism. In his teachings, he taught that there are Four Noble
Truths to seek spiritual truth, and that people could end suffering by following the Eightfold Path. By doing
so, he said that people could reach a state of perfect happiness called nirvana. Buddhism spread throughout
Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Korea. There are two main groups of Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism
teaches that Buddha was a great teacher but not a god. Mahayana Buddhism teaches that Buddha is a god
and that worshiping Buddha people will reach heaven when they die. There is a special type of Mahayana
Buddhism in Tibet. There, there are two types of leaders there; the Dalai Lama who leads the government and
the Panchen Lama who leads their religion. Tibetans consider both to be reincarnations of the Buddha. Today,
Buddhists live in India where the religion started, but there are over 376 million Buddhists worldwide today.