Origins of Buddhism

Buddhism originated in the Indian subcontinent around 2,500 years ago. Its teachings derive from Gautama Siddhartha, also known as Shakyamuni, who dedicated his life to finding the means to liberate people from the universal sufferings of life and develop spiritual strength. His teachings were later compiled into sutras, and numerous schools of Buddhism sprang up as his teachings spread after his death.

The Lotus Sutra is highly revered in the Mahayana tradition that reached East Asia. It emphasizes the bodhisattva ideal of helping others to come to a true understanding of life and clarifies that all people possess the life-state of Buddhahood. Nichiren, a 13th-century Japanese priest, considered that the Lotus Sutra contained the fullest expression of Shakyamuni''s compassion.