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Todays Western religions revolve around a central God that is one and the same for all of the followers of that religion For instance a Catholic goes to Church and prays to the same God as the person sitting beside them There are many Eastern religions where that is not the case Buddhism one of the worlds oldest religions is one such instance Buddhism in fact stresses a more individual approach to spirituality In 563 BC in India a man named Siddartha Guatama was born into the ruling family of the Sakya people Because of his elevated position in society he was forced to live a life of seclusion When he was twenty-nine years old he ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of suffering and death in the world The next day he left his wife and son to search for a way to put an end to human suffering After six years of living ascetically he realized that the path to success and enlightenment was neither of the extremes of vast material possessions or the lack thereof but a balance between the two He called this the Middle Way By the time he was thirty-five Siddartha had achieved true enlightenment and earned the title Buddhaawakened one He was the fourth man recorded to have done so but is credited with the creation of the Buddhist religion Today Buddhism is one of the most commonly practiced Eastern religions It is also one of the most misunderstood Its characteristics are simple and strive only for spiritual enlightenment The critical element of Buddhism is what Buddha called the Four Noble Truths The First Noble Truth as related by Buddha is that suffering is unavoidable and universal to all beings It is suffering that teaches us the lessons we need to learn to become enlightened The Second Noble Truth reveals the root of that suffering desire Desires for things such as
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