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For centuries Buddhism has been the dominant religion of the eastern world Bowker 56 Today it remains the predominant religion in China Korea Japan and much of Southeast Asia There is over 02-01 billion Buddhism in the world Bowker 67 Presently there are over 300000 Buddhists in the United States Bowker 67 Even the governor of California Jerry Brown accepted the religion Bowker 56 Buddhism began as an offspring of Hinduism in the country of India Bowker 66 The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama Bowker 56 Siddhartha was born in the 560 BC in India Bowker 45 His father Suddhodana was a ruler over a district near the Himalayas which is today the country of Nepal Bowker 46 Gautama eventually turned to life of meditation Bowker 67 While deep in meditation under a fig tree known as the Bohdi tree meaning tree if wisdom Harris 11 Gautama experienced the highest degree of god-consciousness called nirvana Harris 11 Gautama then became known as Budda the enlightened one Harris 11 He believed he had found the answers to the questions of pain and suffering Harris 11 As he began his teaching ministry he gained a quick audience with the people of India since many had became disillusioned with Hinduism Harris 11 By the time of his death at age 80 Buddhism had became a major force in India Harris 12 Three centuries later it had spread to all of Asia Harris 11 However seven hundred years later followers of Budda began to worship him as deity Harris 13 Three important concepts in understanding Buddhism are karma samsara and nirvana Harris 12 Karma refers to the law of cause and effect of a persons life reaping what one has sown Harris 13 Buddhists believe that every person must go through a process of birth and rebirth until he reaches the
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