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Buddhism Portal

Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one"). Buddha who was born as a prince in Kapilvastu, in modern day Nepal, lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by adherents as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering, achieve nirvana, and escape what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth. Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada—the oldest surviving branch—has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications Vajrayana, a subcategory of Mahayana, is recognized as a third branch. While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Various sources put the number of Buddhists in the world at between 230 million and 500 million, making it the world's fourth-largest religion.

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A monument to the shootings
The Hue Vesak shootings refer to the deaths of eight unarmed Buddhist civilians on May 8, 1963 in the city of Huế in South Vietnam, at the hands of the army and security forces of the government of Ngo Dinh Diem. The army and police fired guns and launched grenades into a crowd of Buddhists who had been protesting against a government ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on the day of Vesak, which commemorates the birth of Gautama Buddha. Diem's denial of governmental responsibility for the incident—he instead blamed the Vietcong—led to growing discontent among the Buddhist majority. The incident spurred a protest movement by Buddhists against the religious discrimination of the Roman Catholic-dominated Diem regime, known as the Buddhist crisis, and widespread large-scale civil disobedience among the South Vietnamese. On November 1, 1963, after six months of tension and growing opposition to the regime, generals from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam conducted a coup, which saw the removal and assassination of Diem.

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An early Mahayana Buddhist triad. From left to right, a Kushan devotee, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk. 2nd-3rd century CE, Gandhara.
Credit: PHGCOM

Mahayana is one of the two main existing schools of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. It was founded in India.

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Anne Hopkins Aitken

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Ho Yuen Hoe
Ho Yuen Hoe, later in life known as Venerable Ho (simplified Chinese: 净润法师; traditional Chinese: 淨潤法師; pinyin: Jìngrùn Fǎshī; 18 February 1908 – 11 January 2006), was a Buddhist nun affectionately known as Singapore's grand dame of charity in recognition of her life-long devotion in helping the old and needy. She was the abbess of Lin Chee Cheng Sia Temple and the founder in 1969 of the Man Fut Tong Nursing Home, the first Buddhist nursing home. Venerable Ho was relatively unknown to the public until 1996, when she was featured in a television programme – The Extraordinary People – at the age of 88. As a result, the public came to know more about her work and her nursing home. In 2001, she received the Public Service Award from the President of Singapore in recognition of her contribution to the country. Until her hospitalisation in November 2005 she was actively involved in charity work. Venerable Ho died on 11 January 2006, a month before her 98th birthday.

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Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Tenzin Gyatso
A bill to award a congressional gold medal to Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, in recognition of his many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights, and religious understanding.


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