This religion can seem difficult to understand when you first begin but if you take the time to learn the basic tenants, then you can find your own happiness and sense of self-fulfillment that many miss in life.
There are two main schools of Buddhism. There is the Mahayana and the Theravada. Each of these facets of Buddhist teachings is different but they have many of the same similarities. Perhaps the biggest difference is in how bodhi or enlightenment is reached and what is required to aspire to the level of the Dali Lama.
The Buddhist religion and philosophy is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. There are four main beliefs that the Mahayana and Theravada believe in. These are: the Middle Way, Dependent Origination, the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The journey to Buddhahood is the highest attainment that anyone following the religion Buddhism can attain.
Many people associate the Buddhist religion with meditation practice, a Buddha statue and Buddhist practice. These are all true for this belief. Meditation is a huge part of attaining enlightenment. It requires the person to enter into a Zen like state in which they search for the meanings of life.
Many people who practice this religion will have a Buddha statue as a reminder of the trials and tribulations that Gautama Buddha went through on his journey to enlightenment. No one is asking you to fast and remain still for forty-nine days, as the Buddha did, but it does require some discipline.
One of the main tenants of this philosophy and religion is that you should not cause harm to others. The religion and spirituality Buddhism teaches is that the way to spiritual enlightenment is through letting transgressions go.
Yes, there will be pain and suffering in life but each person should hold nothing against others for their wrongdoings. To hold transgressions and hatred close to the heart only stops the person from growing spiritually.
Buddhism is experiencing an awakening in the West as more people are turning to aspects of this philosophy and applying them to their lives. They are finding that the Buddhist practice of meditation is actually a huge stress reliever. There are even classes, such as in Yoga, which offer some of the Buddhists practices into a way that Westerners can utilize in their lives. If you are suffering from stress and a feeling of emptiness, then perhaps you should give the Buddhist philosophy a try.