Buddhism is considered one of the world’s largest and oldest religions. Currently, there are estimated to be roughly 535 million people who identify as Buddhists. This makes Buddhism the fifth largest religion in the world behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Atheism. While there are common beliefs and traditions between Buddhists, a majority of followers of this religion follow their own paths when it comes to daily practices. Still, there is plenty of common ground between different followers. Learn more about this world religion by reviewing these fascinating facts about Buddhism. 

A Shrinking Concern

As mentioned, Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world. Statistics highlight that in 2015 people who identified as part of this religion comprised 7% of the entire population of the planet. However, these numbers also point out an interesting fact about the future. According to reports from years after 2015, the number of people who identify as Buddhist is shrinking at a noticeable rate. Experts believe that the number of Buddhists will significantly lower in coming decades. This is predominantly due to the fact that fertility rates among specific Buddhist groups are lower than worldwide averages.

An Origin in India

Where a religion was founded has very little to do with where it is practiced. This is exemplified perfectly with Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama, the individual considered to be the Buddha, lived and taught in the regions of Nepal and India. However, Buddhism is not a major religion in either of these areas. In fact, it is highly considered to be a minority religion in both places. Still, there is a lot of influence from this region found in Buddhist practices and teachings. 

Since Siddhartha Gautama was raised in Hindu culture, many of his beliefs and ideas have origins in Hinduism. Interestingly, there are also many Hindus who believe that Buddha was actually an incarnation of a prominent deity. 

A Higher Average

Estimating life expectancies can become quite complicated on an international platform. Though the worldwide life expectancy of an average person is 72 years old, the international average age is 30. This means that a majority of people alive on the planet fall into the age range of 30-35. However, the average Buddhist is aged about 36. This means that most Buddhists are older than the global average of people alive on the planet. While a concrete reason for this has not been learned, it is a fact that experts find intriguing.

A Part of Everything

Though beliefs will often vary between one Buddhist and another, almost all agree when it comes to their role in nature. Buddhists believe that humans exist as a part of the natural cycle, a philosophy that aligns with theories surrounding biological sciences. This means that most Buddhists try not to have a negative impact on the planet. Animals and plants are treated with respect and reverence, with many Buddhists adopting vegan or vegetarian lifestyles to limit animal consumption. Despite this, there are many Buddhists who eat meat and take time to honor the animal who died for the meal.

A New Life

Another core belief that most Buddhists share is the concept of rebirth. Buddhists believe that each life leads into another, where the soul is reborn in another body. This continues on and on through a soul’s lifetime until the individual connected to the soul learns enough to transcend the cycle. Eventually, one who no longer experiences reincarnation due to attaining a higher mode of existence is one who has reached Nirvana. 

A Rich Tapestry 

Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest and largest religions. Though practices may vary between one group and another, the majority of people who follow this religion tend to have a lot of overlap when it comes to their core beliefs. 

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