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first sermon
After achieving enlightenment at the age of 35, the Buddha spent several weeks meditating on the various aspects of truth, which he referred to as dharma. Initially he was hesitant to share his teachings because he believed that the complexity of his meditational vision would be too difficult for humans to grasp, leading to further confusion and suffering.[Source: Jacob Kinnard, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2018, Encyclopedia.com]

Initially, Buddha saw himself as a teacher and physician whose calling it was show people the way to enlightenment. But at first he had doubts about his ability to be a teacher. He had to be urged on by a supernatural force. According to tradition, the gods approached the Buddha at this time to persuade him to accept his role as a teacher. They appealed to his compassion and assured him that there were people capable of understanding the dharma. The story goes that only after the intercession of the great gods, Brahma and Indra, was The Buddha persuaded that his efforts would benefit of all human beings.

One god used the analogy of a lotus pond to illustrate this point: some lotuses remain submerged or buried in mud, while others have risen to the water's surface, and still others stand above the water, untouched by it. Similarly, in this world, there are people at different levels of development. When faced with this challenge, Buddha decided to share the insight he had gained and traveled to nearby Sarnath to deliver his first discourse on the dharma.

Websites and Resources on Buddhism: Buddha Net buddhanet.net/e-learning/basic-guide ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Internet Sacred Texts Archive sacred-texts.com/bud/index ; Introduction to Buddhism webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/buddhaintro ; Early Buddhist texts, translations, and parallels, SuttaCentral suttacentral.net ; East Asian Buddhist Studies: A Reference Guide, UCLA web.archive.org ; View on Buddhism viewonbuddhism.org ; Tricycle: The Buddhist Review tricycle.org ; BBC - Religion: Buddhism bbc.co.uk/religion ; A sketch of the Buddha's Life accesstoinsight.org ; What Was The Buddha Like? by Ven S. Dhammika buddhanet.net ; Jataka Tales (Stories About Buddha) sacred-texts.com ; Illustrated Jataka Tales and Buddhist stories ignca.nic.in/jatak ; Buddhist Tales buddhanet.net ; Arahants, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by Bhikkhu Bodhi accesstoinsight.org

Buddha, The Teacher

After his enlightenment, The Buddha spent much of time teaching, and did so until his death around age 80. According to Buddhist scriptures, Siddhartha could have remained in his enlightened state of eternal bliss for eternity, but he chose to return to the real world and spread the word of the enlightenment to other people. Others had experienced the enlightenment before him but they were a class of Buddhas known as “pratyekabuddhas” , those who achieved enlightenment through their own unaided efforts but were unable to help others . The Buddha Siddhartha differed from them in that he was enlightened and given the mission of teaching others. This historical Siddhartha was one on many radical thinkers of his time who challenged Hinduism's beliefs.

The Buddha preached what he had learned and attracted a great number of disciples. To his followers, Buddha was known as Sakyamuni (the sage of the Sakya clan). New York Times art critic Holland Cotter wrote, “The Buddha was before all else a great teacher...You might describe his entire career as explaining mortality to a class of clueless, distracted, adolescents — us — using catchy stories and familiar pictures. And he came to the subject, umpteen rebirths earlier, pretty clueless himself. This is important. It makes a teacher a bit of a hero if you know he or she has walked the talk.”

Siddhartha often made his points based on stories from his earlier incarnations. When he was Prince Mahasttva, for example, he said he met a hungry tigress while he was walking in the jungle. After being confronted with the fierce animal, , exhausted after giving birth to seven cubs, the story goes, Mahasattva thought, "Now the time has come for me to sacrifice myself! For a long time I have served this putrid body and given it bed and clothes, food and drink, and conveyances of all kinds. It cannot subsist for ever, because it is like the urine which must come out. Today I will use it for a sublime deed. Then it will act for me as a boat which helps me to cross the ocean of birth and death." After saying that prince cut his throat with a sharp piece of bamboo and the tigress, who was too weak to perform the killing herself, consumed every part of his body except for the bones.

Buddha’s First Sermon

Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath, the site of the First Sermon

Seven weeks after his enlightenment, The Budda left his seat under the tree and decided to teach others what he had learned. The Buddha's First Sermon was delivered to the ascetics who had previously accompanied him during his meditations and became disillusioned with. They congregated around him as he preached about the first turning of the Wheel of the Dharma. He presented the fundamental principles of his understanding and realization of enlightenment to these five shramanas. The First Sermon marks the inception of Buddhism.[Source: Jacob Kinnard, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2018, Encyclopedia.com]

Buddha encouraged those who listened to him to follow a path he called "The Middle Way," which is one of balance rather than extremism. He discoursed with five ascetics, who became his first disciples. He First Sermon was conducted in a deer park in Sarnath, on the outskirts of the city of Benares (Varanasi). Buddhists refer to that initial sermon as "Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Law," which means that the Buddha had embarked on a journey (turning the wheel) on behalf of the law of Righteousness (dharma). [Source: Kathryn Selig Brown, Independent Scholar, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1993]

The First Sermon begins: “And the Blessed one thus addressed the five Bhikkhus [monks]. ' "There are two extremes, O Bhikkhus, which he who has given up the world, ought to avoid. What are rhese two extremes'? A life given to pleasures, devoted to pleasures and lusts: this is degrading, sensual, vulgar, ignoble, and profitless; and a life given to rnortifications: this is painful, ignoble, and profitless. By avoiding these two extremes, O Bhikkhus, the Tathagata [a title of Buddha meaning perhaps "he who has arrived at the truth"] has gained the knowledge of the Middle Path which leads to insight, which leads to wisdom which conduces to calm, to knowledge, co the Sambodhi [total enlightenment], to Nirvana [state of release from samsara, the cycle of existence and rebirth]. [Source: T.W. Rhys Davids and Herman Oldenberg, trans, Vinyaya Texts, in F. Max Mueller, ed., The Sacred Books of the East, 50 vols., (Clarendon, 1879-1910), Vol 13. pp. 94-97, Brooklyn College]

The Buddha’s First Sermon at Sarnath was in many ways to Buddhists what the Sermon on the Mount is to Christians. In this sermon The Buddha introduced the Middle Way, the Four Holy Truths of Buddhism and the Eightfold Path — three of Buddhism’s most basic doctrines. His message to the five ascetics who attended this sermon was that asceticism was not the answer but the the Middle Way between self-indulgence and self-torture was. In his first discourse to the five ascetics on Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, The Buddha said "Open ye your ears, O bhikkus, deliverance from death is found. I teach you. I preach the law. If ye walk according to my teaching, ye shall be partakers in a short time of that for which sons of noble families have left their homes to lead a life of homelessness, it being the highest end of my spiritual effort. Ye shall, even in this present life apprehend the truth itself and see it face to face". The five ascetics became the first Buddhist monks and today are regarded with great reverence.

Buddha Wanders Around India

For the next 40 years the Buddha traveled almost without stop throughout India, sharing the dharma and attracting followers. During this period as a teacher The Buddha wandered from place to place with a group of loyal followers. He became famous. Crowds showed up to see him. Sometimes he would sit and talk and then hit the road again.

The Buddha covered much of northern India in what are now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states when he was an itinerant monk and a teacher after receiving enlightenment. The Buddha’s devotees fell into two groups: monks devoted to meditation and lay people with families. During the monsoon season, Buddha and his followers settled in one place for three months and were dependent local people and lay to provide them with food and shelter. This period, known later as the rain season retreat, became an essential element of Buddhist monasticism as well as the Buddhist lay community. The first monasteries were set up because travel was impossible during the monsoon season and the monks needed some place to stay. The help providing by lay people is the basis for the relationship between monks and lay people that exists today.

Some of the Buddha's disciples wandered the countryside teaching. Some monks settled in small communities throughout India. They debated amongst themselves, established a formal religious canon and an accepted body of religious practices, and shared the Buddha's teachings with the laypeople. The laity, in turn, supported the monks materially by providing them with shelter, food, robes, and alms bowls. The Buddha established the Jetavana monastery near Savatthi and over the years spent he more and more time at there, supported by gifts from King Bimbisara, who provided support in return for the merit the king hoped such acts would give him.

Buddha Sermons

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In his Second Discourse The Buddha addressed the topic of fire worship, a ritual at the heart of Hinduism, and the whole notion of addressing the world through one’ senses, which he said causes confusion and should be ignored. In a deer park not far from where he was born The Buddha gave his famous “Discourse of the Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma." Dharma, he said, is the eternal truth to which he had been "awakened."

In the years that followed The Buddha gave more sermons and instructed his disciples on methods that could be used to discover the eternal truth. The Buddha spoke on a number of subjects and often used stories about monkeys, wealthy lords and fishermen and similes such as comparing “hold of the mind” to “trainer’s hook” used to pacify a “savage elephant” to make his points. He presented himself as a man not a god of myth and thereby argued that anyone could achieve what he had done. The Buddha attracted a great many followers.

The Buddha criticized the Hindu caste system and said that his form of religion was open to anyone. He adapted his message to the audiences he faced, saying, “I know well that when I approached various large assemblies, even before I had sat down there or had spoken or begun to teach, whatever was their sort I made myself of a like sort, whatever their language so was my language. And I rejoiced them with talk on Dharma.”

Buddha’s Teachings

The Buddha spent the remaining forty years of his life preaching his ascetic doctrine and making vast numbers of converts. He taught that nirvana could only be achieved through first realizing the Four Noble Truths: 1) that all life is suffering; 2) that suffering is caused by desires; 3) that to eliminate suffering, one must eliminate desires; and 4) that this can be done by following the Eightfold Path, which includes right thoughts, right intentions, right deeds, and the right concentration in meditation. Nirvana can only be attained through the extinguishment of one’s ego by following the Eightfold Path. He soon had many disciples and spent the last 45 years of his life walking around northeastern India spreading his teachings. Although the Buddha presented himself only as a teacher and not as a god or object of worship, he is said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime [Source: Kathryn Selig Brown, Steven M. Kossak and Edith W. Watts, The Art of South, and Southeast Asia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York]

Buddha teaching

Vinay Lal, professor of history at UCLA, wrote: “The very first disciples he acquired became the members of the Buddhist sangha or association, and slowly his fame spread. It is said that Kasshyapa, a renowned Brahmin sage, came to realize the futility of worshipping the fire (agni) upon encountering the Buddha, and similarly the Buddha was able to persuade king Bimbisara, who would become his patron, that the sacrificial killing of innocent animals could not be construed as adding merit or happiness to one’s life...Over the years, though his father endeavored to restore to him the kingdom that he had renounced, the Buddha could not be tempted to abandon his calling; eventually, his own son, Rahula, became his disciple. The oral sources relate how some people conspired to kill him: a huge boulder was thrown down upon him and some disciples gathered around him, but it is said that the boulder split in two, and a piece fell on either side of the Buddha. [Source: Vinay Lal, professor of history, UCLA. sscnet.ucla.edu ==]

“The Buddha became the great exponent of ahimsa or non-violence, but he resolutely refused to claim for himself any miraculous powers. One of the most famous episodes in Buddha’s life relates how, since his fame had spread, a woman once came to him with her dead child, and asked him to bring him back to life. While consoling her, the Buddha asked her to bring him a few mustard seeds from any house where no death had taken place; and though she went from door to door, this woman had to return to the Buddha with the news that she had not been able to find any such house. This would be the great teaching of the Buddha: whatever is born must die, and there is no permanence except sorrow; and to free us from this sorrow, one must become free from desire itself.” ==

Arhats (Buddha's Disciples)

According to tradition, the Buddha's first sermon was so powerful that his first five disciples attained enlightenment after only one week, becoming arhats (worthy ones). These five followers then began to teach the dharma that the Buddha had shared with them, marking the beginning of the Buddhist sangha, the community and institution of monks central to the religion. The Buddha's immediate disciples not only were also responsible for orally preserving his teachings.

Buddha instructed his disciples on methods that could be used to discover the eternal truth. One passage from an early Buddhist text goes: “Ah, happy indeed the Arhants! In them no craving’s found. The “I am” conceit is rooted out; confusion’s net is burst. Lust-free they have attained; translucent is the mind of them. Unspotted in the world are they...all cankers gone.”

The first five ascetics who became the first monks under The Buddha were joined by 55 others. They together with The Buddha are known as the 61 arhats. The were ordained by The Buddha by repeating the simple phrase: “Come monk; well-taught in the Dharma; fare the attainment of knowledge for making a complete anguish.” Others that came later were ordained after cutting their hair and beard, donning a robe and uttering three times: “I go to The Buddha for refuge, I go to Dharma for refuge, I go to the sangha for refuge.” This ritual remains the basis of the Theravada monk ordination process today.

Ananda was The Buddha's constant companion. The Buddha's cousin, he accompanied the Buddha for more than 20 years and appears in many early Buddhist texts. His two chief disciples — Sariputta (Sariputra) and Maudgalyayana (Moggallana, Maha moggallana) — were two ascetics who for were known for seeking the Dharma to deathlessness. They were the Buddha's first converts. Sariputta was the Buddha's most trusted disciple and was often depicted as the wisest. Sariputta. He served as the Buddha's son's teacher when he joined the community of monks. [Source: Jacob Kinnard, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2018, Encyclopedia.com]

Mahakassapa,was ranked the highest for his ability to interpret the Buddha’s brief statements. Aa Brahman who became a close disciple of the Buddha, he presided over the first Buddhist council at Rajagriha (modern Rajgir, in Bihar) and was later celebrated in Ch'an (Zen in Japan) as the recipient of the Buddha's special, esoteric teachings. When asked a question about the Dharma, the Buddha is said to have held up a flower and Mahakassapa smiled, silently signifying his reception of this special teaching.

Buddha's Daily Routine

The Sumangala-Vilasini Buddhaghosa's Commentary on the Digha-Nikaya reads: Habits are of two kinds, the profitable, and the unprofitable. Of these, the unprofitable habits of The Blessed One had been extirpated by his attainment of saintship at the time he sat cross-legged under the Bo-tree. Profitable habits, however, remained to The Blessed One. [Source: Translated from the Sumangala-Vilasini (i.4510), Buddhaghosa's Commentary on the Digha-Nikaya, Internet Indian History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu

These were fivefold: his before-breakfast habits; his after-breakfast habits; his habits of the first watch of the night; his habits of the middle watch of the night; his habits of the last watch of the night.... When he had thus finished his after-breakfast duties, he would rise from the excellent Buddha-seat, and if he desired to bathe, he would enter the bath-house, and cool his limbs with water made ready by his body-servant. Then the body-servant would fetch the Buddha-seat, and spread it in the perfumed chamber. And The Blessed One, putting on a tunic of double red cloth, and binding on his girdle, and throwing his upper robe over his right shoulder, would go thither and sit down, and for a while remain solitary, and plunged in meditation. After that would come the priests from here and from there to wait on The Blessed One. And some would propound questions, some would ask for exercises in meditation, and some for a sermon; and in granting their desires The Blessed One would complete the first watch of the night. These were his habits of the first watch of the night.

Arhats at Sam Poh Chi Temple in Malaysia

And now, when The Blessed One had finished his duties of the first watch of the night, and when the priests had done him obeisance and were departing, the deities throughout the entire system of ten thousand worlds would seize the opportunity to draw near to The Blessed One and ask him any questions that might occur to them, even such as were but four syllables long. And The Blessed One in answering their questions would complete the middle watch of the night. These were his habits of the middle watch of the night.

The last watch of the night he would divide into three parts, and as his body would be tired from so much sitting since the morning, he would spend one part in pacing up and down to free himself from the discomfort. In the second part he would enter the perfumed chamber, and would lie down mindful and conscious, and on his right side after the manner of a lion. In the third part he would rise, and taking his seat, he would gaze over the world with the eye of a Buddha, in order to discover any individual who, under some former Buddha, with alms-giving, or keeping the precepts, or other meritorious deeds, might have made the earnest wish. These were his habits of the last watch of the night.

Buddha's Before Breakfast Alms Begging

The Sumangala-Vilasini Buddhaghosa reads: His before-breakfast habits were as follows: The Blessed One would rise early in the morning, and when, out of kindness to his body-servant and for the sake of bodily comfort, he had rinsed his mouth and otherwise cared for his person, he would sit retired until it was time to go begging. And when it came time, he would put on his tunic, girdle, and robes, and taking his bowl, he would enter the village or the town for alms. Sometimes he went alone, sometimes surrounded by a congregation of priests; sometimes without anything especial happening, sometimes with the accompaniment of many prodigies.

While, namely, the Lord of the World is entering for alms, gentle winds clear the ground before him; the clouds let fall drops of water to lay the dust in his pathway, and then become a canopy over him; other winds bring flowers and scatter them in his path; elevations of ground depress themselves, and depressions elevate themselves; wherever he places his foot, the ground is even and pleasant to walk upon, or lotus-flowers received his tread. No sooner has he set his right foot within the city-gate than the rays of six different colors which issue from his body race hither and thither over palaces and pagodas, and deck them, as it were, with the yellow sheen of gold, or with the colors of a painting. The elephants, the horses, the birds, and other animals give forth melodious sounds; likewise the tomtoms, lutes, and other musical instruments, and the ornaments worn by the people.

By these tokens the people would know, "The Blessed One has now entered for alms;" and in their best tunics and best robes, with perfumes, flowers, and other offerings, they issue forth from their houses into the street. Then, having zealously paid homage to The Blessed One with the perfumes, flowers, and other offerings, and done him obeisance, some would implore him, "Reverend Sir, give us ten priests to feed;" some, "Give us twenty;" and some, "Give us a hundred priests." And they would take the bowl of The Blessed One, and prepare a seat for him, and zealously show their reverence for him by placing food in the bowl.

When he had finished his meal, The Blessed One, with due consideration for the different dispositions of their minds, would so teach them the Doctrine that some would become established in the refuges, some in the five precepts, some would become converted, some would attain to the fruit of either once returning, or of never returning, while some would become established in the highest fruit, that of saintship, and would retire from the world. Having shown this kindness to the multitude, he would rise from his seat, and return to the monastery.

On his arrival there, he would take his seat in a pavilion, on the excellent Buddha-mat which had been spread for him, where he would wait for the priests to finish their meal. When the priests had finished their meal, the body-servant would announce the fact to The Blessed One. Then The Blessed One would enter the perfumed chamber. These, then, were his before-breakfast habits.

monks receiving alms in Thailand

Buddha's Morning Routine and Breakfast

The Sumangala-Vilasini Buddhaghosa reads: Then The Blessed One, having thus finished his before-breakfast duties, would first sit in the perfumed chamber, on a seat that had been spread for him by his body-servant, and would wash his feet. Then, taking up his stand on the landing of the jeweled staircase which led to the perfumed chamber, he would exhort the congregation of the priests, saying, "O priests, diligently work out your salvation; for not often occur the appearance of a Buddha in the world and existence among men and the propitious moment and retirement from the world and the opportunity to hear the true Doctrine." [Source: Translated from the Sumangala-Vilasini (i.4510), Buddhaghosa's Commentary on the Digha-Nikaya, Internet Indian History Sourcebook]

At this point some would ask The Blessed One for exercises in meditation, and The Blessed One would assign them exercises suited to their several characters. Then all would do obeisance to The Blessed One, and go to the places where they were in the habit of spending the night or the day - some to the forest, some to the foot of trees, some to the hills, and so on, some to the heaven of the Four Great Kings, . . . and some to Vasavatti's heaven.

Then The Blessed One, entering the perfumed chamber, would, if he wished, lie down for a while, mindful and conscious, and on his right side after the manner of a lion. And secondly, his body being now refreshed, he would rise, and gaze over the world. And thirdly, the people of the village or town near which he might be dwelling, who had given him breakfast, would assemble after breakfast at the monastery, again in their best tunics and their best robes, and with perfumes, flowers, and other offerings.

Thereupon The Blessed One, when his audience had assembled, would approach in such miraculous manner as was fitting; and taking his seat in the lecture-hall, on the excellent Buddha-mat which had been spread for him, he would teach the Doctrine, as suited the time and occasion. And when he perceived it was time, he would dismiss the audience, and the people would do obeisance to The Blessed One, and depart. These were his after-breakfast habits.

Miracles of Buddha

The Gautama Buddha allegedly performed miracles not unlike those of Jesus Christ. It is said that he gained his superhuman powers through deep meditation in which he tore himself away from the earthly world and attained a state beyond the physical limitations of the human body. Buddha, Moses and Jesus are all known for miracles involving power over nature and their bodies but as a rule the miracles performed by the Buddha benefitted only a few people, particularly while those performed by Jesus and Moses affected a much larger crowd. The following are some miracles attributed to him. [Source: “The Long Discourses of the Buddha, A Translation of the Digha Níkaya” by Maurice Walshe, East West Insights blog, hosbeg.com ++]

miracle at Sravasti: when The Buddha supernaturally multiplied his body

The Twin Miracle was one of the first miracles performed by the Buddha. According to Buddhist scripture, when Gautama Buddha returned to his father’s kingdom after achieving enlightenment, people there were not convinced that the Buddha had actually attained enlightenment. To show that he had in fact attained enlightenment, the Buddha radiated flames from the upper part of his body, and emitted streams of water from the lower part of his body. He alternated the flames and water from top to bottom and left to right. Both flames and water were produced simultaneously, which is why it is called the “Twin Miracle” (Yamaka-patihariya). ++

The second major miracle attributed the Buddha is his immediate taming of a wild elephant. According to this story, Gautama Buddha had an envious cousin named Devadatta who was determined to destroy the Buddha. One day, Devadatta sent a crazed elephant called Nalagiri to kill the Buddha. As the elephant came near the Buddha, a woman frightened by the animal accidentally dropped her baby at the Buddha’s feet. When the demented elephant was so close it seemed that he would soon kill the Buddha and the baby, the Buddha calmly stretched out his hand and touched the elephant. The elephant instantly became calm. In some versions of the story the elephant knelt down quietly before the Buddha. ++

Another popular miracle of the Buddha is similar to Moses’ parting of the Red Sea. According to this story, Buddha once found himself in a heavily flooded place. The Buddha commanded the flood waters to separate and stand back so that he could make his way to dry land. The flood waters responded to the Buddha’s words and separated so that the Buddha could pass through. No one other than the Buddha was helped this miracle. In contrast, Moses parted the Red Sea so that perhaps two million Israelites could escape Egypt and slavery under the Pharaoh. Jesus calmed a terrible storm to save the lives of his disciples.

Turning dirty water into clean water is to be one of the most often-told miracles of Buddha. One day, the Buddha was thirsty and asked his disciple Ananda to fetch him some water from a well nearby. Anada did as he was told but when he returned told the Buddha of the water was unfit for drinking and practically all chaff, grass and dirt. The Buddha told the disciple to get him the water any way. Ananda obeyed him and brought him the filthy water. The Buddha asked him several times, and every time the water was not drinkable. Finally, the disciple went to the well one last time, and this time when he drew the water, the water was so clean and clear it sparkled. In a similar story, Jesus turned water into wine while attending a wedding. He did this because the wedding host had run out of wine for his many guests. Buddha is also said to have walked on water. When Jesus did it, it was a demonstration to build faith among the disciples.

It was also said that the Buddha passed through solid objects as if through space, rose and sank in the ground as if in the water, walked through mountains, and dove in and out of earth. It is also said that the Buddha travelled to other worlds, like the world of Brahma, with or without his body, and traveled to the heavens to school the gods and returned. After Jesus’s resurrection, he entered a sealed room where the Apostles were hiding in fear. He entered the room by passing through the walls or a closed door.To calm their fears, he twice said “Peace to you.” After being seen by approximately 500 people, he blessed his disciples and ascended into heaven.

Tibetan Buddhist parable of the Arhats

The Buddha was said to have had the gift of Divine seeing — the ability to see past lives, know a person’s present thoughts, and foresee future events. There are no references of Buddha’s using these powers affect or influence anyone. Jesus demonstrated similar powere when talked with the Samaritan woman. He knew her personal history: that she had had five husbands and was currently living with a man that was not her husband. The woman was amazed by his insights and told people in her village, many of whom became followers of Jesus.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: East Asia History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu , “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org, Asia for Educators, Columbia University; Asia Society Museum “The Essence of Buddhism” Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius, 1922, Project Gutenberg, Virtual Library Sri Lanka; “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “Encyclopedia of the World's Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures: Volume 5 East and Southeast Asia” edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1993); BBC, Wikipedia, National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2024

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