AT THE CENTER
Buddhism is a religion based on the spiritual and moral precepts of Siddhartha Gautama (c. fifth century BCE), a teacher known as the Buddha, who stressed liberation from the cycle of suffering and rebirth. There are around 470 million Buddhists worldwide, the majority in East and Southeast Asia. Buddhism stresses the value of peace, and many Buddhist leaders and organizations today are outspoken in their promotion of non-violence. Protests by Buddhist monks have shaped the modern politics of Asia, particularly in Vietnam, Burma, and Tibet. Buddhism has no definitive scriptural canon; each of its main branches, Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan, accepts a wide variety of overlapping texts as authoritative.