Introduction to Buddhism II. Diffusion in the World

Giovanni Lapis. Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy)

The term "Buddhism" refers to a religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices throughout Asia, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha. "Buddha" is a Sanskrit word meaning "the awakened one" or "the enlightened one". The fundamental doctrinal core of Buddhism, virtually common to any denomination, is a path towards the elimination of ignorance and craving, in order to obtain a blissful state, free from any kind of suffering, called Nirvana. Buddhism has played a central role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of South Asia, China Japan, Tibet and many more, rooting itself in different social, historical and cultural environment. Moreover, during the 20th century it spread to the West, and it continues adapting to meet the cultural and spiritual needs of the modern globalized world.