2,500 years ago, Gautama Sakyamuni, better known as the Buddha, did not receive instruction from an angel or have a personal encounter with the Creator. He did not have a divine vision or a supernatural power surge. He was definitely not an average man, yet he swore he was neither a god, an angel, nor a saint when his admirers wanted to know who he was. He responded, "I am awake," when they asked. His name Buddha derives from the Sanskrit verb budh, which means to awaken and to know. Buddha is the Sanskrit word for "Enlightened One" or "Awakened One."
Through his own labour and discipline, the Buddha attained enlightenment and salvation. The idea that redemption can be attained on one's own, without supernatural intervention, but instead via deeds of good deed, bodily and spiritual effort, and meditation, was Buddhism's greatest gift. Buddhism was the first significant self-help religion and the first whose portals of wisdom were thrown open to all, regardless of rank or caste, and written in the vernacular of the people it served. It was unconstrained by tradition or ritual, dependence on higher castes, or even a superior divine will, but rather by wisdom, pragmatism, and discipline. It is also a religion that places more emphasis on evidence than on faith. Buddha admonished his disciples to only accept things as real if they had personally experienced them to be true. “Do
Two-thirds of the world's population adopted Buddha's democratic ideal of spiritual liberation for all people, not just a small elite, and India, China, Japan, and the Near East became civilized. Buddhist monks used established trade routes to shed light on what had previously been barbarisms by bringing culture and its technologies—for instance, written language and such arts as lacquer and silk production to Japan.
Buddhist Global Relief and the Tzu Chi Foundation are two organisations that feed thousands and tens of thousands of people each year and rely on volunteer labour to help with disaster relief, medical care, and environmental projects like recycling in addition to alleviating chronic hunger and malnutrition.
Buddha said that when one gives someone food, one is giving them five things: life, beauty, happiness, strength, and mental clarity. Giving these five things results in receiving life, beauty, happiness, strength, and mental clarity on both a physical and spiritual level.