Over the last 30 years Buddhism has seen growth in the West as its non-dogmatic nature rationality possibility of a spiritual guide and opportunity for personal transformation have all made it attractive to post-modern society.
'Buddha' means 'one who has woken up'. Most people live asleep never knowing or seeing life as it really is. As a consequence they suffer. A buddha is someone who awakens to the knowledge of the world as it truly is and so finds release from suffering.
A Buddha teaches out of sympathy and compassion for the suffering of beings and for the benefit and welfare of all beings.
Buddhism has a significant tradition of seeking to convert but Buddhism can coexist with other faiths.
Buddhism has no omnipotent creator God who exists apart from this or any other universe. Belief in a God of that kind is not part of Buddhism
All existence is "dukkha"; without permanence and therefore filled with suffering. Dukkha comes from a search to find something permanent in a world where nothing permanently exists
Dukkha can end in enlightenment and the state known as nirvana where all action and interaction ceases. Life is a continuing process of birth and death but there is no soul that is reborn in the continuing process of birth and death only the process of one moment giving rise to the next.
The form in which one is reborn animal or human in heaven or in hell depends on karma-impersonal ethical law. One can escape from this process by attaining nirvana or enlightenment
Nirvana can be reached by following the Eightfold Path of: