Buddhism, the fourth largest religion in the world, being exceeded in numbers only by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism was founded in Northern India by the first known Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. In 535 BCE he attained enlightenment and assumed the title Lord Buddha (one who has awakened).Edit

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Comment by David L. Brooks on May 2, 2010 at 6:03pm
In other Asian countries, Buddha's birthday is historically celebrated on a different day (April 8) is the most common other date recognized. The dates of birth of famous historical figures is almost always under dispute - similar to how the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christ's birth on a different dates, and also why different religions and civilizations use separate calendars. Here in Japan, Buddha's birthday is hardly even noticed although ostensibly 90% of the population professes to be Buddhist which was imported from China via Korean and Chinese missionaries -- while at the same time 96% considered themselves to be followers of Shinto, the country's native animistic religion. My wife, Shizuko, was born on April 8th in Tokyo, and over the years a lot of our local family ceremonies and events have centered around varying aspects and prescriptions of both religions. To give concrete examples, weddings are typically performed in a Shinto tradition - although today's Japanese young people often opt for a Christian wedding, while funerals and burial rites are most likely done in the Buddhist style, involving the entire family directly in the cremation and recovery of the ashes and bones into the memorial urn.

The point I wish to make is: be careful when relying too much on Web resources that may overgeneralize or may be culture-specific, particularly when dealing with deeper culture values and religious practices. Hopefully, there would be a 'selection' of similar sites to provide a basis for students making a broader analysis and from which to choose a wide assortment of such culture-based information.
Comment by Eric Snyder on May 3, 2010 at 6:25am
What a great "ice breaker" for educators to introduce the topic of diversity with their classes. It's an opportunity to encourage students to look below the obvious and to do more research, rather than relying on the first resource that they come upon.

For example, today, the first Monday of May, is Labor / Labour Day in MANY countries of the world, whereas the first Monday of September is Labor / Labour Day in the USA / Canada. Why the differences?


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