Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one"). The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by adherents as an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering (or dukkha), achieve nirvana, and escape what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada—the oldest surviving branch—has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications Vajrayana, a subcategory of Mahayana, is recognized as a third branch. While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Various sources put the number of Buddhists in the world at between 230 million and 500 million, making it the world's fourth-largest religion.
The revelation provided by the time-viewer that Buddha was a "party animal," rather than the chaste ascetic of popular belief, had no impact on Buddhism. The revelation that the Jews were in fact God's chosen people, on the other hand, had a tremendous impact.
While most versions of Buddhism were peaceful, as the Buddha had been a peaceful man, the militant "Sword Buddhism" espoused violence as a means of reaching nirvana. The Turks of Babylonia brought this brand of Buddhism with them from the steppes of Asia and attempted to export it throughout the world.Moabites who espoused this religion tended to be more fanatic in opposition to the Philistinians than those who held to the traditional Moabite god Chemosh. There were reputed to be also Philistine converts who were, conversely, violently anti-Moabite.
Buddhism had once been popular in India, but lost out to Islam in the centuries following the Al-Ghazali-inspired renaissance. In the modern world, Buddhism was little practiced outside the region which included Japan, China, Siam, and a few minor nations. Nevertheless, bored Muslims from the developed world would occasionally travel to a stupa in Siam or somesuch for spiritual adventure.