World Religion
What Is Buddhism?

What Is Buddhism?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.47

     challenging words:    bodhi, mudra, nirvana, sermon, spokes, best, forearms, misery, worldly, founding, hatred, meditation, wizard, meditate, purpose, enlightenment
     content words:    Siddhartha Gautama, Queen Maya, Prince Siddhartha, Ganges River, Awakened One, Four Noble Truths, Noble Eightfold Path, Eightfold Path, Deer Park, Many Buddhists

Print What Is Buddhism?
     Print What Is Buddhism?  (font options, pick words for additional puzzles, and more)

Quickly Print - PDF format
     Quickly Print: PDF (2 columns per page)

     Quickly Print: PDF (full page)

Quickly Print - HTML format
     Quickly Print: HTML

Proofreading Activity
     Print a proofreading activity

Feedback on What Is Buddhism?
     Leave your feedback on What Is Buddhism?  (use this link if you found an error in the story)

What Is Buddhism?
By Colleen Messina

1     Sometimes having everything in the world isn't enough! It's what is inside you that is most important. A prince discovered this 2,500 years ago. His name was Siddhartha Gautama, and he was born in the country we now call Nepal. His discovery led to the founding of Buddhism.
2     According to ancient legends, the prince's mother had a dream when she was pregnant. Queen Maya dreamed that she was carrying a white elephant in her tummy! The elephant carried a lotus flower in his trunk. A wise man explained that the child she was carrying would become a holy man. The man's words scared the prince's father who definitely didn't want his son to become a skinny, hungry, holy man.
3     Siddhartha was born in 563 B.C. Queen Maya died when Prince Siddhartha was a baby, so his father raised him. The king wanted the prince to have the best of everything so that he would grow up to be a good king instead of a holy man. Prince Siddhartha grew up in a white palace surrounded by gardens that had flowers of every color and shape. The prince ate the tastiest food and saw only handsome people. It is believed that he never saw any sickness, poverty, or death during his childhood!
4     When he turned 16, the prince married a lovely girl named Yashodhara. The wedding celebrations lasted for seven days and nights. The Prince settled into married life, and when Yashodhara became pregnant, Siddhartha's father finally believed that his son would follow in his footsteps and become the next king. He allowed the prince to go outside the palace walls for the first time.
5     Prince Siddhartha rode around the kingdom in a horse-drawn chariot. It is believed that he saw things that made him wonder about life's purpose. First he saw an old man, bent and wrinkled. On the next chariot ride, a sick man crossed his path. Then, the prince saw a funeral procession. These three sights made him realize that life is full of misery for many people. On his last ride, Prince Siddhartha saw a holy man. He realized that the peaceful, holy man was not afraid of old age, sickness, or even death. Prince Siddhartha realized that he wanted to find his own inner peace, but to do that, he had to leave everything that he loved.
6     Prince Siddhartha left his royal life behind. He left his wife and newborn son behind. He changed out of his silken robes. He cut off his hair and removed his jewels. Siddhartha went into the forest and sat in a cross-legged position in meditation for six years. Evil spirits assailed him, but he kept on meditating. Buddhists believe that Siddhartha received enlightenment while sitting under a bodhi tree near the Ganges River. Traditionally, the date for this event was the full moon in the month of May. Achieving enlightenment meant that Siddhartha had a deep understanding about life.
7     After his enlightenment, Siddhartha passed a man on the road. The man noticed something different about the former prince. The man asked him whether he was a god, a magician, or a wizard. Siddhartha said he was none of these things, but that he was awake! That is how Siddhartha came to be called the Buddha, which means "The Awakened One."
8     The Buddha began preaching. His teachings became known as the Four Noble Truths. See what you think of the Buddha's simple truths: Life is full of suffering. Desire for worldly things causes suffering. Suffering can stop when desire stops. There are eight rules to follow to stop wrong desire. These rules are called the Noble Eightfold Path.
9     Because of the Eightfold Path, a wheel with eight spokes became the symbol of Buddhism. The Buddha gave his followers these rules in a sermon called the Deer Park sermon. After his sermon, his father, his wife, and his son became his disciples! Here are the Buddha's eight rules for living a good life: right thought, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right work, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation. They may seem simple, but it takes a lot of discipline to live up to all of these things.

Paragraphs 10 to 16:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

Weekly Reading Books

          Create Weekly Reading Books

Prepare for an entire week at once!

World Religion
             World Religion

Social Studies
             Social Studies

    2004 Elections  
    2008 Elections  
    United States History and Theme Units  
    American Government  
    Ancient America  
    Ancient China  
    Ancient Egypt  
    Ancient Greece  
    Ancient India  
    Ancient Mesopotamia  
    Ancient Rome  
    Canadian Theme Unit  
    Country Theme Units  
    Crime and Terrorism  
    European History: 1600s-1800s  
    Famous Educators  
    Grades 2-3 Social Studies Wendy's World Series  
    History of Books and Writing  
    History of Mathematics  
    How Can I Help?  
    Inventors and Inventions  
    Middle Ages  
    World Religion  
    World War I  
    World War II  
    World Wonders  

More Activities, Lesson Plans, and Worksheets

Back to School
Graphic Organizers
Alphabet Worksheets
Sight Words
Math Worksheets
50 States

Monthly Themes

Place Value
Time and Calendar
Earth Day
Solar System
Following Directions
Cursive Writing
Patterns and Sequencing
All About Me

First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade
Sixth Grade

Main Idea
Cause and Effect
Order of Operations
Community Helpers
Addition and Subtraction
Bulletin Board Ideas
Word Searches
Crossword Puzzles
Printable Puzzles

Reading Comprehension
Reading Skills
English Language Arts

Copyright © 2015 edHelper