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The Dharmachakra or Wheel of Law is one of the most important Buddhist symbols.
Buddhism originated in the teaching of Prince Siddhartha Gautama who was born approximately 500 BC in Nepal, near the border of present day India. Through the practice of meditation he became the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
Buddhists do not normally speak in terms of an Absolute Deity or God but rather emphasise the practice of meditation and right behaviours in all areas of life in the process of reaching Nirvana, the enlightened state free of suffering. Particular emphasis is placed on non-violence and the development of love and compassion for all. There are a number of Holy Scriptures within the various traditions of Buddhism.
Six per cent of the world’s population is estimated to be Buddhist.
The religion has a clergy of monks, lamas (teachers) and nuns as well as many lay spiritual advisers. There are a number of Buddhist centres supporting different traditions in Ireland.