If You Meet Buddha on the Road...

“For the first time in human history, the Buddha admonished, entreated and appealed to people not to hurt a living being, and it is not necessary to offer prayer, praise or sacrifice to gods.
With all the eloquence at his command the Buddha vehemently proclaimed that gods are also in dire need of salvation themselves.”
— Thomas William Rhys Davids

Not many people have the courage to ask their followers not to trust something just because someone of authority has said it, even if it happens to be their own teachings. Siddharth Gautam, known universally as the Buddha, taught around Northern India two and a half millennia ago. His branch of spirituality almost disappeared in its homeland, only to be rediscovered. Since its rebirth it has begun changing the world once more.

There is no known portrait or sculpture showing his likeness, yet his idols and artwork are ubiquitous. His teachings were not formalised until four and a half centuries after he passed on, nevertheless his teachings are universally practised and admired. His guidance to his disciples has perhaps positively influenced more people than any other spiritual school of thought.

The beauty of the man and his discipline is that it imposes no set of unquestionable dogma. Complete adherence is neither required, nor recommended. Everyone is compelled to think for themselves and follow their own path to liberation. It is this open mindedness and all encompassing compassion that allows the Buddha and Buddhism to remain relevant in the scientific age; to still guide lost souls in search of meaning and perhaps salvation.