Buddhist TeachingsBuddhism was created in the sixth century, BCE, with the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, making it one of the oldest religions practiced today. Originating in India, the religion spread throughout most of eastern and southern Asia. Buddhism came to Tibet in the 8th century, CE. Unlike other religions that are centered on a supreme being, Buddhism is centered on four basic truths: Life is not perfect; people are left unsatisfied by trying to make life perfect; people can realize there is a better way to achieve fulfillment; and by living one's life through wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline, people will reach enlightenment.
Within these truths are countless layers of teachings on the nature of existence, life, death and the self. Buddhism encourages its followers not to believe in those teachings, as followers of other religions believe in their religion's central figures and dogma, but rather to explore, understand, and test the truths against their own experiences. The emphasis here is on the exploration. The Buddhist belief of rebirth is a concept of "renewal" and not exactly reincarnation of a spirit or body. Under Buddhism, the consciousness of a person can become part of the consciousness of another person, as a flame moves from one candle to another.
The second flame is not identical to the first, nor is it totally different. Thus, Buddhists believe life is a continual journey of experience and discovery and not divided between life and the afterlife.