Science | History | RE

Millions celebrate enlightenment of Buddha

Is Buddhism the key to happiness? Today, people around the world will celebrate Buddha's birthday. How true are his teachings? And what can we learn from them? What's happening? This weekend, the Moon turned red.  It was a blood moon. It happened because of a total lunar eclipse. This is when the Earth passes between the sun and the Moon. It was also huge. At the moment, the Moon is much closer to Earth than normal, so it looks very big in the sky.  But for millions, the super blood moon was even more special. It marked the birth of Buddha.  Find out more The Full Moon of May each year is Vesak Day. It is Buddha's birthday.  He was born about 2,600 years ago in northern India. His name was Siddhartha Gautama.  He was born a prince. He lived in luxury. But soon he realised the outside world was full of suffering.  He tried to find ways to escape the bad things in life. They did not work. Finally, he sat under a tree for 49 days. At the end of that time, he was enlightened. He became the Buddha. It means "awakened one". Today there are many types of Buddhism. But most of them include practices like meditation. This means sitting still and observing your thoughts and sensations.  It is becoming more popular. In the USA, three times more people meditate now than in 2012. Is Buddhism the key to happiness? Some say  Yes! Buddhism is thousands of years old. People have followed it. It is clear that it can make us happy.  Others think  No. Buddhism is just another religion. They all have different ideas. But none can say they have the one right way to happiness.    KeywordsTotal lunar eclipse - Total means that the whole of the moon is obscured by the Earth, rather than just a section of it. Lunar means to do with the moon and distinguishes this kind of eclipse from a solar eclipse, where the moon stands between the Earth and the sun.

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