Buddhism is an ancient religio-philosophical tradition founded in India by Siddhartha Gautama in the 5th or 6th century BCE. The core of its teachings manifests in living a virtuous life embodied with generosity, lovingkindness, and understanding. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to realize inner happiness and well-being as nirvana, the state of non-suffering. In addition, for religious Buddhists, the realization of nirvana grants the seeker final liberation from samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death. This is accomplished by following the Noble Eightfold Path which encourages virtue, mental cultivation through meditation practices, and wisdom.
Unlike Stoicism, Buddhism has been much more successful in propagating itself through millennia by its missionary drive, resilient religious institutions, and its ability to adapt itself to current cultural conditions. Presently, it is estimated that there are almost 1 billion Buddhists adherents world-wide residing in countries of East Asia such as China, Vietnam and Thailand.
Since the mid-20th century, Buddhism has had a great influence in the western world in the domains of aesthetics, psychology, philosophy, and spiritual practices such as mindfulness. Well-known contemporary Buddhists include HH Dalai Lama, the Hollywood actors Richard Gere and Penelope Cruz, American golfer Tiger Woods, entrepreneur and inventor Steve Jobs, U.S. congressman Hank Johnson, and U.S astronaut Ellison Onizuka.