Buddhism is a nontheistic religion founded on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha. The purpose of one’s life is found in attaining enlightenment. Buddhism stresses the importance of self-awareness and virtuous living.

Important Terms

  • Gassho: To place one's hands together in reverence.
  • Osenko: To burn incense in offering to the Buddha.

Important Religious Texts

Sutras are the collected oral teachings of the Buddha.


There are three denominations within Buddhism and each focuses on a different aspect: right thought, right speech and right action. Buddhism as a whole emphasizes the reality of suffering in life and the ability to transcend suffering through enlightenment.

Worship, Prayer, and Practice

Central to the Buddhist tradition is meditation. It is through the simple act of meditation that one may achieve enlightenment. Buddhists occasionally gather at temples where the focus is either on silent meditation or teachings by a priest, monk or nun. Chanting and offerings of incense are also included in worship.

Ways to be Involved at BenU

Here are a few classes offered at BenU about this faith tradition. Please visit the Course Catalog for more information and click here to learn about the Interfaith Studies Emphasis. 

  • HIST 281 Survey of East Asia
  • HIST 291 History of the Silk Road
  • IDS 303 Interfaith/Culture Dialogue
  • RELS 285  Religion in America
  • RELS 120  Eastern Traditions 


Faith Communities

Carrie Roberts
Director of Campus Ministry
(630) 829-6028

Kathryn Heidelberger
Campus Minister, Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Engagement
(630) 829-6336