Buddhism began in India in the 5th century B.C. and all its variants can be traced to these origins. According to ancient Indian history, the precise historical begin-ning of the tradition is somewhat obscure, for at that time there were so many small kingdoms all over India. However, there is no question that around the 5th century B.C., an exceptionally charismatic teacher, probably a member of the Sa-kya clan in Kapilavastu, in present day Nepal, began to preach a new approach to the age-old problem of salvation. It has been suggested that his teaching was a re-action to the dominant “Brahmanical” culture of his time, which centered on the Vedas and on the sacrificial practices that were carried out by the priestly class. As a matter of fact, Buddhism is very simple. This religion is a demonstration of kind-ness towards other human beings. The most important thing in Buddhism is a good mind and warm feelings. The Buddha believes that each individual has an oppor-tunity to change his own life and enlightenment is the utmost achievement of eve-rybody. However, Buddhism exerted an enormous influence on the intellectual, re-ligious and cultural life of India for more than sixteen centuries. It played a form-ative part in defining Hindu culture and, during its first centuries, was so en-meshed in Indian society (together with other spiritual teachings of the subconti-nent) that it is misleading to think of it as a self-conscious reformist movement.
It is sometimes said that Buddhism is “atheistic” or a “godless religion.” However, the Buddha’s teaching about “the six realms of existence” should surely disperse this notion. The Buddha states clearly that there exists a so-called “the realm of gods” in Buddhism, but gods in Buddhism are not those with almighty powers who can create the universe, or who can reward or punish other creatures. According to Buddhism, the gods may be worshipped for limited and worldly blessings but being impermanent and worldly themselves, they cannot grant prayers concerned with that freedom or Nirvana which is supermundane and which they have not gained. Buddhism is only atheistic in the sense that it rejects as false the theory of First Cause, a Creator God.