CHITRA’S RELIGION – BUDDHISM
What will I be when I’m born again?, wonders Chitra. I’d hate to be a pig, but I suppose that’s what I’ll be if I am bad.
But I won’t be sad, she tells herself. I’ll do all the things the Buddha said to do. I’ll be kind to everyone. I’ll give everything I have to poor people. Maybe, if I’m very good, I won’t have to be born again at all. Maybe I will be achieve nirvana when I die. Then I will be in perfect peace forever.
Chitra is in temple in the city of Colombo, Ceylon. She kneels before a big golden statue of the Buddha. Chitra and others come to the temple to sit and think hard, for a long time, about the things that are the Buddha taught.
There is also a little statue of the Buddha in Chitra’s house. Each evening, her family sits before it for a while to think about the Buddha’s teachings.
Chitra knows that the Buddha was a rich prince who lived in India long ago. This prince gave away all his riches and became a wanderer. One day, as he sat under a banyan tree, the truth about all things came into his mind and he became the Buddha.
The word “Buddha” means “to be wise”. The Buddha taught his followers that only if they stop wanting things can they achieve nirvana when they die. They must also be helpful and kind to all people, especially their enemies.
Chitra is a Buddhist. Buddhism began in northern India, but has since spread to Tibet, China, Japan and most of Southeast Asia.