How Much Do You Know About Buddhism?


By: Annette

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Everything will be illuminated after you take this quiz. Clear your mind, focus on your breathing, embrace the peaceful being within you, and then kick some butt with this Buddhist trivia! With millions of followers and various philosophies and scriptures, Buddhism is one of the most diverse, welcoming and fascinating religions in the world. We all want more mindfulness in our lives, more peace and serenity, and Buddhism offers its followers just that. Looking for a little release from suffering? Buddhism is all about suffering! Well, not in a bad way. Rather, it seeks to help its followers understand their suffering and the earthy way to free themselves from it. 

According to Buddhism, you don't have to wait for heaven. You can experience it here on earth! Yay! Or... you might have to wait a few lives. But either way, we're about to explore one of the most ancient and treasured religions in our society. What you need to understand first is that Buddhism is a religion that is always changing. The Dalai Lama himself said that if science proves an aspect of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will change. Talk about having an open mind! Did you know that Steve Jobs was a Buddhist? In fact, he followed Zen Buddhism, which focuses on meditation to calm and quiet the mind to hear the truth. 

So, there you have it. If you conquer this quiz, you're the next Steve Jobs. Shoddy reasoning, but just go with it. 

What is enlightenment?

Enlightenment is simply characterized as inner peace and wisdom. It is something that can be achieved either in this life or in future lives.


When a Buddhist reaches enlightenment, they experience a state of ________.

When a Buddhist finally reaches enlightenment, they're said to experience nirvana. Theoretically, this is kind of a Buddhist heaven.


What does the name "Buddha" mean?

The name Buddha actually means "enlightened one." Buddha is the founder of the religion, but he is not considered a God.


What is necessary to attain enlightenment?

Morality, meditation and wisdom are all necessary in order to achieve enlightenment. Buddhists will mediate in order to awaken the truth.


Who was the founder of Buddhism?

Siddhartha Gautama was the founder of Buddhism. He would later become known as "The Buddha."


When did the Buddha live?

The Buddha lived in the 5th century BC. He was born to a wealthy family as a prince in present-day Nepal.


True or False: There are many interpretations of Buddhism.

It's true that there are many interpretations of Buddhism. Because there are so many philosophies within Buddhism, it's considered a tolerant and evolving religion.


Followers of Buddhism acknowledge ______.

Okay, let's start this off easy. Followers of Buddhism don't acknowledge a supreme God or deity. Their focus is rather on achieving enlightenment in this life.


What is true about the Buddha's beliefs concerning wealth?

Not content with his lavish lifestyle, nor enduring poverty, the Buddha embraced the "Middle Way." He existed between two extremes.


How long did it take the Buddha to reach enlightenment?

It took the Buddha six years to reach enlightenment. He spent the rest of his life teaching others about how to achieve the state.


Under what tree did enlightenment come upon the Buddha?

It was under the Bodhi tree, whilst meditating, that the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The Bodhi tree is now a key symbol of Buddhism.


What are the Buddha's most important teachings?

The Four Noble Truths are the Buddha's most important teachings. They are essential to understanding the religion.


Buddhism encourages the avoidance of _______.

Buddhism encourages the avoidance of both self-indulgence and self-denial. This is again, the Middle Way.


What is karma?

Karma is the law of cause and effect, and Buddhists embrace the concept. In essence, you reap what you sow!


What is reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the continuous cycle of rebirth. This is embraced by Buddhists.


Where must followers of Buddhism worship?

Buddhists can worship in temples or in their own homes. That makes it a convenient religion!


What do you call Buddhist monks?

Buddhist monks are known as bhikkus. They follow a strict code of conduct, and this includes celibacy.


When did the religion begin to form?

the religion began to form immediately after Buddha's death in 483 BC. His followers began to organize the movement.


When did Buddhism become the state religion of India?

Very quickly, Buddhism would become the state religion of India. Ashoka the Great, the Indian emperor at the time, decreed it so.


What religion pushed Buddhism into the background during the Middle Ages?

During the Middle Ages, Islam began to spread quickly and Buddhism was pushed into the background. Many Buddhist monasteries were destroyed.


How many Buddhist followers are there today?

Today, there are roughly 470 million followers of Buddhism. Scholars consider it to be one of the major world religions.


Which of these is true in terms of how Buddhism relates to other religions?

Buddhism essentially overlaps with other faiths. Its ideas and philosophies can coexist with other religious beliefs.


How many main types of Buddhism exist today?

There are actually three main types of Buddhism today, and they're geographically characterized. The list includes Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism. .


What do you call Buddha's teachings?

Buddha's teachings are known as dharma. He taught that wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity and compassion were important virtues.


Buddhists live by how prohibitive moral precept(s).

Buddhists live by 5 prohibitive moral precepts. These include, no killing, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, lying, or using drugs and alcohol.


“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ________ .”

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.” This is a famous quote from the Buddha.


“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your _______ .”

“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.” This is another famous quote from the Buddha.


The Four Noble Truths all have to do with ______ .

The Four Noble Truths all have to do with suffering. The First Noble Truth is "the truth of suffering."


What texts are known as the "three baskets"?

The Tipitaka are known as the "three baskets." They are thought to be the earliest writings of the Buddha.


What are the Sutras?

The Sutras are sacred teachings, and they're embraced by Mahayana Buddhists. There are over 2,000 of them.


The Book of the Dead comes from _______.

The Book of the Dead comes from Tibetan Buddhism. It describes the stages of death in detail.


Who is the leading monk in Tibetan Buddhism?

The Dalai Lama is the leading monk in Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of a past lama.


How many Dalai Lamas have there been throughout history?

There have been 14 Dalai Lamas throughout history. The current Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup, was born in 1935.


What festival commemorates Buddha's birth?

Vesak is the Buddhist festival that commemorates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. Buddhists also celebrate Buddhist New Year.


What is the name of the order of monks and nuns that have preserved the Buddha's teachings?

The Sangha are the order of monks and nuns that have preserved the Buddha's teachings from the beginning. The Buddha founded the order himself.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!