What We Believe: Buddhism was originated in India by Siddhartha (563-483 B.C.) or Gautama Buddha, which means the Enlightened One." According to Buddha, man was born into this world to suffer. The cause of suffering is the craving for wealth, fame, and power that necessarily brings about frustration and disappointment. In order to be free from suffering, man must suppress its ultimate cause: craving. He must not be attached to anything in this "world appearance" and live a life full of virtue, according to the Eight-fold Path. This core of Buddhist teaching holds that there are eight "right" ways to live virtuously: right views, right thought, right conduct, right speech, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.
An individual's fate in this existence is determined by what he has done in his previous existence. This is the law of Karma, or cause and effect. The soul does not perish at death, but reincarnates in another existence and this goes on and on. The Buddhist's goal is to be freed from the circle of reincarnation and reach Nirvana, which is a state of complete redemption and supreme happiness. Theoretically, any person may become a Buddha by suppressing craving and following the Eight-fold Path, but those who actually attain Buddhahood are rare.
There are two branches of Buddhism: Hinayana (Little Vehicle) also called Theravada Buddhism, which nourishes in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, and Mahayana (Great Vehicle) Buddhism which is found in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Most Vietnamese Buddhists belong to the Mahayana branch. The Theravada branch exists in communities of ethnic Cambodians and Vietnamese living in the Mekong Delta (From "Religion of the Vietnamese" by Huynh Dinh Te). Chua Cat Tuong belongs to the Mayahaya branch of Buddhism.