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Shakyamuni Buddha, also named Gautama, was born into the ruling family of the Shakya clan. After his enlightenment he began teaching what he had characterized as a method of awakening to reality. As he taught the ways of the Buddha his dedicated followers formed into a community of monks and nuns. It was those monks and nuns that continued his teachings onto the following generations. In Buddhism there exists the cycle of birth and rebirth. The key goal from these teachings is the ability to acquire merit along with a firm belief in good karma as a means of ensuring this prosperous rebirth if not achieving Moksha (freedom from Samsara).

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