KS1 Buddhism


There is no deity

Key figure: Gautama Buddha

An ordinary person who became ‘awakened’ (Buddha)

Place of worship

Building where Buddhists meet

Symbols and artefacts found in Buddhist Centres 

People with a special role (monks, nuns, teachers)

Holy book

Stories from the life of the Buddha which show his concern to find an answer to the problem of suffering

Stories Buddha told…

Buddhist way of life

Buddhists believe in:

• importance of compassion

• respect for all living things and the intention not to harm them

• importance of being generous, kind, truthful, helpful and patient

• importance of reflection and meditation, developing inner peace

KS2 Buddhism

Key figure: Gautama Buddha

Buddha means ‘one who is fully awake to the truth’ or Enlightened

Through his own efforts, the Buddha overcame greed, hatred and ignorance

Place of worship


Buddhist Community (sangha) - made up of lay people and ordained

Features of Buddhist Centres including temples, shrines, artefacts and offerings

Works of sacred art (thankas), mandalas and images of the Buddha (rupas) - standing, sitting and lying down, with a third eye showing he is enlightened

Holy books

Stories told about and by the Buddha, Jataka Tales ….

Buddha taught that possessions can’t give us lasting happiness; in the end they break, grow old or let us down, making us unhappy

Buddhist way of life

Symbols – lotus flower, prayer wheel

Buddhists follow the noble eight-fold path and try to show the qualities of the Buddha in their own lives

Buddhists aspire to fearlessness, contentment, kindness, meditation

Four Noble Truths:

  • Being greedy and wanting things can’t make you happy
  • You can be content without having everything you want
  • You have to learn this through practice
  • Peace of mind comes when you are content with having just enough – not too much, not too little.

Samsara - continual cycle of birth and death

Key festivals:

  • Wesak - Buddha's birthday
  • Dharma Day

Sacred place of pilgrimage:

  • Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya where the Buddha became enlightened

KS3 Buddhism

Key figure: Gautama Buddha

His Enlightenment - Prince Siddhartha Gautama gave up everything in search of the way to end suffering

  • Buddhas - previous Buddhas, Bodhisattvas in the Mahayana tradition

Place of worship: Buddhist Centre

Lifestyle of Buddhist monks and nuns (bhikkhu) - living by the Ten Moral Precepts

  • Vinaya - rules of monastic life

Stupa – visual representation of Buddha’s pure mind

Holy books

Different collections of scripture for different traditions (suttas) - Agganna Sutta

Buddhist canons:

Pali canon used by Theravada Buddhists is the Tripitaka (three baskets) 

Pitaka (this is a Sanskrit word) canon used by Mahayana Buddhists

Buddhist way of life

Types and purpose of meditation: 

  • chanting
  • mantra recitation
  • offerings of flowers, incense and light
  • retreats - opportunity for people to live with Buddhists for a few days and to withdraw from distractions

Key Beliefs:

  • Wisdom and insight arise through the practice of Mindfulness
  • Nirvana - state of Enlightenment and ‘blowing out’ of the fires of greed, hatred and ignorance

The Three Signs of Being:

  • Anicca (impermanence)
  • Dukkha (life involves suffering)
  • Anatta (the notion of the soul is an illusion).

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels - Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha

Living by the Five Moral Precepts (Buddhist Code of Ethics) - abstain from:

  • harming living things
  • stealing
  • sexual misconduct
  • lying
  • intoxication

Buddhist responses to social, moral and ethical issues:

  • peace movements and the work of important contemporary figures such as Dalai Lama.

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