"Monks, after my passing away, if all the sons and daughters of good family and the faithful, so long as they live, go to the four holy places, they should go and remember."
Buddhism was founded in India in the 5th century BCE. Not long after its establishment by the Buddha and his monks, Buddhism spread throughout Southeast Asia and the Far East.
As Buddhism came into contact with the cultures and religions in these new lands and was developed by people of different backgrounds, many new interpretations and schools were formed.
Today, Buddhism continues to exercise a major influence in the countries of the Far East and Southeast Asia. For many western travelers to China, Japan, Korea, or Southeast Asia, a visit to at least one Buddhist temple or shrine is an indispensable part of the trip.
For Buddhists, pilgrimage remains an important aspect of religious practice. Buddhists travel to the sites where important events in the Buddha's life took place, especially his birth and his enlightenment, to be inspired and encouraged and to earn religious merit.