Buddhism is both a religion and way of life, it is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. According to a 2012 report, it is the 4th largest religion in the world with over 500 million followers. The majority of these live in China and throughout Southeast Asia. There are three main branches of Buddhism: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Each branch differs in laws and beliefs, and within each branch contains smaller more diverse branches that vary in how the religion is lived in everyday life.
Because Buddhism tends to focus on achieving peace and understanding of self, Buddhist organizations commonly operate educational centers, but can also be found contributing healthcare, charity and other services to the local community.
The Buddhist way of life starts with the founder, Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived and taught in India around 2500 years ago. Though there are a variety of ways in how Buddhists live their faith, all of Buddhism can be traced back to the basic teachings of Buddha, who taught of love, kindness, wisdom, and lasting peace and happiness. Most Buddhists accomplish these through a lifetime of practice of meditation, and following the spiritual path learned through the teachings of Buddha.
Ultimately, the goal is to attain enlightenment, a state of mind where universal love, ultimate wisdom and unlimited spiritual power is achieved.
Since kindness and compassion are core values of Buddhism, there are a great number of Buddhist orphanages in Southeast Asia and in few other parts of the world. There is no official Buddhist adoption service or foster care system; however, due to the great number of Buddhist orphanages in Asia, many adoption agencies in the Western hemisphere often work with them when it comes to international adoption from that region of the world.