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What is Buddhism? February 18, 2009

Filed under: Religion — jstein0317 @ 3:34 pm

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The creator of Buddhism, a family of beliefs and practices was discovered by Siddhartha Gautama in the Himalayas. Gautama’s life is very difficult to understand, all we know is that he was born around the year 485 BCE in the city of Lumbini to a high-society family. He was raised in Kapilavastu, Gautama then married a very stunning and then had a son and lived a very happy life. Unfortunately, he possibly deceased around 400 B.C.


      Gautama also known as “The Buddha” supposedly invented Buddhism when he was residing in the northeastern regional area of the Indian subcontinent. Two of the main branches are Theravada and Mahayana. The Buddha says from works from within he states “when you know for yourselves that this is unskillful and that skillful, this blameworthy and that blameless, this deprecated by the wise because it concludes to suffering and ill and that praised because it conduces to well-being and happiness…when you know this for yourselves, Kalamanas, you will reject the one and make a practices of the other.”  Many different types of sources have said that there are nearly half a billion Buddhists. The terms that Buddhists take extremely serious in their practices are known as the Three Jewels: the Buddha, The Dharma, and the Sangha.

      The Four Noble Truths are apparently the first teachings of Gautama Buddha.

The Four Noble Truths are at the heart of Buddhism:

            1. All life is full of suffering, pain, and sorrow.

            2. The cause of suffering id the desire for things that are really illusions,

Such as riches, power, and a long life.

            3. The only cure for suffering is to overcome desire.

            4. The way to overcome desire is to follow the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold Path, also known as the magga was viewed by the Buddha as middle of a life devoted to pleasure and one based on harsh self-denial. It has eight sections with each beginning with samyak, meaning correctly, properly, or well. The steps that it takes to learn about the Four Noble Truth are committing oneself to the Eightfold Path. Also, one ha to learn to live a life that is moral, and evading evil words and actions. One can learn meditation to accomplish enlightenment, which as a Buddhist the main goal is to accomplish nirvana, also known as bliss. Another thing with the Eightfold Path was how the Buddha had viewed what was right from a Buddhist. They are as follows: i. Right Views: knowing and understanding the Four Noble Truths

            ii. Right Thoughts: release from desire

            iii. Right Speech: telling the truth and avoiding causing hurt.

            iv. Right Action: never stealing nor cheating

            v. Right Livelihood: earning wages in a job that doesn’t harm others

            vi: Right Effort: fostering positive attitudes

            vii: Right Mindfulness: being aware of the affect of thoughts and deeds

            vii. Right Concentration: finding tranquility through the Eightfold Path.

The Buddha had viewed the Eightfold Path as a way of life between committed pleasure and on intended on the harsh and self-denial. He also had emphasized the principles honesty, charity and kindness to all living creatures.

Have you ever wondered the differences and the similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism? Well as a matter of fact they are similar in many ways. Buddhism actually got built up on the same customs as Hinduism. In both religions they also believe in karma, nonviolence, moksha, dharma, and the revolving of rebirth.

However, these two religions are so different in so many ways. Hinduism has no gods and yet Hinduism does. Buddhism discarded the several gods of Hinduism, the many priests, and the ceremonial rituals. As an alternative, Gautama had encouraged meditations to achieve clarification. Unlike Hinduism that have the caste system, putting different groups of people in societal standings, Buddhists ignored it and presented the hope of nirvana to all in spite of birth.

With the spread of Buddhism, the Buddha had made speeches all across India attracting supporters or disciples. Those men and women who had supported the Buddha set up monasteries and convents for meditation and to also study the religion.

The sacred texts of the Buddhists might not like the Bible but they both still have their likenesses. When the Buddha had deceased some of his supporters had composed some of his knowledge and had put together a sacred text known as the Tripitaka, or the “Three Baskets of Wisdom”. With the spread of Buddhism it has divided itself into many smaller groups. These smaller groups were called Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. With the original teachings of the Buddha, Theravada later followed. Those who were fully and completely committed those mostly included nuns and monks who had hoped and wished to reach nirvana. From beginning in Sri Lanka and it then soon spread over to Southeast Asia.buddhatibetan1

Event though Buddhism had originated in India it soon disappeared when Hinduism started becoming the main religion in India.

 Many emblems symbolize the Buddha, the Eight Spoked Wheel, also known as ‘Dharmachakra’ or the Sanskrit and the Bohdi Tree. Also, including the Buddha’s Footprints, the Empty Throne, the Begging Bowl and the Lion as well.

Having the Eight-Spoked Wheel represents the Buddha’s spinning the Wheel of Truth and/or Law. The Bodhi Tree symbolizes the tree in which Gautama or the Buddha received enlightenment. The Lion is a symbol that is very important to Buddhism representing the connection with power, strength, and regality. As an addition some of the Buddha’s is occasionally knowledge referred to as the ‘Lion Roar’. Where the Buddha had first given a lecture was at the Sarnath, is where the lions reaffirm his experience to the four quarters of the world. The stupas commonly portray the informed intellect of the Buddha. The stupa has five different components: the square foundation meaning the earth, the circular dome symbolizing water, the cone-shape is representing fire, the awning is for the air and the vole of the stupa is for space.

Buddhism is also known for the Eight Auspicious Symbols. These symbols are mainly widespread in Tibet. They are also known as the ‘Ashtamangala’, with ashta representing eight and mangala representing auspicious. It contains the Umbrella or the parasol (chhatra) embodies the impression of wealth and royalty. It also protects those from impairment from very sinister things of the world. The Golden Fish or the matsya basically represented the Ganges and the Yamuna. With those Buddhists it also signifies the living presence that accustoms oneself with the dharma. The Treasure Vase (bumpa) signifies the long life and prosperity and all of the goodness that the world has to offer. The Lotus (padma) is extremely essential in India and in Buddhism. It means the total cleansing to the body, speech and mind. It has been said that the lotus is meant to be as a path. It grows from the mud (samsara), and the muddy water emerges to be clear, that hence the cleansing of the water and merges into a flower representing enlightenment.

In Buddhism, there is also a Buddhist flag; Colonel Henry Steele Olcott outlined it in 1880. He is an American journalist. The first time that it was hung was in Sri Lanka in 1885 to represent faith and peace. The flag contains five colors that each has a different representation. Containing the colors blue; which means universal compassion, loving kindness, and peace; yellow; meaning ‘The Middle Path’; red meaning ‘Blessings of Practice’; white representing the ‘Purity of Dharma’; and lastly, orange representing ‘The Buddha’s Teaching’.buddhist_flag

The Buddhists also have sacred beads also known as the malas. They are used to reckon mantras, which can be conveyed for four different intentions. They used it to appease, to increase, to overcome and/or tame by forceful means.

The Buddhists also have their sacred bell also known as the Tibetan. The Tibetan must have a round foundation, which represents the face of the goddess Prajnaparamita. The also be hollow representing the wisdom symbolizing emptiness. The ritual bell also contains eight lotus petals symbolizing the four mothers and the four goddesses.

In Buddhism there are a lot of aspects that goes along with it. They even have their own flag. Like many other religions, they find many things sacred that symbolize the gods, the goddesses, or just the one god. Like many other religions such as Catholicism. From the discovery from Siddhartha Gautama to no, Buddhism has spread all over the world. Just like many other religions, it has spread not over the country in which it originated it, it spread to many different countries changing little bits and pieces of it, but still keeping the main idea of it in place. In the case of Buddhism the main goal is to achieve enlightenment. Buddhist achieves enlightenment through meditation. So now with Buddhism you can get the idea of how interesting and intricate it really is. Even thought Buddhism may not have a god it still is a religion with many beliefs. Even though Christianity and Hinduism may have one or many god that still doesn’t depict away that Buddhism isn’t a religion as well.


Works Cited Page

Ellis, E., & Esler, A. (2005), World History: Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River,NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.



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