By- Rucha Shah
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Rucha Shah

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Learnings and Beauty of Buddhism

Culture

Buddhism is traced back from the 6th century BCE to the present. Buddhism arose in the eastern part of ancient India, in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha. It is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama; he was the historical founder of Buddhism. He was born in the small Sakya Republic, now in present-day Nepal. He is, therefore, also known as Shakyamuni (The sage of the Sakya clan). Buddha lived the life of an ascetic and studied under various teachers, before attaining nirvana and bodhi through meditation. The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent through Central, East, and Southeast Asia. Followers of Buddhism are called Buddhists in English. Buddhism is mostly practiced in Central Asia.

Beliefs       

  • Followers of Buddhism don’t acknowledge a supreme god or deity (non-theist). They instead focus on achieving enlightenment. However, followers reach their spiritual echelon, they are said to have experienced nirvana.
  • The path to enlightenment is attained by utilizing morality, meditation and wisdom. Buddhists often meditate because they believe it helps awaken the truth.
  • There are many philosophies and interpretations within Buddhism, making it a tolerant and evolving religion.
  • Some scholars recognize Buddhism as a “way of life” or a “spiritual tradition”
  • Buddhism encourages its followers to avoid self-indulgence but also self-denial.
  • Buddhists embrace the concepts of karma (the law of cause and effect) and reincarnation (the continuous cycle of birth).
  • Followers of Buddhism can worship as per their comfort, either in temples or in their own homes.

The Four Noble Truths

These noble truths which were taught by Buddha are:

  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  2. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  3. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)

Types of Buddhism

Three main types of Buddhism exist which represent specific geographical areas include:

  1. Theravada Buddhism: Prevalent in Thailand Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Burma
  2. Mahayana Buddhism: Prevalent in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam
  3. Tibetan Buddhism: Prevalent in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan and parts of Russia and northern India

Each of these types reveres certain texts and has slightly different interpretations of Buddha’s teachings. Some forms of Buddhism incorporate ideas of other religions and philosophies, such as Taoism and Bon.

Dharma

Buddha’s teachings are known as “dharma”. He taught that wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity, and compassion were important virtues.

By five moral precepts, which prohibits:

  1. Killing living things
  2. Taking what is not given
  3. Sexual misconduct
  4. Lying
  5. Using drugs or alcohol

Eightfold Path

As per Buddha’s teachings, his followers that end of suffering could be achieved by following an Eightfold Path.

  1. Right understanding (Samma ditthi)
  2. Right thought (Samma sankappa)
  3. Right speech (Samma vaca)
  4. Right action (Samma kammanta)
  5. Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)
  6. Right effort (Samma vayama)
  7. Right mindfulness (Samma sati)
  8. Right concentration (Samma samadhi)


“Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises is dependence on contact at the eye- experienced as pleasure, pain or neither plea-sure-nor-pain- that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs” by trans.Thanissaro Bhikkhu.






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