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Buddhism Buddhism According to Webster’s definition, Buddhism is not a religion. It states that religion is the belief in or worship of God or gods(Webster’s New World Dictionary pg.505). The Buddha was not a god(About Buddhism pg.1). There is no theology, no worship of a deity or deification of the Buddha(Butter pg.1) in Buddhism. Therefore Buddhists don’t pray to a creator god(Buddhism FAQ’s pg.1). Consequently, Buddhism is catagorized as a philosophy, but is still regarded it as a religion. The name Buddhism comes from the word ‘budhi’ which means to wake up and thus Buddhism is the philosophy of awakening(What is Buddhism pg.1).

Fittingly, buddha literally means ‘awakened one'( Buddhist Basics pg.1). Buddha are aimed soley to liberate sentient beings from suffering(About Buddhism pg.1). They dedicate their lives to showing others the way to end the viscous cycle of samsara, or reincarnation. Buddha are enlightened beings who had the opportunity to reach the ultimate goal, but turned back to help the rest of the world get to where they were. The ultimate goal is to attain Nirvana.

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Nirvana simply means cessation(The Goal pg.1). It is the cessation of passion, aggression and ignorance(The Goal pg.1). Nirvana is the highest happiness(What is Buddhism pg.5). It has become equated with a sort of Eastern version of heaven.(The Goal pg.1). The way to reach Nirvana is to become empty, to become enpty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure, and sorrow- to let the Self die(Hesse pg.11).

Freedom from the Self liberates(About Buddhism pg.1). Once Nirvana is achieved one can escape the cyclical repetition of life, in which one is reincarnated over and over again. In Buddhism, the world is in flux, coming into existence and passing away(Buddhist Basics pg.5). It is a continuous cycle. Time is often viewed to be like that of a river.

If you’ve seen a river you’d have seen that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there; It was always the same yet every moment it was new(Hesse pg.83). Breaking this cycle was the main goal of the Buddha. This has been the way of thinking in Buddhism, since its beginning. Buddhism emerged in India more than 2.5 thousand years ago as a religious and philosophical teaching(Buddhism pg.1). In fact Buddhism is the most ancient of the four world religions(Buddhism pg.1). They have many followers.

Although an exact number cannot be calculated, for various reasons, one can speak of approximately 400 billion lay practitioners and 1 billion Buddhist monks and nuns in the world(Buddhism pg.1). Buddhism was not started by the first Buddha, for there have been many Buddha(Buddhist Basics pg.1), but by the historical Buddha. Siddartha fasting as a Samana. The historical Buddha was born in approximately 563 B.C.E. in Northern India(Who is Buddha pg.1). His birth took place in the towm of Kapilavastu (located in today’s Nepal)(Introduction to Buddhism pg.2). He was named Siddartha, which means ‘he whose aim is accomplished'(Introduction to Buddhism pg.2).

Siddartha’s parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas(Introduction to Buddhism pg. 2). Being the historical Buddha, his compassion and patience were legendary(What is Buddhism pg. 3). He is seen as a timeless mirror of mind’s inherent potential(Who is Buddha pg.1).

His teaching make being fearless, joyful, and kind(Who is Buddha pg 1). Although Buddha felt that nobody finds salvation through teachings(Buddhism FAQ’s pg.1), he did have Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha; the law of the Buddha(FAQ’S pg.1). Because of the way he felt about teachings, Buddha strongly encouraged his followers to ‘be a lamp unto themselves’ and put his teachings to a test(Buddhist Basics pg.2). His Dharma consisted of The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. These are the central teachings of the Buddha(Tokyo n.pag.). Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka The First Noble Truth is that there is suffering.

If people were to look at their own lives and the world around them they would realize that life is full of suffering. We suffer because we are constantly struggling to survive(Butter pg.2). Suffering may be Physical or Mental(Tokyo n.pag.). Physical suffering comes in many different forms. An example of such suffering is aged people. They cannot hear as well, see as far or clearly, or move as limberly as they used to be able to. The truth is that the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death is unavoidable(Tokyo n.pag.). Besides physical suffering, there are also various forms of mental suffering. This suffering usually occurs due to one’s attraction to impermanent pleasures.

An example of this is a person finding a new friend and being elated while side by side with the new found companion, but when separated, they feel the pain of loneliness. These are also examples of what causes the suffering, which is the next truth. The Second Noble Truth is that suffering has a cause. The direct causes of suffering are desire, or craving, and ignorance.(Tokyo n.pag.) Craving is the deeply- rooted longing, of all living beings, for the pleasures of the senses. For instance, people always want things like delicious foods, entertaining movies, or good company.

The problem with this is that it is a continuous cycle. After you eat you will be hungry again, after the movie will get bored, and after your friends leave, you will be lonely. The same holds true for people who wish to own the best and newest products. They will never be satisfied because there will continue to be newer and better things. This is the case in America today and look where we are. The other cause of suffering is ignorance.

This is also the cause of craving. The search to find out why we crave always leads back to ingorance. If we knew that satisfying those frivilous needs accomplished nothing we would have no reason to do so. If people would develop their minds and acquire enough knowledge they would be able to see the truth. They would be able see that suffering has an end, which is the Third Noble Truth.

The end of suffering is the final goal of the Buddha’s teaching(Tokyo n.pag.). This can be experienced by anyone. When thoughts of anger and greed arise in one’s mind unhappiness, suffering, is experienced, but when they cease these thoughts the suffering temporarily abates. To end the suffering indefinitely, one must completely remove the desire, ill will, and ignorance. There is a path which leads to the end of suffering and that is the Fourth Noble Truth.

Kandy, Sri Lanka Buddha on hill at Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara The path to end suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path. The central theme of this path is meditation(Butter pg.2). During this meditation mantras are used. They believe that when certain sounds and words, called mantras, are said many times they arouse good vibrations within a person(Buddhism FAQ’s pg.1). The Noble Eightfold Path consists of eight factors: Right Understanding Right Thoughts Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration 1. Right Understanding is the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths.

In other words, it is the understanding of oneself as one really is. The main idea of Buddhism is Right Und …


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