Buddhism In Life there is suffering. This spurs on the unending search for universal truth and meaning. Jodo Shinsu is an answer to this search. The “practice” of Jodo Shinshu is the recitation of the Nembutsu with self-reflection. It involves hearing the call of Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Eternal Life and Infinite Light, Compassion and Wisdom, within others’ or ours recitation of the Name. Which calls us to raise our spiritual perspectives beyond immediate ego interests to universal concerns for compassion, justice in the human community and concern for the life of nature.

The hole of life is Nembutsu. A life lived in awareness, that we ourselves are the expressions, the manifestations, of interdependence and compassion and dedicated to bringing that reality to others as we have experienced it. The Nembutsu is a spiritual shrine, which can be transported and reverenced wherever one may be. Time or space does not bind religious practice. Rather, from within the deep recesses of one’s spirit the call of Amida Buddha can be heard, bringing our attention back to the very source of life itself, and evidencing its presence in the very act of living itself. http://www.mew.com/shin/doc/txt/pax.html Buddhism is one of the world’s great religions.

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The religion is based on the teaching of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as The Buddha, who lived approximately 557 BC to 477 BC. The word “Buddha” means a Supremely Enlightened One or Fully Awakened One (also a Tathagata) who has won the realization of the True Permanent Absolute Reality, the ultimate truth. Buddhism is built on a framework that consists of the Four Noble Truths, four fundamental principles of nature (Dhamma) that emerged from the Buddha’s honest and penetrating assessment of the human condition and that serve to define the entire scope of Buddhist practice. These truths are not fixed dogmatic principles, but living experiences to be explored individually in the heart of the sincere spiritual seeker: To each of these Noble Truths the Buddha assigned a specific task, which the practitioner is to carry out. The first Noble Truth is to be comprehended dukkha (suffering, unsatisfactoriness, and stress): life is fundamentally fraught with unsatisfactoriness and disappointment of every description.

The second is the cause of dukkha: the cause of this dissatisfaction is tanha (craving) in all its forms. The third is the cessation of dukkha: an end to all that unsatisfactoriness can be found through the relinquishment and abandonment of the cravings. The full realization of the third Noble Truth paves the way for the direct penetration of Nirvana, the transcendent freedom that stands as the final goal of all the Buddha’s teachings. The last of the Noble Truths (the Noble Eight fold Path), contains a prescription for the relief of our unhappiness and for our eventual release once and for all from the painful and wearisome cycle of birth and death (samsara) to which through our own ignorance (avijja) of the Four Noble Truths we have been bound for countless aeons. The Noble Eight fold Path offers a comprehensive practical guide to the development of those wholesome qualities and skills in the human heart that must be cultivated in order to bring the practitioner to the final goal, the supreme freedom and happiness of Nirvana.

The eight qualities to be developed are Right View, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. The Quality of Right View is to aspire to attain realization of perfect wisdom, the ultimate true permanent reality. Abstain from all evil acts of thought, to attain the total destruction of all cravings. The Quality Of Right Resolve is to renounce all manifesting, all constructions, all that is “created” make-believe, to develop dispassion, total detachment, absolute renunciation, self-surrender. To bring about the cessation of all “created” realities.

To self-realize is the incomparable awakening of self. To win the freedom of mind, the freedom through perfect intuitive wisdom, the sane and immune emancipation of will. Right Speech is to abstain from all lying speech, all perjurious speech, all evil abusive speech and all frivolous speech. To engage in speech and discussion that pertains to and leads to Nirvana, to what’s actually permanent and real. Right Action is to abstain from all killing of all creatures, abstain from all stealing, abstain from all sensual and sexual misconduct, abstain from all evil acts, and abstain from all forms of intoxication.

Right Living is to abstain from all evil methods of livelihood. Right Effort is to destroy all evil states of mind that has already arisen. To keep new evil states of mind from arising and to maintain and grow good states of mind that have already arisen. Nurture good states of mind that have not yet arisen, such as loving kindness for all beings, compassion and pity for all creatures, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Right Mindfulness is to contemplate as impermanent, ill and selfless: body, feelings, perception, mind, consciousness, thought, mental states, mental objects and mental activity.

To grow revulsion for the world, seeing it for the decaying creation that it is, and to grow dispassion, total detachment, calm, tranquillity, seeing that everything is not itself. To disregard all that is perceived, remaining aloof from both the pleasures as well as the pains. Arising from the creation of senses and sensuality. Right Concentration to be aloof from the world, aloof from evil states, aloof from all sensations from the senses. Dwelling in solitude, seclusion, ardent, diligent, self-resolute, and develop one-pointed-ness of mind through intense meditation and reflection. Progress along the path does not follow a simple linear trajectory. Rather, development of each aspect of the Noble Eight fold Path encourages the refinement and strengthening of the others, leading the practitioner ever forward in an upward spiral of spiritual maturity that culminates in Awakening.

Seen from another point of view, the long journey on the path to Awakening begins in earnest with the first tentative stirrings of right view, the first flickering of wisdom. Therefore, one recognizes both the validity of the first Noble Truth and the inevitability of the law of karma, the universal law of cause and effect. Once one begins to see that harmful actions inevitably bring about harmful results, and wholesome actions ultimately bring about wholesome results, the desire naturally grows to live a skilful, morally upright life, to take seriously the practice of sila. The confidence built from this preliminary understanding inclines the follower to put one’s trust more deeply in the teachings. The follower becomes a “Buddhist” upon expressing an inner resolve to “take refuge” in the Triple Gem: the Buddha (both the historical Buddha and one’s own innate potential for Awakening). The Dhamma (both the teachings of the historical Buddha and the ultimate Truth towards which they point), and the Sangha (both the monastic community that has protected the teachings and put them into practice since the Buddha’s day, and all those who have achieved at least some degree of Awakening). With one’s feet thus firmly planted on the ground by taking refuge, and with the help of an admirable friend (kalyanamitta) to help show the way, one can set out along the Path, confident that one is indeed following in the footsteps left by the Buddha himself.

The Buddha based his teachings on a frank assessment of our plight as humans: there is unsatisfactoriness and suffering in the world. No one can argue this fact. If the Buddha’s teachings were to stop here, we might indeed regard them as pessimistic and life as utterly hopeless. But, like a doctor who prescribes a remedy for an illness, the Buddha offers hope (the third Noble Truth) and a cure (the fourth Noble Truth). In the Buddha’s later teachings, as reflected in the profound and wonderful Mahayana (Great Vehicle) sutras, Sakyamuni was said to reveal that he was actually an incarnation of the eternal Buddha, whom Shin Buddhists refer to and worship as Amida Buddha.

Those sutras also make many references to transcendent Bodhisattvas, or Buddhas-to-be, who act compassionately to relieve suffering in all of its various forms. They are true friends of humankind. To accomplish their goal of eliminating suffering in all sentient beings, and helping all to attain the perfect peace and enlightenment of Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas diligently practice the Six Perfections (or Paramitas): charity, observance of the Buddhist precepts, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom. These are described in inspirational poetic form in The Threefold Lotus Sutra (published by Kosei). The following is a small example: “For infinite past eons, the World-honored One has practiced all manner of virtues with effort to bring benefit to us human beings.

Unsparing of his person as of his possessions, he gave all, his head, eyes, and brain, to people as alms. Keeping the Buddhas’ precepts of purity, he never did any harm, even at the cost of his life. He never became angry, even though beaten with sword and staff, or though cursed and abused. He never became tired, in spite of long exertion. He kept his mind at peace day and night, and was always in meditation.

Learning all the Law-ways, with his deep wisdom he has seen into the capacity of living beings.” Within the Mahayana tradition, an extraordinary Bodhisattva named Dharmakara, who was intensely aware that most people would have an impossible time consistently adhering to the Buddhist precepts. Dharmakara Bodhisattva therefore created an easy path to enlightenment, thus becoming Amida Buddha, the Universal Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. (Light refers to his wisdom, and his eternal life refers to his infinite compassion for all sentient beings. These are the two primary attributes of Buddhahood: wisdom and compassion.) Dharmakara Bodhisattva felt great compassion for those of us unable to fulfill the practices necessary to achieve enlightenment on our own. He therefore resolved that he would give up his own attainment of Buddhahood unless, when he became a …


Buddhism Buddhism is one of the biggest religion founded in India in the 6th and 5th cent. B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. One of the great Asian religions, it teaches the practice of and the observance of moral precepts. The basic doctrines include the four noble truths taught by the Buddha.

Since it was first introduced into China from India, Buddhism has had a history which has been characterized by periods of sometimes awkward and irregular development. This has mainly been the result of the clash of two cultures, each with a long history of tradition. Most of the difficulties have arisen due to the transplanting of an Indian religious/philosophical system onto a culture strongly dominated by indigenous secular, philosophical and religious systems. In spite of these difficulties, Chinese Buddhism has come to have an important influence on the growth and development of Buddhism in general and this has occurred largely because of its own innovatory contributions.(Eliade, M. p.16-29) The spread of Buddhism into China began in Central Asia and was facilitated by the efforts of the Indo-Scythian king Kanishka (Encyclopedia Britt.

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273-274) of the Kushan dynasty which ruled in northern India, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia in the 1st and 2nd centuries (Encyclopedia Britt. 274). He is said to have undergone an Ashoka-like conversion upon seeing the slaughter caused by his campaigns. Around the beginning of the common era, Buddhism started to filter into China from Central Asia via the Silk Road, brought by monks, merchants and other travelers. It also entered later via trade routes around and through Southeast Asia. It was nurtured in the expatriate community of Loyang and other northern cities.

(The Encyclopedia of Religion p58-62) Siddhartha (Buddha) was born around 563 B.C.E. in the town of Kapilavastu (located in today’s Nepal). Siddhartha’s parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas. His history is a miraculous one.. One night, Queen Maya dreamed that an elephant with six tusks, carrying a lotus flower in its trunk, touched her right side.

At that moment her son was conceived. Brahmins (learned men) came and interpreted the dream. The child would be either the greatest king in the world or the greatest ascetic (a holy man who practices self-denial). The future child would be named Siddhartha, which means “he whose aim is accomplished.” (Snelling, J. p 12-19) Later when Queen Maya was going to her father’s home to prepare for the birth, she stepped off her chariot in the Lumbini Gardens and held the branch of a sal tree to rest. In that instant, Siddhartha emerged from her right side without any help.

The infant walked seven steps each in four directions of the compass, and lotus flowers sprouted from where his foot touched the earth. Then the infant said, “No further births have I to endure, for this is my last body. Now shall I destroy and pluck out by the roots the sorrow that is caused by birth and death.” Seven days later Queen Maya died. Mahaprajapati, Maya’s sister, looked after Siddhartha. King Shuddhodana shielded Siddhartha from all kinds of suffering and hardship.

When Siddhartha was about 20, he married Yasodhara, daughter of one of the King’s ministers, and one year later they had a child named Rahula (meaning “fetter” or “impediment”). At age 29, Siddhartha asked his charioteer, Channa, to take him out of the city two times without the consent of the king. During these two trips, Siddhartha saw “Four Sights” that changed his life. On the first trip, he saw old age, sickness, and death. The second trip, he saw a wandering holy man, an ascetic, with no possessions. Siddhartha started questioning the holy man, who had a shaved head, wore only a ragged yellow robe, and carried a walking-staff. The man said, “I am..

terrified by birth and death and therefore have adopted a homeless life to win salvation.. I search for the most blessed state in which suffering, old age, and death are unknown.”(Snelling, J. p33) That night, Siddhartha silently kissed his sleeping wife and son, and ordered Channa to drive him out to the forest. At the edge of the forest, Siddhartha took off his jeweled sword, and cut off his hair and beard. He then took off all his princely garments and put on a yellow robe of a holy man.

He then ordered Channa to take his possessions back to his father. Siddhartha then wandered through northeastern India, sought out holy men, and learned about Samsara (reincarnation), Karma, and Moksha. Attracted to the ideas of Moksha, Siddhartha settled on the bank of Nairanjana River, and adopted a life of extreme self-denial and penances, meditating constantly. After six years of eating and drinking only enough to stay alive, his body was emaciated, and he was very weak. Five other holy men joined him, hoping to learn from his example. One day, Siddhartha realized that his years of penance only weakened his body, and he could not continue to meditate properly. When he stepped into the river to bathe, he was too weak to get out, and the trees lowered their branches to help him.

In that instant, a milk-maid named Nandabala came and offered a bowl of milk and rice, which Siddhartha accepted. The five holy men left Siddhartha after witnessing this. Refreshed by the meal, Siddhartha sat down under a fig tree (often referred to as the Bo tree, or Tree of Enlightenment) and resolved to find out an answer to life and suffering. While meditating, Mara (an evil god) sent his three sons and daughters to tempt Siddhartha with thirst, lust, discontent, and distractions of pleasure. Siddhartha, entered a deep meditation, and recalled all his previous rebirths, gained knowledge of the cycle of births and deaths, and with certainty, cast off the ignorance and passion of his ego which bound him to the world.

Thereupon, Siddhartha had attained enlightenment and became the Buddha (enlightened one). His own desire and suffering were over and, as the Buddha, he experienced Nirvana.. “There is a sphere which is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air..which is neither this world nor the other world, neither sun nor moon. I deny that it is coming or going, enduring, death or birth. It is only the end of suffering.”(www.buddhanet.net) Instead of casting off his body and his existence, however, Buddha made a great act of self-sacrifice. He turned back, determined to share his enlightenment with others so that all living souls could end the cycles of their own rebirth and suffering.

Buddha went to the city of Sarnath and found the previous five holy men that deserted him earlier at a deer park. When they saw Buddha this time, they realized that he had risen to a higher state of holiness. The Buddha began teaching them what he had learned. He drew a circle in the ground with rice grains, representing the wheel of life that went on for existence after existence. This preaching was called his Deer Park Sermon, or “Setting in Motion the Wheel of Doctrine.” Siddha …


Buddhism 1st OHP –BUDDHISM What is Buddhism? Buddha is the central symbol and reality of Buddhism, because he embodies the way of thinking and living. It is an analysis and description of human existence as conditioned by desire and ignorance and a method of attainment of spiritual freedom through human effort. In short, it describe human predicament and offers a rational method of spiritual freedom. Origins of Buddhism Borned as Siddhartha Gautama (563 483BC) as the son of an Indian Prince. He was carefully kept within the palace grounds till he was 29, when he eluded the guards and saw 4 signs an old man, representing old age; a sickly man, representing suffering; a corpse representing death; and a monk, representing peace.

When he sat under the Bodhi tree, he realised what was the cause of human suffering which was desire Thus after he experienced Nirvana, he decided to teach all those who would hear. Difference between Buddhism & Hinduism – Buddha himself disregarded the caste system of India, but NOT out of resentment. Constantly denied the religious status of caste. Therefore, he wanted a religion that would embrace everyone without discrimination. Tenets of Buddhism -Buddha took no interest in philosophy as he did not think it did man any good to discuss what God was and whether he existed. He was more concerned about human misery and believed he found a way to cure it. -Believed that everyone has an embryo of enlightment in him.

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If properly nurtured, the embryo will develop and become an enlightened, ideal person -The teaching on Harmlessness A Buddhist should try to care for all living things equally in an unemotional and detached way. His followers should not harm anything by word or deed, so Buddhism is noted for its kindness. -The 5 Precepts .. = Buddhists try to practice 5 basic guidelines, which deal with human weakenesses -Buddhist do not believe in a Being in the sense of a creator God, which other religions believe in. For them, life is not a preparation for eternity but a way of living out your present life until you reached your highest good.

Buddhas dharma (teaching) acts as a solution to lifes problems rather than to tap the supernatural resources for it. -The 4 Noble Truths -The 8-fold Paths The Dharma-chakra: the wheel of the law. The goal ultimately, was enlightment. 2nd OHP AFTERLIFE – Funerals Monks are invited to the funerals and the 5 Percept together with Buddhas teaching on death is given. Monks will return days later to give another sermon before either cremation or burial.

-Rebirths Buddha rejected the Hindu version of the transmigration of the souls as he felt that eternal souls do not exist. He felt that one could only break the effects of karma, by giving up ones cravings so as to cease the Samsara reincarnation cycle through the nirvana. Rejected the Hindu class structure He felt that “it is the things we do and the way we feel that we have to be born again and again, till we stop doing wrong, wanting things and having selfish feelings. Only then will nothing be left to be born again.” Nirvana – Buddha believed that it was mans desire to live and to have, that bound him to this world. – What is Nirvana? It is the goal of all Buddhists and it means “to escape from this world and the rebirth into it.” Enlightment constitute salvation but Nirvana is the ultimate blessedness where salvation leads to.

– It is really hard to pinpoint what Nirvana is as it connotes the indescribable and transcendent realm sought in this pragmatic religion. – State most desired as the pattern of life has been broken such that it is timeless and changeless. Meditation as a way to Nirvana. *READ FROM THE OHP* – Rather, it is the creation of a new and higher state of mind, panna. – *READ AGAIN* OHP 3- DIVISION OF BUDDHISM -“Yellow Hat School”- Dalai Lama -Belif that Buddha was an incarnation of an Eternal Being, who has…


Buddhism is one of the major religions of the world, which was founded, in the fourth or fifth century B.C.E. in northern India by a man known traditionally as Siddhartha (“he who has reached his goal”). Buddhism has been and still remains a dominant religious, cultural, and social force in most of Asia, especially in India, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Buddha is the title given to the founder of Buddhism. Buddha’s name was Siddhartha Guatama, the son of a warrior prince. Some scholars believe that he lived from 563 to 483 B.C.E., nobody knows for sure how long he lived and when exactly he lived. Throughout his life he was frustrated by the deterioration of human life, he left home and fled from his uneasy life at the age of 29 to wander as an ascetic. He sought religious insight and a solution to the struggles of human existence. He passed through many trials and practiced extreme self-denial. Through a 6 year period, Siddhartha applied himself to ascetic practices, studying and following different methods of meditation with various religious teachers. But he was never fully satisfied. One day, however, he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it. At that exact time, he realized that physical austerities were not the means to achieve liberation. From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path of balance in the place of extremism. He called this “The Middle Way”. That night Siddhartha sat under the bodhi tree, and meditated until dawn. He purified his mind of all corruption and was enlightened at the age of thirty-five – he was then called the Buddha, or “Enlightened One.” For the next 80 years of his life, the Buddha preached the dharma in an effort to help other beings reach enlightenment. As a result, Siddhartha Gautama is the one who is given credit for spreading the religion of Buddhism.

Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
1.The world is full of suffering. Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, sickness and death are sufferings. To meet a man whom one hates is suffering. To be separated from a beloved one is suffering. To be vainly struggling to satisfy one’s needs is suffering. In fact, life that is not free from desire and passion is always involved with distress.
2.The cause of human suffering is found in the thirsts of the physical body and in the illusions of worldly passion. If these thirsts and illusions are traced to their source, they are found to be rooted in the intense desires of physical instincts.
3.If desire, which lies at the root of all human passion, can be removed, then passion will die out and all human suffering will be ended.
4.In order to enter into a state where there is no desire and no suffering, one must follow a certain path.
Like the Hindus, Buddhism taught to believe in reincarnation, the cycle of birth and death. He taught that all were reincarnated except those who lived with no cares in life. They believed that the soul released into nirvana (state of total transcendence). Another great emphasis of Buddhism is their great stress on the need for inward concentration and meditation; this through time helps develop the inner spiritual faculties.

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The religion of Buddhism is one of action such as chanting which is a common means of maintaining the early teachings and the use of translations is now very common. Chanting uses repetition, numeric groupings and meter as an aid both to support memory and to reinforce the main theme of a discourse. Buddhist also do worship as they do so towards Buddha, devout (but pagan) Buddhists pray before a statue for hours with a rosary. Also relics of bones, teeth and hair are enshrined in Buddhist temples and worshipped. Buddhists keep guardian statues and images for protection and to shake off evil spirits, but a Buddhist’s favorite object of prayer is his Kuan Yin, a female goddess. What I have just said proves that Buddhism is a religion of group participation in prayer but it is also required for one to be privately devoted towards Buddha.
Buddhism, as a religion, originated in India in the sixth century and spread across the continent of Asia. Over the centuries it gradually made a big impact on the culture, art, customs and rituals of many different countries it reached. “Way of the Elders,” and Mahayana “Greater Vehicle of Salvation”. While Maharani had a great impact on` the thinking in northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Korea and Japan.
Buddhist Symbols
There are many different symbols of Buddhism and these are them. The first one is the indestructible diamond, it is clear, yet showing all colors, becomes a symbol of the nature of the mind. The next symbol of Buddhism is the bell, which is the female part of the Tantric polarity, the symbol of emptiness, the boundless openness, giving room for wisdom. Vajra is the next symbol symbolizing the male part of the Tantric polarity: the symbol of effective means and Buddha’s active compassion with the meditating person. Originally it was the thunderbolt of the god Indra, later it came to represent the diamond
One of the last symbols is the Dharma Wheel which holds the eight hubs, these are a symbol of the Eightfold Path (right belief, right resolution, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right thinking, peace of mind through meditation) leading to perfection. The last symbol is the Lotus and this is the symbol of the teaching of Buddha.
The Buddhist flag, first arised in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith. The six colors of the flag represent the colors of the aura that came from the body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. The horizontal stripes represent the races of the world living in harmony and the vertical stripes represent eternal world peace. The colors symbolize the perfection of Buddhahood and the Dharma. Each of these colors mean something for example: The Blue light that radiated from the Buddha’s hair symbolizes the spirit of Universal Compassion for all beings. The Yellow light that radiated from the Buddha’s epidermis symbolizes the Middle Way, which avoids all extremes and brings balance and liberation. The Red light that radiated from the Buddha’s flesh symbolizes the blessings that the practice of the Buddha’s teaching brings. The White light that radiated from the Buddha’s bones and teeth symbolizes the purity of the Buddha’s Teaching and the liberation it brings. The Orange light that radiated from the Buddha’s palms, heels and lips symbolizes the unshakable Wisdom of the Buddha’s Teaching. The Combination Color symbolizes the universality of the Truth of the Buddha’s Teaching. Overall flag represents that: Regardless of race, nationality, division or color, all human beings possess the potential of Buddhahood.
Ritual Worship
In Mahayna countries ritual is more important than in Theravada. Images of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas on temple altars and in the homes of devotees serve as a focus for worship. Prayer and chanting are common acts of devotion, as are offerings of fruits, flowers, and incense. 10 There is a story of a man who was a follower of another religion who went to the Buddha as a unbeliever looking to be convinced of the Buddha’s teachings. After he heard what Buddha said he was persuaded and asked how he should become a Buddhist. Buddha said: “You need to make a proper investigation the way you would investigate anything else. Talk to followers of the religion, find a temple in your area, study, read, read, read, and read some more. Read not only the explanations of how
The religion works also read other people’s experiences with Buddhism. The Buddha would want you to look at all sides of it before making a choice. As you delve farther into the religion your real initiation into it will come along on its own”.
Benefits of Buddhism
Buddhism allows each individual to study Truth internally and requires no faith without seeing before you accept it. Buddhism advocates no dogmas, no creeds, no rites, no ceremonies, no sacrifices, and no penance’s, which all of those must usually be accepted on blind faith. Buddhism is not a system of faith and worship but it is merely a Path to Supreme Enlightenment. Buddhism and the Dharma (dhamma) or doctrine is the Path to ending the addictions, the craving, the becoming again and again of constructed false states of existence; and instead, attaining the goal, the true state of permanent reality.
Natalia Gordon, The Buddha, pg.33-34
Wasley and Barnigan Corp. (C) 1990.

Eva Judy Jansen. The Book of Buddha’s: Ritual Symbolism Used on Buddhist
Statuary and Ritual.
Civil Tibet Corp. (C) 1997
William R. La Fleur, Images of Enlightenment: Tibetan Art in Practice,
Pg. 42-56. Published by Allen Greer, (C) 1993- World Education
Jonathan Landaw, Holy Places of the World.

James L. Turnbound, Religious People, pg. 271 K. Barnes reference
Corp. (C) 1995
World Book Encyclopedia, pg.555
World Book Inc. 1996,
Copyright 1997


Buddhism Though some of the religions of the ancient world have disappeared, their heritage continues to influence the religions of today. In the following essay I will discuss Buddhism. I will focus on key concepts, beliefs, practices, developments and how they are manifested in everyday life. Buddhism is a religion founded by an ex-Prince Siddhartha Gaumata. Gaumata was a prince who was brought up in a perfect surrounding.

When the prince left the palace he saw all the poverty in the land. At the age of twenty nine, the prince left his wife and his infant son to meditate and practice Yoga to find peace and enlightenment. Gaumata was meditating for a long time when finally, while sitting under a Bo tree, he attained the enlightenment he was looking for. It is for this reason he got the name Buddha, meaning the enlightened one. Buddha became a traveling teacher and taught everyone his discovery.

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Buddha did not write any of his lessons down. They believe he taught about the Four Noble Truths, (1) life is suffering, (2) all suffering is caused by ignorance, (3) Ending ignorance will end suffering, and (4) The path to the destruction of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path consists of (1) Knowledge of the truth, (2) the intention to resist evil, (3) not saying anything that will hurt someone else, (4) respecting life, (5) having a job that doesn’t injure anyone, (6) striving free one’s mind of evil, (7) controlling one’s feelings, and (8) concentrating properly. Buddha preached that the life was a continuing cycle of death and rebirth. The well being of oneself was determined on your behavior in your previous life. Buddha said that by ridding oneself of worldly things he would be in nirvana, peace and happiness.

After Buddha’s death, his followers collected his teachings that became the dharma. A key concept is the sangha, which is sometimes referred to as an ideal Buddhist community. All the people in the community follow all the laws and seek nirvana. The monks’ arrangement kept the preserving and the spreading of Buddhism. In many Buddhist countries the monks had to live in poverty and meditate. The Buddhists also have a book called Tripitika, meaning three baskets.

The first part of the book is about the Basket of Discipline, which talks about regulating the order of Buddhist monks. The second part is the Basket of Discourses, which talks about the sermons of Buddha. The last part is about the Basket of the Higher Dharma, which talks about systematic discussions of principle. All Buddhists have the obligation to pray to Buddha whenever they see a statue of him. There are different customs in Buddhism. The three places that these different customs come from are from the Theravadas, the Mahayanas, and the Zens. The Zens are the group that originated in China. The marriage and death follow the different customs.

The Theravadas have a wedding by going to a monastery, after the legal wedding. There they give a generous gift to the sangha. They get a special chant for themselves to have a great future. When someone dies their body is sent to the monastery and is burned by the monks. A key practice in the Buddhism community is a special holiday.

Wesak is known as a Tibetan holiday. It is celebrated every year in May to honor the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. Some people fast but others are picnicking, dancing, acting and playing sports. Buddhism refers to a diverse array of beliefs and practices. They apply the principles of The Eightfold Path.

The final goal is to achieve pure ecstasy that follows on meditative exercises. By doing so, one turns away from the unhappy world to spiritual realities beyond sense. Buddhism sounds like a funny religion, but in fact there are about 300 million Buddhists in the world. Religion.


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