About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1064 |
6 min read
Published: Aug 30, 2022
Words: 1064|Pages: 2|6 min read
Buddhism as a religion was founded between the late 6th century and the early 4th century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama after he attained Enlightenment (Nirvana) and he shared his message throughout northeastern India, teaching anyone who was willing to learn about the Middle Path, no matter caste or gender. Buddha and his students transcribed and documented it. In fact, sutras in Buddhism are scriptures (canonical) are thought to be records of the oral conversations and teachings by Siddhartha Gautama to his students. His students documented these teachings.
The context of the time Buddhism arose was that is was a time of great social change and of intense religious activity. During this time, there were disagreements between the sects and Northeastern India and Northwestern India in terms of how to practice rituals and sacrifice after the high discontent with the Brahmanic, who were considered Hindu high-caste, way of sacrifice and ritual. It was a period of religious doubt, turmoil, and experimentation as some sects lost power while others of importance rose such as Buddhism. Also, because of the religious turmoil, society was troubled during this time as tribal unity was breaking down and the expansion of several petty kingdoms. Buddhism came about after Siddhartha Gautama realized and was moved by the sufferings of in the world.
Buddhism did not stem out from another belief system, although it does share some aspects with Hinduism, which can lead one to believe that Siddhartha Gautama himself was born Hindu, some parts of were incorporated although, for the most part, it challenged the Vedic gods and beliefs. Aspects such as karma, dharma, moksha, and reincarnation.
Buddha, born as Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, which is present-day Nepal. He was born into a Hindu-Kshatriya family. His father, being a king, showered him with riches, wealth, and luxuries in order to prevent him from seeing the world outside of his riches, which was unsatisfactory and not so pleasant. However, on one of his chariot rides, he confronted impermanence in the form of an old man, sick person, and a dead man. Moved by the suffering, Buddha left his life of luxury and tried and mastered many meditation techniques. He remained in meditation and after six days and crossing many obstacles, he reached enlightenment. After enlightenment, he traveled throughout north India spreading his message to anyone who was willing to listen.
In Buddhism, there is no main figure or God, but Buddhists seek to reach enlightenment or nirvana and usually do so by following the path of Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, who had went on a quest himself to attain enlightenment/nirvana. Buddhism and the Buddhist cannon is composed of many Sutras, which were essentially the words and teachings of Buddha. The main Buddhist texts that are prominent to this religion are the Pali Canon, Mahayana Sutras, and the Tibetan Books of the Dead. The Pali Canon is the oldest, surviving canon that is complete in Buddhism and it was written down by the students of Buddha and his followers and was written during the reign of King Vattagāmini at the Fourth Buddhist Council. The other main texts were also written by Buddhist scholars and students of Buddha.
Buddhists either worship in their homes or at temples. In their homes, Buddhist typically have shrines and these shrines usually have a statue of Buddha, candles, and an incense burner. Buddhist temples come in many colors and varieties, but every temple has at least one image or icon of Buddha. Also, the temples symbolize five elements, the elements being air, earth, fire, water, and wisdom. Buddhist worship is called puja, which it is also called in Hinduism. There are many ways Buddhists worship. Worshippers may sit on the floor barefoot and facing Buddha, chant. In temples, monks will often chant religious texts and worshipper listen and chant with the monk. The chant is sometimes accompanied by musical instruments. Buddhist also make offerings of flowers, candles, incense, and pure water during the prayer at the shrine to thank Buddha for his teachings. Another way Buddhists worship is through meditating and reading the holy texts of Buddhism. They also celebrate religious holidays and usually go to the temple during this time to worship.
There are many major holidays in Buddhism. One of them is called Vesak/ Buddha/ Day and it is the birthday of Buddha. Buddhists celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and the death of Buddha on this day. The second major holiday in Buddhism is Nirvana Day/Parinirvana Day and this festival is celebrated in honor of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, which is when he reached Nirvana. This celebration also marks the ending of the cycle of death and rebirth. Dhamma Day/ Asalha Puja Day it honors the first sermon or the “turning of the wheel of the Dharma”. Buddhist New Year is another holiday and is celebrated on different days in different countries and is to celebrate the new year and the first full moon. Another important holiday is Magha Puja Day which is when Buddha and the first 1,250 disciples gathered. Bodhi Day is the day Siddhartha Gautama became after he first became Buddha. The Kathina Ceremony is the day where nuns and monks are offered robes and other necessities There are many more festivals, however, these are the major ones.
The set of beliefs that guide daily behavior in Buddhism is the Four Noble Truths, which are dukkha, which is there will be suffering in life, suffering is caused by desire, cravings, and attachment (Trishna), and the way to end suffering is to attain nirvana. Buddhism can be traced back to Ancient northeastern India, specifically towards current Nepal and the current Indian state Bihar. Because Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal, it can be concluded that Buddhism arose from that area. Buddhism spread all throughout the Indian subcontinent and then throughout Asia and even entered the current Middle East area after it had been created. Today, Buddhism is practiced all around the world and the estimated number of Buddhists in the world is 488 million people.
In conclusion, Siddhartha set out on a long spiritual search, where he would learn of the teachings which would later become Buddhism. In this religion, there is no single God to be worshipped, unlike Christianity or Islam. The goal of the religion is to achieve nirvana or enlightenment, so to speak, by living the way of the Buddha.
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