About Buddhism Religion

Religion

About Buddhism  Religion

Buddhism

Founded

2,500 year ago in India

Founder

Gautama Siddhartha known as Buddha, who was the most recent

in a long series of Buddhas.

Major Scriptures

“Tripitakä” (three baskets of wisdom) is for the Therävada sect. It

is written in the Päli Präkrit language. It contains discourses

(Sutta), rules of conduct (Vinaya), and analysis of doctrine

(Abhidhamma).

“Sutras” is for Mahäyäna sects. The major Sutras are Anguttara

Nikaya, Dhammapada, Sutta Nipatta, and Samyutta Nikaya. They

are written in Sanskrit overlapped with Päli language.

Sects

There are two main sects, Theräväda (Hinayäna) and Mahäyäna.

The Theräväda, or “Way of the Elders,” is the more conservative

of the two. It is dominant in Sri Lankä, Burma, and Thailand.

The Mahäyäna, or “Great Vehicle,” is more diverse and liberal. It

is mainly found in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, and among Tibetan

peoples, where it is distinguished by its emphasis on the Buddhist

Tantras. Zen Buddhism is a major sect of Mahäyäna.

Adherents

Over 300 million in China, Japan, Sri Lankä, Thailand, Myanmar

(Burma), Indonesia, Korea, and Tibet.

Goals

The primary goal of Buddhism is Nirvana, defined as the end of

change, and literally meaning “to blow out” as one blows out a

candle. The Theräväda tradition describes the indescribable as

peace and tranquility. The Mahäyäna tradition views it as

emptiness and the unchanging essence of the Buddha and

ultimate reality.

Nirvana is synonymous with release from the bonds of desire, ego,

suffering, and rebirth. Buddha never defined the term except to

say, “It is unborn, unoriginated, unmade, and uncompounded”.

Nirvana is not a state of annihilation, but of peace and reality.

Buddhism does not believe in a creator God and thus no union

with God.

Path of Attainment

Buddhism takes its followers through progressive stages of

spiritual progress, namely Dhyäna, Samapatti, and Samädhi.

• Dhyäna is meditation, which leads to moral and

intellectual purification, and to detachment, which leads

to pure consciousness.

• Samapatti, or further Dhyäna, leads to a state that is

perfect solitude. This leads further to Samädhi.

• Samädhi is the attainment of supernatural consciousness

and finally to Nirvana.

Synopsis

The goal of life is Nirvana. Buddha’s essential teachings contain

the four Noble Truths:

Suffering:

Life is permeated by suffering or dissatisfaction. Being born, old

age, sickness, and death are all suffering. Union with what we

dislike is suffering; separation from what we desire is suffering.

This is the essential nature of life.

Cause of Suffering:

Desire or craving is the cause of suffering. It is the force of desire

that leads to rebirth and further suffering, accompanied by delight

and passion.

Cessation of Suffering:

The complete cessation of desires or cravings will end the

suffering. Forsaking, relinquishing, and detaching of ourselves

from desire and craving will automatically end the pain, pleasure,

birth and rebirth.

Path to end the Suffering:

By practicing the noble eight fold path, one can end the suffering:

• Right belief

• Right thought or aim

• Right speech

• Right action

• Right livelihood or occupation .

• Right effort or endeavor

• Right mindfulness

• Right meditation

The first two concern the preliminary frame of mind of the aspirant;

the next three are the ethical requirements; the last three concern

meditative training needed to realize ultimate truth and peace. This

attainment of peace is called Nirvana.

Beliefs

The Supreme is completely transcendent and can be described as

Sunya, a void, an emptiness, or state of non being.

The Four Noble Truths are:

• Suffering exists

• Desire is the cause of Suffering

• Cessation of Desire or Thrust ends Suffering

• To end Desire one must follow the Eight Fold path

Life’s aim is to end suffering through the annihilation of individual

ego, desire, or thrust and hence its existence and absorption into

Nirvana.

Individuals have three characteristics – suffering (Dukkha),

absence of an eternal self (Anattä), and impermanence (Aniccä).

Man’s true nature is divine and eternal, yet his individuality is

subject to change that affect all forms and is therefore transient,

dissolving at liberation into Nirvana. The no-self doctrine implies

that living beings have no eternal souls.

In the sanctity of the Buddha and in the sacred scriptures of

Buddhism; the Tripitaka (three Baskets of Wisdom) and the

Mahäyäna Sutras.

The greatness of self giving love and compassion towards all

creatures that contain merit exceeding the giving of offering to the

gods.

Dharma (the path), Karma (cause and effect), Reincarnation,

Sangh (unity of seekers), and the passage on earth as an

opportunity to end the cycle of birth and death.

The Middle Path consists of living moderately and avoiding

extremes of luxury and asceticism.

The monastic life is necessary to attain Nirvana.

The duties of an individual are defined in the Five precepts

(Panchashila) – Nonviolence (also towards all animals), Non-

stealing, Truthfulness (speak only harmless truth otherwise

observe silence), Immoral sensual relationship, and Avoidance of

Drugs and Alcohol.

Symbols

Wheel: The Dharma chakra or the Wheel of the Law is the most

important symbol of Buddhism.

The wheel signifies the circle of births and deaths due to karma,

which a person personally keeps in motion through his thirst

(Tanha) for life.

It also symbolizes a constantly changing universe, and the

impermanence of everything in the world. The hub of the wheel

represents the three causes of pain: ill-will, ignorance, and lust.

The eight spokes of the wheel represent the eightfold path. The

wheel cannot survive without the spokes. Even so, Dharma cannot

be sustained without the practice of these eight virtues.

Holidays

Buddhist holidays celebrate important moments of the life of the

Buddha such as His birth, Enlightenment, and entry into Nirvana;

his teachings; and aspects of the interaction of monks and

laypeople. It is marked with home decorations, pageantry,

processions, and devotional practices. Buddhist holiday dates vary

widely from one Asian country to another, and from one tradition to

another.

American Zen Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday as

Buddha Day in May. Hana - Matsuri (April 8) is a Japanese

celebration of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.

The birthday of Rinzai Zenji, the founder of the Rinzai school of

Zen Buddhism is celebrated on January 10. Zen Buddhist holidays

involve sitting meditation (zazen), chanting, singing, drumming,

and socializing. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is waking up and living in harmony with

oneself and with the world and appreciating the fullness of

each moment of life.

All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony

Sri Aurobindo

 

 

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