Essay, Research Paper: Buddhism


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Buddhism has a very long drawn out origination starting in about 565 B.C. with
the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. The religion has guide lines in two forms in
which Buddhist followers must follow the "Four Noble Truths" and the
"Eightfold Path" There are many aspects of this religion that can be
explored but the one that is most interesting seems to be it origination and
it's beliefs. In about 565 B.C. Siddhartha Gautama was born, a young Indian
prince born to the ruler of a small kingdom that is now known as Nepal.
Gautama's birth is described as a miraculous event, his birth being the result
of his mother's impregnation by a sacred white elephant that touched her left
side with a lotus flower. The scriptures claim that when Gautama was born ¹"immeasurable
light spread through ten thousand worlds; the blind recovering their sight, as
if from desire to see his glory" After birth the future Buddha (Gautama)
supposedly talked and walked while lotus leafs formed in his footprints.
Gautama's father was said to have been told his son's destiny for greatness,
either as an emperor or as a religious leader. Therefore Gautama's father
decided to isolate his son from the outside world, where he might "see how
the other half lived" and maybe even be tempted to belong to a different
religion. ¹pg 141 "What man Believes" Evans, Allan E., Moynes, Riley
E., Martinello, Larry Since the complete seclusion as Gautama's father had
wished was impossible and Gautama was a curious young man he did venture out and
that is when he eventually say the four sights, which would, if experienced as
it had been told to Gautama's father, lead the young prince to a religious life.
These sights or as how Buddhist refer to them "The Four Signs" were in
turn, a sick man covered with terrible sores, an old man, a corpse, and a
wandering monk. The sightings of these men made Gautama think of the suffering
and inevitable death which comes to all people great and small. This brought
further questioning such as the meaning of life and the ultimate fate of man. As
time passed these thoughts became great burdens upon Gautama and he increasingly
became dissatisfied with the shallow dissolute life of the royal court in which
he lived. Therefore at the age of 21, although married with a beautiful young
son and also the heir to a very rich throne he forsook it all and became a
travelling holy man. After a while of travelling as a holy man there was a great
even that transformed Gautama into the Buddha (or the Enlightened One). It all
began at dusk on Gautama's thirty-fifth birthday. While sitting under a tree it
is said that he thought a break through was obvious and here again is where the
legend takes over. It says that the evil one, Mara tempests him with beautiful
Goddesses and attacked him with tempests, flaming rocks and other devices, all
of which Gautama blocked himself from. Eventually at dawn Gautama finally
realized the essential truth about life and about the path to salvation. Because
of this Gautama then became the Buddha and remained this spot for many days
while remaining in a trance-like state for many weeks. This experience made
Gautama feel a desire to share his knowledge with others and he did so very
well, as a preacher and a teacher until his death in about 483 B.C. Buddhism is
a lot like other Indian religions based upon the beliefs. Such as the beliefs in
reincarnation, dharma, karma and Nirvana. But mostly in Raja Yoga the profound
meditation which holds the key to enlightment and therefore to the salvation of
Nirvana. Buddha himself expressed the base of his beliefs when he said ¹"I
teach only 2 things, O disciples, the fact of suffering and the possibility of
escape from suffering. These ideas are expanded upon in the "Four Noble
Truths" and the "Eightfold Path". The "Four Noble
Truths" can be summarized by saying, life is suffering (dukkha), the cause
of suffering is desire (tanha) the way to end suffering is to overcome desire,
and to overcome desire on must follow the "Eightfold Path" Buddha
taught that man is a slave to his ego . That man wishes happiness, security,
success, long life, and many other things for himself and his loved ones.
However, pain, frustration, sickness and death are all inevitable and the only
way to eliminate these evils is to overcome desire. The "Eight Fold
Path" is a little more difficult to summarize it begins with, "Right
to Knowledge", which means basically the four noble truths. "Right
Aims" in next, one must resolve in order to make progress towards
salvation. ¹ pg 146 "What Man Believes" Evans, Allan E., Moynes,
Riley E., Martinello, Larry "Right Speech", our speech reflects our
character. We must avoid speaking falsely, obscene, slanderous, and belittling
words. "Right Conduct", you must follow the five constitutes at the
core of Buddhism's moral code which are, no killing, no stealing, no lying, no
committing indecent sexual acts or no consuming of intoxicants. "Right
Livelihood", some jobs are condemned by Buddha such as slave dealer,
butcher, prostitute, and traders of lethal weapons and substances. "Right
Effort", one must have the will power to overcome obstacles. "Right
Mindfulness", Buddhism says that what a person is, comes from what he
thinks. By improving our thoughts we can become more virtuous. And the last is
"Right Meditation" by this meaning the practice of the Raja Yoga.
Since Buddhism emphasizes the desirability of self removal from the problems
involved with everyday life, Buddhism easily became a monastic religion. The
Buddha advised his followers to seek out men of wisdom and remain close to them.
Within monasteries, everyone has the same goal, which is to attain Nirvana.
Nirvana is ¹"selfannihilation or the extinguishing of all traces of
desire, which represents final enlightment and which releases a person from the
cycle of rebirth". There are many monasteries in the world, in some of them
in countries such as Burma, Thailand, and Ceylon, almost every young male spends
at least a few weeks of his life within a monastery. Typically at the age of
four the boy celebrates an elaborate ceremony which involves first dressing him
in fine clothing. Then stripping the clothing from him. Shaving his head and he
is given a beggar-bowl along ¹Pg 407 "What Man Believes" Evans, Allan
E., Moynes, Riley E., Martinello, Larry with a saffron-coloured robe, these
three things all being traditional symbols of a Buddhist monk. For those who
become monks it is a life of poverty and celibacy. Before gaining the admittance
into the monastery a monk must proclaim his faith by saying ¹"I go to
Buddha for refuge; I go to Dharma for refuge; I go to Sangha for refuge" by
saying this a monk gives up his civil rights such as voting and being eligible
for public services. Plus few sects permit marriage. Much more could be said of
Buddhism but there are so many more aspects that could be explored that it would
take forever. This is just short overview of the origination of Buddhism and the
Buddha. Along with a short overview over the beliefs and customs of the
religion.Bibliography"What Man Believes" Evans, Allan E., Moynes, Riley E., Martinello,
Larry Bibliography 1. Evans, Allan E., Moynes, Riley E., Martinello, Larry
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