The Religion of Buddhism By: Chaise Anderson

Introduction to Buddhism: Buddhism is an Asian religion that originated in India during the 6th century B.C. Buddha Shakyamuni also known as Siddhartha Gautama was a Royal Prince of Lumbini and was born in 624 B.C. In his early years of life Gautama lived in the Royal Palace. At the age of 29, he had chosen to live the spiritual life by participating in meditation. After six years of being enlightened, under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, Buddha was requested to teach other the path of enlightenment.

Main Deity's: Buddhism is known to be a non-theistic religion. Instead of teaching about belief, Buddha taught how a person can realize truth for themselves otherwise known as "Practice rather than Belief".

Beliefs: Buddha had taught the basic belief in Buddhism known as the "Four Noble Truths". The Four Noble Truths taught the nature of existence, life, death, and the self. The Four Noble Truths included: Truth of Suffering (dukkha), Truth of the Cause of Suffering (samudaya), Truth of the End of Suffering (nirhodha), Truth of the Path that frees us from Suffering (magga).

Other teachings included "The Three Trainings" which included: Sila: virtue, good conduct, morality; Samadhi: concentration, meditation, mental development; Prajna: discernment, insight, wisdom. Another teaching also included "The Five Precepts": Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not lie, Do not misuse sex, Do not consume alcohol or drugs.

Texts in Buddhism: Buddhism has several writings which are written down in many holy texts. For example, there are two holy texts, Tripitaka and Sutra.

Tripitaka is the earliest collection of Buddhist writings. The Tripitaka was originally composed orally but was written down by third century B.C.E. Tripitaka means "three baskets", and each basket was divided by subject matter. The Discipline Basket (Vinaya Pitaka) were the rules and guidelines for living the monastic life of the sangha. The Discourse Basket (Sutra Basket) contains records of the Buddha's teachings and sermons. The Special Teachings (Abhidharma Pitaka) are collections of writings containing songs, poetry, and stories of the Buddha and his previous lives.

Sutra is a sacred text that contains texts such as the Heart Sutra and the Lotus Sutra. The Sutra is a foundational text for Mahayana Buddhism. The Heart Sutra teaches about emptiness; "Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form." The Lotus Sutra describes a lecture the Buddha gave and the ideas and thoughts.

Influence: Buddhism has been one of the strongest religions' and most influential. Buddhism has satisfied the spiritual needs of nearly one-fifth of mankind. The teachings of the Buddha remain among the richest spiritual resource of mankind. It has lifted the horizon of human effort is a higher level beyond a mere dedication to man's needs. Buddhism had spread all over the world from the east to the west. Buddhism had changed China, Korea, and Japan; it wisely explained the human condition and offered consolation. Southeast Asia had created not only a social structure, but they created a new ideal. Buddhism had also spread westward, and scholars spread Buddhism outside of Asia. Ahimsa and non-violence now plays an important roles in the western societies.

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