Buddhism By: Olivia Watts

The Founder of Buddhism

  • Siddhartha Gautama also known as Buddha (awakened one) is the founder of Buddhism
  • Buddha was born in 6th century B.C. in Lumbini (today's Nepal) into a large clan called the Shakyas
  • He was born into a royal family to king Shuddhodana and Queen Mayadevi
  • he was sheltered in a palace made just for him by his father isolated from everyone
  • When Prince Siddhartha would go into the capital city of his father’s kingdom to see how the people lived. During these visits he came into contact with many old people and sick people, and on one occasion he saw a corpse.
  • These encounters left a deep impression on his mind and led him to realize that all living beings without exception have to experience the sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing and death.
  • Realizing that only a fully enlightened Buddha has the wisdom and the power to help all living beings in this way, he decided to leave the palace and go to the forest where he would engage in profound meditation until he attained enlightenment.

The Main Deity of Buddhism

Mahakala

  • the protector of the tents of nomadic Tibetans, and of monasteries, and of all Tibetan Buddhism
  • Mahakala is the wrathful form of the gentle and compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva.
  • In Tibetan iconography he is usually black, although he appears in other colors as well.
  • He has two to six arms, three bulging eyes with flames for eyebrows, and a beard of hooks.
  • He wears a crown of six skulls.

Beliefs

Afterlife

  • after death one is reincarnated or enters nirvana
  • One only enters nirvana if they are a Buddha
  • you can only become a buddha is you have attained enlightenment

Meaning of life

  • The purpose of life is to end suffering.
  • The Buddha taught that humans suffer because we continually strive after things that do not give lasting happiness.

Four Noble Truths

  • In his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, the Buddha taught the "Four Noble Truths," which formed the foundation of belief for all branches of Buddhism
  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha) identifies the presence of suffering
  2. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya) seeks to determine the cause of suffering.
  3. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha) is about the end of suffering, that suggests either the end of suffering in this life, on earth, or in the spiritual life, through achieving Nirvana.
  4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga) is about the method for attaining the end of suffering

Important Text

  • The former, also called the Sutras are believed to be, either literally or metaphorically, the actual words of the Buddha.

Tibetan Book of Death

  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the Tibetan Buddhist text that is most well known to the West.
  • Written by a Tibetan monk, the Book of the Dead describes in detail the stages of death from the Tibetan point of view.
  • In Tibet, Nepal, and Mongolia, a lama will often recite the Book of the Dead to a recently deceased person in order to help him understand his experiences and gain enlightenment, or at least a positive rebirth.

The Tripitaka

  • the Tripitaka is the earliest collection of Buddhist teachings and the only text recognized as canonical by Theravada Buddhists.
  • The Tripitaka was handed down orally, then written down in the third century B.C.
  • The contents of the Tripitaka were determined at the First Buddhist Council, shortly after the death of Buddha.
  • As many as 500 of Buddha's disciples assembled, and at the direction of Mahakashypa, Buddha's successor, the teachings of the Buddha were recited in full. They were then verified by others who had also been present and organized into the Tripitaka

The spread of Buddhism

  • Buddhism began to spread southwards from its place of origin in Northern India to Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Indo-China and other South East Asian countries.
  • It also moved Northwards through Kashmir Afghanistan along the ‘Silk road’ into the Himalayan kingdoms (Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal), Tibet, Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia, and also into China, and later Korea and Japan.
  • This was a fortunate development because Buddhism had all but died out in India after the Muslim incursions of the eleventh Century C.E.

Resources

  • http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism
  • http://buddhism.about.com/od/tibetandeities/tp/Dharmapalas.htm
  • http://www.aboutbuddha.org/english/life-of-buddha-4.htm
  • http://www.biography.com/people/buddha-9230587#synopsis
  • http://www.thebuddhistsociety.org/page/the-spread-of-buddhism
  • http://www.pbs.org/edens/thailand/buddhism.htm
  • https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/who-was-buddha

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