Buddhism1 Essay

This essay has a total of 937 words and 10 pages.

Buddhism1





BUDDHISM




Buddhism is probably the most tolerant religion in the

world, as its teachings can coexist with any other religion's.

However, this is not a characteristic of other religions. The

Buddhist teaching of God is neither agnostic nor vague, but

clear and logical. Buddhism was created by Siddhartha Gautama,

who was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern

Nepal. Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a

young prince. His father was Suddhodana and was the ruler of

the Sakya people. According to custom, he married a young girl

named Yasodhara at the age of sixteen. His father had ordered

that he live a life of total seclusion, but one day Siddhartha

ventured out into the world and was confronted with the harsh

reality of life and universal suffering. At age twenty-nine, he

left his kingdom and new-born son to lead a plain, reclusive

life and determine a way to relieve this universal suffering.

Siddhartha meditated under a bodhi tree for six years, but he

was never fully satisfied. One day, however, he was offered a

bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it. At that

moment, he realized that physical harshness was not a means of

achieving liberation. From then on, he encouraged people to

follow a path of balance rather than extremism. He called this

path the Middle Way.

"Devotion to the pleasures of sense, a low
practice of villagers, a practice unworthy, unprofitable, the way of the world [on one
hand]; and [on the other] devotion to self- mortification, which is painful, unworthy and
unprofitable. By avoiding these two extremes

the Tathagata [or Buddha] has gained knowledge
of that middle path which giveth vision, which
giveth knowledge, which causeth calm, special knowledge, enlightenment, Nibbana [or Nirvana]." (Smart 236)

That night, Siddhartha sat under the bodhi tree and medi-

tated until dawn. He purified his mind of all evil thoughts

and attained Enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, thus

earning the title Buddha, or "Enlightened One." For the re-

mainder of his eighty years, the Buddha preached the dharma in

an effort to help other people also reach Enlightenment. The

Buddha objectively examined the phenomena of life. Studying

effects and tracing their causes, he produced a science of

living which ranks with any other science known to man. He de-

scribed life to be one and indivisible. Man, he declared, can

become Buddha, Enlightened, by the principle of Enlightenment

within. This process is simply to become what you are, to de-

velop to the full innate Buddha-Mind by destroying the igno-

rance, sin, and evils of human nature. According to the Buddha,

all forms of life can be shown to have three characteristics in

common; impermanence, suffering, and an absence of a permanent

soul which separates itself from other forms of life. The

Buddha also pointed out that nothing is the same as it was only

a moment ago. Everyone and everything are constantly changing.

There is no rest within the universe, only a ceaseless becoming

and never-ending change. Buddhism denies that man has an im-

mortal soul. The Enlightenment which dwells in life does not

belong to only one form. Man is always changing and entirely

mortal.
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