Buddhism2 Paper

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Buddhism2




Buddhism

According to Webster's definition, Buddhism is not a religion. It states that
religion is the "belief in or worship of God or gods"(Webster's New World Dictionary
pg.505). "The Buddha was not a god"(About Buddhism pg.1). " There is no theology, no
worship of a deity or deification of the Buddha"(Butter pg.1) in Buddhism. Therefore
"Buddhists don't pray to a creator god"(Buddhism FAQ's pg.1). Consequently, Buddhism
is catagorized as a philosophy, but is still regarded it as a religion. "The name Buddhism
comes from the word 'budhi' which means to wake up and thus Buddhism is the
philosophy of awakening"(What is Buddhism pg.1). Fittingly, "buddha literally means
'awakened one'"( Buddhist Basics pg.1).
"Buddha are aimed soley to liberate sentient beings from suffering"(About
Buddhism pg.1). They dedicate their lives to showing others the way to end the viscous
cycle of samsara, or reincarnation. Buddha are enlightened beings who had the
opportunity to reach the ultimate goal, but turned back to help the rest of the world get to
where they were.
The ultimate goal is to attain Nirvana. "Nirvana simply means cessation"(The Goal
pg.1). "It is the cessation of passion, aggression and ignorance"(The Goal pg.1).
"Nirvana is the highest happiness"(What is Buddhism pg.5). "It has become equated with a
sort of Eastern version of heaven."(The Goal pg.1). The way to reach Nirvana is " to
become empty, to become enpty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure, and sorrow- to let the
Self die"(Hesse pg.11). "Freedom from the Self liberates"(About Buddhism pg.1). Once
Nirvana is achieved one can escape the cyclical repetition of life, in which one is
reincarnated over and over again.
In Buddhism, "the world is in flux, coming into existence and passing
away"(Buddhist Basics pg.5). It is a continuous cycle. Time is often viewed to be like
that of a river. If you've seen a river you'd have seen that "the water continually flowed
and flowed and yet it was always there; It was always the same yet every moment it was
new"(Hesse pg.83). Breaking this cycle was the main goal of the Buddha. This has been
the way of thinking in Buddhism, since its beginning.
"Buddhism emerged in India more than 2.5 thousand years ago as a religious and
philosophical teaching"(Buddhism pg.1). In fact "Buddhism is the most ancient of the
four world religions"(Buddhism pg.1). They have many followers. Although an exact
number cannot be calculated, for various reasons, "one can speak of approximately 400
billion lay practitioners and 1 billion Buddhist monks and nuns in the world"(Buddhism
pg.1). Buddhism was not started by the first Buddha, for " there have been many
Buddha"(Buddhist Basics pg.1), but by the historical Buddha.

Siddartha fasting as a Samana.
"The historical Buddha was born in approximately 563 B.C.E. in Northern
India"(Who is Buddha pg.1). His birth took place "in the towm of Kapilavastu (located in
today's Nepal)"(Introduction to Buddhism pg.2). He was named " Siddartha, which
means 'he whose aim is accomplished'"(Introduction to Buddhism pg.2). "Siddartha's
parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas"(Introduction to
Buddhism pg. 2). Being the historical Buddha, "his compassion and patience were
legendary"(What is Buddhism pg. 3). He "is seen as a timeless mirror of mind's inherent
potential"(Who is Buddha pg.1). "His teaching make being fearless, joyful, and
kind"(Who is Buddha pg 1). Although Buddha felt that "nobody finds salvation through
teachings"(Buddhism FAQ's pg.1), he did have "Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha; the
law of the Buddha"(FAQ'S pg.1). Because of the way he felt about teachings, "Buddha
strongly encouraged his followers to 'be a lamp unto themselves' and put his teachings to a
test"(Buddhist Basics pg.2). His Dharma consisted of The Four Noble Truths and The
Eightfold Path. "These are the central teachings of the Buddha"(Tokyo n.pag.).


Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The First Noble Truth is that there is suffering. If people were to look at their own
lives and the world around them they would realize that life is full of suffering. "We suffer
because we are constantly struggling to survive"(Butter pg.2). "Suffering may be Physical
or Mental"(Tokyo n.pag.). Physical suffering comes in many different forms. An example
of such suffering is aged people. They cannot hear as well, see as far or clearly, or move
as limberly as they used to be able to. "The truth is that the suffering of birth, old age,
sickness, and death is unavoidable"(Tokyo n.pag.). Besides physical suffering, there are
also various forms of mental suffering. This suffering usually occurs due to one's
attraction to impermanent pleasures. An example of this is a person finding a new friend
and being elated while side by side with the new found companion, but when separated,
they feel the pain of loneliness. These are also examples of what causes the suffering,
which is the next truth.
The Second Noble Truth is that suffering has a cause. "The direct causes of
suffering are desire, or craving, and ignorance."(Tokyo n.pag.) Craving is the deeply-
rooted longing, of all living beings, for the pleasures of the senses. For instance, people
always want things like delicious foods, entertaining movies, or good company. The
problem with this is that it is a continuous cycle. After you eat you will be hungry again,
after the movie will get bored, and after your friends leave, you will be lonely. The same
holds true for people who wish to own the best and newest products. They will never be
satisfied because there will continue to be newer and better things. This is the case in
America today and look where we are.
The other cause of suffering is ignorance. This is also the cause of craving. The
search to find out why we crave always leads back to ingorance. If we knew that
satisfying those frivilous "needs" accomplished nothing we would have no reason to do so.
If people would develop their minds and acquire enough knowledge they would be able to
see the truth. They would be able see that suffering has an end, which is the Third Noble
Truth.
"The end of suffering is the final goal of the Buddha's teaching"(Tokyo n.pag.).
This can be experienced by anyone. When thoughts of anger and greed arise in one's mind
unhappiness, suffering, is experienced, but when they cease these thoughts the suffering
temporarily abates. To end the suffering indefinitely, one must completely remove the
desire, ill will, and ignorance. There is a path which leads to the end of suffering and that
is the Fourth Noble Truth.


Kandy, Sri Lanka
Buddha on hill at
Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara
The path to end suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path. "The central theme of
this path is meditation"(Butter pg.2). During this meditation mantras are used. "They
believe that when certain sounds and words, called mantras, are said many times they
arouse good vibrations within a person"(Buddhism FAQ's pg.1). The Noble Eightfold Path
consists of eight factors:

Right Understanding
Right Thoughts
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration

1. Right Understanding is the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. In other words, it is
the understanding of oneself as one really is. The main idea of Buddhism is Right
Understanding. Buddhism is based on knowledge and practical concepts, as opposed to
unsubstantiated beliefs.

2. Right Thoughts are threefold. The first are the thoughts of renunciation. The second
are Kind Thoughts which are opposed to ill-will. Finally, the third are thoughts of
harmlessness that are opposite to cruelty.

3. Right Speech deals with refraining from falsehood, stealing, slandering, harsh words
and frivolous talks.

4. Right Action deals with refraining from killing, stealing and unchastity. It helps one to
develop a character that is self-controlled and mindful of right of others.

5. Right Livelihood deals with the five kinds of trades which should be avoided by a lay
disciple. They are trade in deadly weapons, trade in animals for slaughter, trade in slavery,
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