Buddhism is a religion which doesn't have a belief in a creator of god. It was originated in the 5th — 6th century BCE in India. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama Buddha (563–483 BCE). He had a peaceful life with his wife and family before he abandoned his position and felt to find a way to help others who are in need. He followed rigorous mental training to become an enlightened being who taught others how to escape the cycle of reincarnation, suffering, rebirth, and death.
The Buddha realized that craving and attachment caused suffering, and that people were suffering because they did not know the essence of existence. He realized that nothing is permanent, there is always constant change, because of which their is no inner peace in people. His teaching focuses on the Four Noble Truths, which are being taught in schools till today.
Siddhartha Gautama was born and grew up in Lumbini, he was son a king. Predictions were made that Siddhartha will become a great king, and a spiritual leader. In his adult life, he married and a son, and was groomed to succeed his father as king. One day, his coachmen drove him of the compound where he encountered what are known as the Four Signs:
- An aged man
- A sick man
- A dead man
- A ascetic
The first three stages explains life, he realized that everyone he loves has to go one day or another, and that would happen to him too. He asked the ascetic why he’s not like other men, the ascetic replied that He pursued a peaceful life of remorse, compassion, and non-attachment. Shortly after this encounter, Siddhartha left his wealth, status and family to follow the ascetic as an example.
He met one of his first teachers from whom he learned meditation techniques, but that did not free him from worry or suffering. The second teacher taught him to suppress his desires and stop consciousness, but this was also not a solution as it was not a permanent state of mind. He tried to live the way other ascetics lived, and he practiced most likely Jain disciplines, but that was not enough. Eventually he gave up on his body’s needs, starved, and ate only one grain of rice a day, until he became weak and imperceptibly debilitated.
He realized that people suffer because they claim permanence in an ever-changing world. People maintained their unchanging ‘self’ identity, the clothes and things they thought of as “theirs”, and the relationships they believed would last forever, but none of this was true. The nature of life has changed, and the way to avoid suffering is to acknowledge it and act accordingly. At that moment he became a Buddha (“Enlightenment”), freeing himself from ignorance and illusion.
Teaching of Buddha
In order for life to be anything other than suffering, one has to live it without any desire to hold something, one had to let things go in their life and keep moving on. The Four Noble (“worthy or respect”) Truths are:
- Life is suffering
- The cause of suffering is craving
- The end of suffering comes with an end to craving
- There is a path which leads one away from craving and suffering
The Eightfold Path that serves as a guide to a life free from attachments that guarantee suffering:
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
The first three are wisdom, next two are conduct, and last three are mental discipline.
The Four Noble Truths and percepts of the Eightfold Path, one is freed from the Wheel of Becoming which is a symbolic illustration of existence. At the center of the wheel is the ignorance, desire, and disgust that drives it. Between the end of the hub and the wheel, there are six states of existence: humans, animals, spirits, demons, gods, and hell. The state of suffering is represented along the edge: birth, mind and body, consciousness, contact, emotions, thirst, grip, desire, etc.
He dismisses faith in God, the Creator, as being irrelevant to people’s lives and causing suffering, as it is impossible to know God’s will and only leads to frustration, disappointment, and suffering. Did. You don’t need a god to follow the Eightfold Path. All you need is an obligation to take full responsibility for your own actions and their consequences.
Buddhism became famous in Sri Lanka and China more than in India. The Buddhist art also started appearing in both countries including the depictions of Buddha. There were statues of Buddha which became objects of veneration. Buddhists do not worship Buddha, but they in the form of the statue, which is point of concentration and enlightenment. Moreover, this achievement deserves special recognition, as a person who has become a Buddha (and anyone can do it according to Mahayana Buddhism) becomes a kind of “God” by transcending the human condition. Today, there are more than 500 million Buddhists in the world. Each Buddhist understands Noble Eightfold Path for himself and continues to spread the message that there is a way to peace.
This article was written for Extra Credit Unessay: HST 100, Prof. Blake Hartung, Arizona State University.
The wheel of becoming
My husband did a series of on-stage 'conversations' in the States a while ago and a friend of ours sent him these words…
Buddha Purnima 2020: Here's everything you need to know about Gautam Buddha's birth anniversary
The birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is celebrated as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti with…