Essay On Buddhism

Submitted By erichagan
Words: 1390
Pages: 6

Buddhism “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”- Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama (also known as the Buddha) dedicated his life to truly find peace of mind, which he strived for his entire life. Buddhism is based on using your mind and body to overcome your suffering in life and reach your ultimate state of well-being. Buddhists try to replicate the life of Buddha, and reach their ultimate peace of mind. There are over 350 million practicing Buddhists and it is most common in various parts of Asia. It is the majority religion in Japan, Tibet, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Bhutan, and Vietnam. Buddhism has been spreading rapidly since the Buddha’s first teachings (Wangu 6). There is much to be learned about the life of Siddhartha Gautama’s, the Buddhist religion and faith, and the different branches and beliefs of Buddhism (Ring). The root of Buddhism comes from about twenty-five hundred years ago. About five hundred B.C., the prince of a kingdom of what is now Nepal decided he was unsatisfied by life. The suffering caused by disease and old age troubled him. So, at age 29, he began his search for peace of mind. Six years later he proclaimed he had discovered the “ultimate consciousness”. He called this “Nirvana”. After this, Siddhartha was known as the Buddha, which mean “enlightened one” (Mann 15). Buddha began preaching about his newly found “Nirvana” shortly after reaching his “ultimate consciousness”. In his first sermon, Buddha preached about the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. The Four Noble Truths say this: 1) Suffering exists in this world. 2) It is our foolish desires that cause this suffering. 3) Nirvana is liberation from those desires. 4) There is an ultimate path leading to nirvana (Mann 15). These truths represent the path all Buddhists plan to take in their life. They are the cornerstone for all divisions of the Buddhist faith (Ring). In the beginning of Buddha’s teachings, he really set the precedents for the Buddhist faith. Buddha preached about his spiritual path, in which he emphasized the keys to Buddhist virtues of wisdom. Buddha continued to preach his beliefs until he died at the age of eighty (Mann 17). After Buddha’s death, Buddhism continued to spread throughout Asia. Many Buddhist monks traveled around spreading the word of the enlightened one. A big key to Buddhism’s early success was due to Indian emperor Asoka. Asoka particularly favored Buddhism, so he sent missionaries to Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) to spread the Buddhist word. Sri Lanka is now the heart of a major branch of Buddhism called Theravada (Mann 17). Buddhist beliefs vary in many different ways. Depending on where you are, the religion can change drastically. However, there are many aspects of Buddhism that remain rather stable no matter where you are. Buddhism, unlike many western religions does not preach about a single, eternal god that created the universe. Buddhists however, believe in spiritual deities that represent certain aspects of the world like nature and human emotions. The Buddha taught how to gradually overcome our negative mindsets such as envy and anger. Only when we do this can we reach a truly peaceful state of mind. Buddhism states that we follow a spiritual path that gradually allows us to attain freedom from the harmful desires we face in our everyday lives. One big tool Buddhists use to take their focus off these desires is meditation. They use meditation to create “virtuous minds”, or minds that have been set free from the many illusions of happiness that we as humans face every day (Ring). Buddhists teach of a Noble “Eightfold” Path that will lead them to Nirvana. It is based on three qualities: Wisdom, Morality, and Meditation. Each of these qualities is backed by its own set of virtues. Wisdom consists of right view and right thought, Morality consists of right speech, right action, and right livelihood, and Meditation consists of right