“With our thoughts, we make the world.” -Buddha
An individual’s beliefs are personal and make them unique in comparison to others; they cannot be reputed or judged.
Also, it has been discovered through extensive research and surveying that those who are more religious enjoy more enjoyable than others.
Since devout religious people exert sincere effort to follow fundamental doctrines that draw them closer to a supreme being they have good relationships with their peers, develop an openness to other cultures and traditions, and are better equipped to deal with identity or personal crises.
Therefore, to educate our interested readers about the history of world religions, we will spend some time analysing the origins, doctrines, and additional information on the world’s fourth-biggest faith in terms of followers: Buddhism.
Buddhism originates from the teachings of Buddha. (Source: Unsplash)
Since Buddhism has over 500 million followers and encompasses 7% of the entire world population, it is a dominant religion that is worthy of study to understand the background of so many people spread across the earth.
Predominantly practised in Sri Lanka and distinct parts of Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, Buddhism is a religion that includes a large variety of traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices.
The overwhelming majority of customs and traditions followed by Buddhists stem from the original teachings of the Buddha.
When did Buddhism begin?
While Buddhism is not as ancient as Hinduism in any way, its roots have been discovered to go as far back as the latter half of the 6th-century B.C.E.
The teachings of Buddhism originate from Siddhartha Gautama or “the Buddha”.
Siddhartha Gautama was born in 563 B.C.E in a place near the Himalayan foothills, and later on, he began teaching around Benares. The “Buddha” was raised and informed during a time where the Hindu ideal of renunciation of family and friends by holy persons seeking Truth first became widespread.
According to the teachings of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama was the warrior son of a king and queen. His life experiences and visions made him realise intriguing aspects of human beings and their suffering. For example, after moments of reflection, Gautama saw the stark contrast between his life and human suffering that made him realise that all the pleasures on earth were transitory, and could only mildly mask human pain that is inescapable all individuals.
Therefore, to try to escape human suffering, he left his family and went to the woods with several other teachers to reject the society he was part of to such a point that they nearly died of starvation. After realising that starving himself with his companions would not solve any of the world’s suffering and deep-rooted issues, he ate and meditated under a tree.
While there have been many theories as to how long “Buddha” stayed under the tree to meditate, some say only a day while others claim it was more like six months, he finally found the correct answers to the causes of suffering and its permanent release.
What was it?
Nirvana. Reaching Nirvana is a state of enlightenment that all devout Buddhists strive to achieve to deal with the world’s many problems of suffering.
After Siddhartha Gautama reached Nirvana, he became formerly known as the “Buddha” and began to teach to as many as possible. His essential doctrines include the Four Noble Truths and Eight-Fold Path that have been followed by Buddhists down to this day.
Before concluding this section, it is essential to state that although many of Buddha’s activities and teachings took place in the 6th century B.C.E, an account of his life was not released until the 1st or 2nd century by Ashvaghosa. The ancient writings about Buddha are known as the Buddha Charita.
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Similar to all major religions, denominations, and personal beliefs, Buddhism has many primary doctrines that are unlike any other customs or traditions practised by other faiths.
It is essential to mention that the majority of Buddhist beliefs revolve around the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth; mainly by attaining Nirvana or a path of Buddhahood.
Since there are so many intriguing doctrines encompassed in Buddhism, it is crucial to focus on some of the most noteworthy. In the following list, we will consider the Four Noble Truths in further detail:
Deeply entrenched in Buddhist beliefs is the Eightfold Path. The following are the eight stages that should not be taken in order but are instead there to strengthen and reinforce each other:
By working hard to complete all of the required tasks of the eightfold path, Buddhists set themselves up for enlightenment that is necessary for true happiness in life.
Before concluding, it is essential to state that there are many more other Buddhist beliefs that are fundamental to the entire structure of Buddhism.
Although the world’s major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism could not be more different, they are similar in their structure.
Well, it is essential to mention that even though the beliefs and doctrines differ, there are specific categories that remain the same such as places of worship, holy books, prominent figures, and iconic symbol.
Even though not all religions meet in a place called a church, they at least have a sacred space where there beliefs are cherished.
Therefore, without further ado, we will consider supplementary information about the Buddhist faith.
Temples are where Buddhists worship their deities. (Source: Unsplash)
The following is the most common sacred space where Buddhists worship:
Christians read the Bible, Muslims examine the Qur’an, and Buddhists analyse the following ancient text for insight:
The succeeding people are some of the most recognisable figures of Buddhism:
The dharma wheel has eight spokes and typically represents Buddhism. (Source: pixabay)
Like all denominations and faiths, Buddhism has a few symbols that are different from all else. The following are the most iconic Buddhist symbols:
By carefully analysing Buddhism, individuals become more familiar with intriguing aspects that are so ordinary for people in other continents such as Asia.