History: In this essay, I am going to be

History:

In this essay, I am going to be
telling you everything you need to know about Buddhism. Buddhism is practiced
by millions of people all over the world today. Buddhism is mostly practiced in
Asian countries, such as Japan, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, and others. Buddhism
was founded about 3,000 years ago in a place called Lumbini, in Northern India
(modern day Nepal) by a man called Buddha Shakyamuni. His parents named him
Siddhartha, and he was part of the royal family called “Shakya”. His mother
passed away just a few days after his birth. He was brought up by his
grandmother, Mahaprajapati Gautami.

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From when he was very young, Buddha was very detached to everything that
was going on in the world and was very passionate about nature. His father
tried to change that by getting him married to a beautiful princess called “Yasodhara”, and they later got a son and named
him Rahul. But despite all that, nothing made Buddha happy. The cause of his
unhappiness was due to the problems of human problems, problems like old age,
death, and sickness. At the age of twenty-nine, Buddha left his son and wife
behind and went to live in the forest, in search of a solution to human
sufferings. This was known as the Great Renunciation. After six years of living
in the forest, he found enlightenment under the tree of Bodhi tree in Bodh
Gaya, India.

 

Buddha gave his first sermon at a local park, he gained a big
number of followers and people that were interested in his teachings. He spent
the next forty-five years travelling across India, trying to spread his
teaching and trying to attract more people. His journey finally came to an end
when he was eighty years old, he died under a Sal tree in Kusingar.

 

The Teachings of Buddha:

The teachings of Buddha were very simplistic. They were
represented in the four noble truths:

(i) Sufferings—that the world is full of sufferings.

(ii) Its Causes—that there are causes of sufferings.

(iii) Cessation of Sufferings—that these sufferings
can be stopped.

(iv) The Way—that there is a path leading to the
cessation of sufferings.

 

Aryan Eight-Fold Path:

The path that was used by Buddha to reach Nirvana
(the highest level of enlightenment that can be attained by human beings, the
place of perfect peace and happiness) is known as the Aryan Eight-fold path. It
is:

1. Right Speech

2. Right Action

3. Right Means of livelihood

4. Right Exertion

5. Right Mindfulness

6. Right Meditation

7. Right Resolution

8. Right View

 

Buddha helped people understand the process by
summarizing the human body it into three parts; sila, chitta, and pranja. The
first three principles of the Aryan-Eight Fold Path represented sila (physical
body development), the second three principles represented chitta (mental body
development), and the last two principles represented pranja (the development
of the intellect). Nirvana can only be achieved by following the eight
principles.

Doctrine of Karma:

Karma
means “action” or “doing”. In Buddhism, karma means that your current actions
lead to future consequences. What this means is for example, if you think
positively, then positive things will happen to you. If you do bad things, then
bad things will happen to you. Rebirth is a huge belief in Buddhism. The cycle
of rebirth is known as “samsara”. It is a beginning-less
and ever-ongoing process.

 

Doctrine of Anatta or “no
soul”:

The doctrine of Anatta is one of the of the most important,
yet one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted doctrines in Buddhism. It
is one of the key differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. When people think
of rebirth, many people think that you die and you are born into a new body,
but this is the Hinduism philosophy of rebirth. In it is known as the theory of
no soul or non-self. In Buddhism, Anatta means that there is no permanent soul.

It is one of the three characteristics of of the three characteristics of all
existence, along with dukkha (uncomfortable, difficult, unpleasant) and anicca (impermanence).

 

Emphasis on practical
moralities:

What made Buddhism more appealing to a lot of people was its
pragmatic and more practical approach. Buddhism had no priest or someone in
higher power, like most other religions. Buddha freed religion from power,
rules, and rituals. He made religion more practical by emphasizing on the
moralities of life that were essential to everyone’s day-to-day life. Some of
the major things that Buddha stressed were the sobriety from murder, respecting
animals, humans helping each other, and relieving human beings from their
sufferings.

 

Buddha also abolished the caste system, which categorized
people into four categories; Brahmins,
Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras, based on their karma (work) and dharma
(duty). This made people in India a lot happier, because they lived more
freely.

 

Monastic
System:

Buddhist
monk’s lives are very simplistic and free of all the problems in the world.

People have to be at least 21 years old before agreeing to become a Monks.

There are 227 rules of conduct that male monks have to follow, the path to
those rules can be achieved across four steps. In the first of the four steps,
a monk agrees to: not to take the life of anything living, refrain from false
speech, not to consume alcohol, not to engage in any sexual activity, and not
to steal. The second step is for the monk to live in a monastery, and start
wearing the monk’s robe. In the third step, the person is considered a novice,
and spends time preparing for the fourth and final step. In the fourth step,
the monk agrees to follow the 227 rules strictly and is officially declared as
a monk.

After
they are officially declared a monk, they spend their time studying the
doctrine, meditating, and following the 227 rules.

 

Different
monk rituals differ from country to country. In East Asia, monks live in more
isolated areas than other other monasteries and monks. Monks refrain from
begging, because of the climate and the rituals of the countries they live in.

Instead, Monks receive donations from local people, go buy the food from local
stores, and prepare the food at the monasteries. The food is prepared by a
certain individual who is assigned the the abbot. Most monks are vegetarian.

Monks in Japan are special, because they can get married after they reach a
certain level. Theravada school is dominant in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, the
Buddhist association has close contact with the government.

 

Language
and literature:

Buddha
first used to preach in Maghadhi and Prakrit, he later also used Pali. The one
that stuck around and the one that was used for all the writings and scripts
was Pali version of the Tripitaka. They are Vinaya (Conduct) Pitaka, Sutta (Sermon) Pitaka and Abhidhamma
(Metaphysics) Pitaka.

 

Art and architecture:

Buddhism left a huge mark on Indian art and architecture.

Before Buddhism, Indian art was limited to yajnavedi or altars, pandals and
mandaps, and yajnsala. In other words, it was very basic. Art, sculpture and
architecture began to improve when Buddhism was founded. People started to use
stones in sculptures. The most important sculptures in Buddhism are the
standing Buddha statue and the Mathura and the seated Buddha of Sarnath. Another
very important sculpture in Buddhism is the Stambha; a sculpture or column that
is is used to connect heaven and earth. Another important piece of architecture
in Buddhism are the Stupa’s, a building that is used for meditating. Another
type of monastery is the Vihara, it was used in earlier years. Other Buddhist
art examples are Amrhati, Bharut, Sanchi, and Bodhgaya.

 

Buddhist art is based on the appreciation for nature, attachment
for animals, and love for mankind. The most famous Buddhist artists were
Mathura and Gandhara.