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Buddhism: The Religion of Peace - Research Paper Example

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Buddhism: The Religion of Peace

The life and teachings of Buddhism’s founder, its major books and writings, and the beliefs and practices of its followers are a powerful testimonial to this religion of peace. Siddartha Gautama is the founder of Buddhism. He was born to king Suddhodana Gautama of the Shakya tribe in present-day Nepal in about 563 B.C. (Beck, “Buddha and Buddhism”). Many myths of auspicious portents surround the accounts of his birth at Lumbini. His mother, Mahamaya, died a week after the birth, and her sister Mahaprajapati was his foster-mother. The name Siddartha means, “he who has attained his goals” (Boeree, “The Life of Siddartha Gautama”). A renowned seer, Asita, foretold that the child would become either a great emperor, or a renowned spiritual teacher. In order to shield him from any attraction to a religious calling, Suddhodana ensured that Siddartha grew up in the lap of luxury, surrounded by beauty and health, and insulated from the harsh realities of life. Siddartha grew to be a skilled warrior, and won the hand of princess Yashodhara at the age of sixteen. At this juncture, on a tour of the capital, Kapilavastu, Siddartha was finally exposed to old age, infirmity and death. This engendered in him a passionate urge to discover the key to overcome human suffering. At the age of 29, after the birth of his son, Rahula, Siddartha renounced the life of a prince, and secretly left for Magadha in search of enlightenment (Boeree). Practicing yoga and meditaion, he studied for a while under two of the most renowned teachers of the time, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputra. Still seeking answers, Siddartha next adopted the path of extreme austerity and self-mortification for six years. When this did not yield the desired results, he went back to mediation (Beck). Overcoming all temptations of the mind and flesh, Siddartha meditated under a fig tree at Bodh Gaya, until he comprehended the meaning of suffering. He became the Buddha: the ‘Enlightened One,’ or ‘He who is awake’ (Boeree), at the age of thirty-five. The tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment is called the ‘Bodhi Tree.’ Buddha preached his first sermon at the deer park at Sarnath, near Benares to five ascetics, who had earlier followed him. This was the beginning of the Buddhist ‘Sangha,’ or community of monks, which was later expanded to include women, beginning with Siddartha’s wife and aunt. His son also became a monk. King Bimbisara of Magadha became a patron and Buddha’s teachings spread throughout northeast India. Buddha fell ill at Kushinagar, and died at the age of eighty. His last words were...Impermanent are all created things; Strive on with awareness. (Boeree). Buddha is also called the ‘Shakyamuni,’ or sage of the Shakya clan. According to its followers, the “three jewels" of Buddhism are 1.The Buddha. 2. His teachings- the dharma . 3. The community of monks - the sangha - (Tamney, Hartford). The teachings of the Buddha center round following ‘the Middle Path,’ between sensual indulgence and self-mortification. This term connotes a path of moderation, shunning extremes. Buddha expounded ‘The Four Noble Truths,’ consisting of 1. Dhukka: Life is suffering 2. Samudaya: Suffering is due to attachment 3. Nirodha: Attachment can be overcome 4. Magga: There is a path for accomplishing this. This path to enlightenment is ...Show more

Summary

India was the cradle of Buddhism, from where it spread to other parts of Asia. It is now the predominant religion in Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Taiwan, Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Korea, and Vietnam, and retains a significant position in India…
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Buddhism: The Religion of Peace essay example
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