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Describe the doctrines of causality and kamma/karma in Buddhism - Essay Example

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Describe the doctrines of causality and kamma/karma in Buddhism

Siddharta Gautama or Shakyamuni of the Shakya clan of the Indian Himalayas was the founder of Buddhism (FSIIS 2007). Buddha’s personal name was Siddhattha (Nyanatiloka 1967). According to Gnanarama, however, his clan name was Gotama or Gautama in Sanskrit (2000). Gnanarama also said that he was the nephew of a king but his aunt, the wife of the king raised him up and, thus, enjoyed a royal life. The mountains of the Himalayas, from which Buddhism arose, serve as a boundary between India and China that possibly explain why Buddhism easily reached many parts of Asia, including China and Japan. The Indian origin of Buddhism explains why many of the key concepts or notions in Buddhism are in Sanskrit. The Buddha’s teachings were given before his death and are referred as the Dharma (FSIIS 2007). Buddhists believe that when a person dies, he or she is resurrected into a new form which can be human, animal or deity (FSIIS 2007). The endless cycle of rebirth is reflected in the wheel which is a key symbol of the Buddhist faith (FSIIS 2007). One of the most important Buddhist dharma are the “four noble truths” consisting of the following; life is full of suffering, suffering is caused by desires, sufferings can be ended and there is a path towards ending sufferings (FSIIS 2007). Nirvana is the central goal of Buddhist which signifies enlightenment and the beginning of happiness with the elimination of all greed (FSIIS 2007). The path towards Nirvana is eight-fold and consists of the following: right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right thoughts and right understanding (FSIIS 2007). II. Contemporary Schools of Thought in Buddhism There are several perspectives on how the contemporary schools of Buddhism are divided. In Danuse Murty’s 2007 exposition, there are two main Buddhist traditions: the Theravada and Mahayana traditions although a third tradition, the Vajrayana, is also well-known. The Vajrayana tradition is the “Tibetan offshoot of the Mahayana tradition” (Murty 2007, p. 8). Murty explained that the scriptures of the Theravada are written in the Pali language while the scriptures of the Mahayana tradition are written in Sanskrit. In Pali scriptures, the key notions are the Kamma, Dhamma and Nibbana while the key notions in Sanskrit are Karma, Dharma and Nirvana (Murty 2007). According to Stephen Laumakis in 2008, however, the two forms of contemporary Buddhism are “engaged Buddhism” and “mindfulness.” “Engaged Buddhism” blends meditative practices with compassionate action and its purpose “is for its practitioners to realize that wisdom and knowledge must eventually lead to enlightened action and service” (Laumakis 2008). In contrast, mindfulness Buddhism is oriented to “keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality” as well as “the process and activity of cultivating awareness and restoring the mind to its original undistracted state” (Laumakis 2008). The first form of Buddhism is associated with Vietnamese Thich Nhat Hanh while the second form is associated with Tibet’s Dalai Lama. Despite differences in forms or schools of thought in Buddhism, however, Buddhism key concern remains to be “ultimately about how one lives one’s life” (Laumakis 2008, p. 262). Further, the forms of Buddhism “are firmly committed to the view that beyond the realm of philosophical ...Show more

Summary

Causality and Kamma/Karma in Buddhism I. Introduction In this work, we give an overview on Buddhism, focusing on the schools of thought, its notion of causality and the doctrine of the Karma and Kamma. From these, we identify the essentials of Buddhism even as we are aware that there are several aspects of Buddhism that are not covered by this short work…
Author : vaughngrimes
Describe the doctrines of causality and kamma/karma in Buddhism essay example
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