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Buddhism - Research Paper Example

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Buddhism Buddhism is a common religion that originated in northern India but is practiced throughout the world, making it the fourth largest religion. Though the exact date of its founding is unknown, many scholars believe that Buddhism was formed during the fifth century…
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Buddhism Buddhism is a common religion that originated in northern India but is practiced throughout the world, making it the fourth largest religion. Though the exact date of its founding is unknown, many scholars believe that Buddhism was formed during the fifth century.Narrowing down the exact date is made difficult due to the fact that most people do not know when Buddhism officially began. Its beginning might have been when Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism who would later become known as Buddha, first began his journey to Enlightenment, or after he became enlightened and journeyed through India to share his teachings. Regardless of when Buddhism found its origin, it has become a way of life and a philosophy that has helped many people to grow in their spirituality. Considered less of a religion and more of a philosophy or spiritual path, Buddhism sets out to provide people with guidelines on how to live a happy, peaceful, and moralistic life. Even followers of other religious traditions can utilize the teachings of Buddhism to strengthen their primary beliefs and improve their lives. The main tenets of this tranquil tradition that are incorporated into daily life are found in two doctrines: the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism and state that life is suffering; suffering is caused by desire; suffering can be brought to an end; and the Eightfold Path is the path to follow to bring about the end of suffering. The Eightfold Path, as previously stated, is followed with the intention of bringing an end to suffering, but these eight concepts can be followed in any life or religious practice to promote happiness. Right View requires the follower to learn to see reality as it is, without illusions or wishes of how they want their life to look. Right Intention means to act morally and ethically for the good of everyone. Right Speech involves not being deceitful, not speaking maliciously or with the intention of hurting someone, but to focus on speaking only words of kindness and compassion. Right Action and Right Livelihood promote abstaining from harming sentient beings, which also means to avoid becoming involved in activities that may cause harm to others, such as working in meat production or manufacturing weapons. Right Effort means to relinquish unwholesome qualities and habits, and to develop wholesome qualities. Right Mindfulness is to be in contemplation of the present moment, which can be aided by Right Concentration, or the practice of meditation. Since Buddhism promotes the importance of all life, from a human to a tree to an ant, a concept like euthanasia is one that is looked down upon. Even though euthanasia is a voluntary procedure done for the sake of a suffering individual, it requires taking a life. Willingly or not, Buddhism finds value in each life and considers it bad karma for the individual taking the life and the individual willingly live giving up their life (Knott, 2000). On the other hand, something like an organ transplant would be considered in an opposite light. A person who has already died would be receiving good karma by allowing their organs to save the life of another. However, an organ transplant as a result of euthanasia would be a complex scenario, one that would be open to many interpretations from many seasoned Buddhist practitioners. Outside of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, the beliefs of Buddhism are minimal, though may increase depending on which branch of Buddhism is being observed. The only other two tenets that are adhered by all Buddhism branches concern life and death. Reincarnation is a primary belief in Buddhism, so life does not necessarily have a beginning or and end, but “is a continuum with do discernible starting point. Birth and death are like a revolving door through which an individual passes again and again (Keown, 2009).” A new life beings when another life dies; when another life dies, in lieu of an afterlife, it becomes reborn as another life. This cycle ... Read More
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