Buddhism is a sacred tradition that centers on personal religious growth and the realization of an in-depth understanding into the exact nature of humanity (Gerner 5). Around the world, the religion has attracted 76 million followers (Religions 1). As the followers, we always aspire to attain a state of Nirvana.
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The teachings require us to live in accordance with the traditions of Buddha Siddhartha. Siddhartha is a famous religious leader who championed for enlightenment during the 6th century BC (The life of Buddha). The religion does not mandate its followers to have faith in an individual deity. As such, Buddhists suppose that nothing endures forever and that transformation is always likely.
To achieve enlightenment, all followers are required to uphold lives that enhance the growth of morals, meditation, and understanding. Being a follower, I am required to acknowledge that life is a never-ending course prone to impermanence, pain, and vagueness. According to the religion, life is a never-ending course because people are brought back to life repeatedly through reincarnation.
Buddhism is attributed to Buddha Siddhartha. Siddhartha was born as a noble prince at around the 6th century BC (Kozak 16). The prince home place was situated at Lumbini, Nepal. His noble family was referred to as Shakya. The prince’s parents named him Siddhartha. Based on his name, a number of magnificent forecasts were postulated about his future.
Throughout his childhood, the prince resided in his father’s palace. However, when he attained the age of 29 he moved out of the palace to the community. According to the Buddhist tradition, the young prince experienced tremendous suffering outside the palace (Kozak 20).
He saw individuals suffering from extreme poverty and acute diseases. The experiences transformed his life. From then on, he dedicated his life to seek meditation and the true understanding of enlightenment. After spending more than 7 years outside the palace, the prince achieved the state of enlightenment beneath a sacred tree in Bodh Gaya, India (Kozak 24).
Later, Siddhartha taught his followers for approximately forty years (Kozak 27). During the time, the influence of his teachings attracted multitudes of supporters in the region. His teachings about how to tackle human sufferings were received with enthusiasms in Northern India. The teachings were attractive because they offered a substitute to the firm communal and custom principles widespread in Northern India in the period.
Ever since then, the religion has spread around the world due to its ability to accept all people from all lifestyles. In general, Siddhartha offered his followers with more than 84, 000 teachings (Kozak 39). He did this with the aim of establishing Buddhism. He hoped that through this he would liberate humans from anguish. He acknowledged that short-termed emancipation from pain and problems is not adequate. Inspired by care for humanity and empathy, his plan was to assist people discover lifelong peace.
Our Buddhism belief is based on the four noble truths taught by Siddhartha. The four elements are the truth with respect to anguish, the truth about the basis of anguish, the truth about the end of anguish, and the truth about the means of ending anguish. Based on the illustration, it can be deduced that suffering is real, has a cause, has an end, and a means to end it. The concept about pain is not aimed at putting across a pessimistic worldview.
In contrast, the concept aims at putting across a realistic viewpoint that acknowledges humanity as it is and challenges to fix it challenges. As such, the notion of happiness is not denied, but recognized as a transitory (Schumann 80). Thus, the quest for happiness can carry on with what is ultimately an unappeasable longing. The concept disproves an understanding of pleasure. The teachings assert that ultimately old age, illness, and death are definite and inescapable.
Another important element in the Buddhism faith is the wheel of life referred to as Bhavachakra, Bhavachakra is a multifaceted image depicting the Buddhists’ vision of the universe (The life of Buddha). As Buddhists, we believe that survival is made up of life, death, reincarnation, and pain. Throughout our existence, we aspire to break out of these series of events. Bhavachakra is subdivided into six areas. In each of these areas, a soul can be reincarnated.
According to my Buddhism teachings, I believe that desires and lack of knowledge are the main causes of human suffering. Based on my understanding, desires refer to the craving to have material wealth, immortality, and other worldly needs. Notably, these desires cannot be satisfied.
Therefore, I believe that the longing for such pleasures leads to human suffering. I believe that ignorance allows an individual to perceive the world in its original form. In the absence of enlightenment, an individual’s brain is left untrained and incapable to seize the true character of the surroundings. In this regard, I believe that vices such as gluttony, jealousy, extreme dislike, and annoyance are caused by ignorance.
Since its inception, Buddhism has extended eastwards and has perpetually changed a number of countries. The countries include China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan (The life of Buddha). Unlike other religions, Buddhism explored the issues affecting humanity in a manner that other religions did not. Similarly, the religion has spread the traditions of empathy into areas where the continued existence relied on social class and areas where abject poverty was widespread.
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Buddhism has not only changed the society but also the political constellations. In the countries where the religion became predominant, the religion has had an impact on their political constellations. Although Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and other major religions competed for political influence in most East Asian countries, it should be noted that most of the countries became Buddhist kingdoms (The life of Buddha).
As such, the whole South East Asia cultures portray the influence of the religion’s values and aesthetics. Simple cultures were established in the region leading to new social organizations and principles. The religion’s ethics infused into the communities that accepted the religion.
Over the last century, Buddhism has attracted many followers, especially in the western countries. Through this, the religion has had an impact on the entire world. Similar to other religious convictions, Buddhism has been utilized as a way out of common problems facing humanity.
People faced with racial, financial, and domestic issues usually turn to Buddhism for consolation and answers. Given that the westerners face a number of the issues due to their capitalistic nature of their economies, a number of them are now turning to Buddhism for consolation. In the future, Buddhism will attract more followers because it does not mandate its followers to have faith in an individual deity unlike other religions.
Gerner, Katy. Buddhism. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008. Print.
Kozak, Arnold. The everything Buddhism book a complete introduction to the history, traditions, and beliefs of Buddhism, past and present. 2nd ed. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, 2011. Print.
Religions: Buddhism. 24 Nov. 2009. Web. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/>.
Schumann, Hans Wolfgang. The historical Buddha: the times, life, and teachings of the founder of Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2004. Print.
The life of Buddha. Dir. Kritsaman Wattananarong. Perf. Sarut Wijittranon, Supattra Thiwanon,. BBC Worldwide, 20034. DVD.