World Religions - Buddhism


Buddhism World Religions

What do Buddhists believe?

Buddhism is considered both a philosophy and a religion, with it's foundations coming from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha. The Buddha lived between the 6th and 4th centuries in India and is considered the fully enlightened being who shares insights to others in hopes to ending suffering, achieving nirvana and escape the cycle of suffering and rebirth.

The total amount of all Buddhist followers in the world is approximately 400 to 500 million people, with the majority in Asian countries. There are two major branches of Buddhism: Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada is the oldest branch of Buddhism and has a large group of followers in Sri Lanka and Southeastern Asia. Mahayana followers are primarily in East Asia.

Buddhism, as started by the Buddha, provides teachings to those looking to reach the state of Perfect Enlightenment. The Buddha himself reached Perfect Enlightenment at the age of 35 while sitting under a Bodhi tree. The Buddha has seven teachings: 

1. The way of Inquiry: Buddha strongly warns agains blind faith and reminds all followers to fully examine and research anything before they invest all of their faith into it. 

2. The Four Noble Truths: 

  • All forms of being, human and otherwise, are afflicted with suffering. 
  • The cause of suffering is Craving, which is an illusion of the soul. 
  • The suffering has a lasting end in the Experience of Enlightenment, which means letting go of aversion and desire.
  • Peaceful and blissful Enlightenment is achieved through gradual training on the Eightfold Path.

3. The Eightfold Path: the end of all suffering is called the Middle Way because it avoids the two extremes of indulgence and self-mortification. You must remain in the middle of these to reach enlightenment.

4. Kamma-Karmic actions affect everything that you do

5. Rebirth: depending on Karma you will be reborn as something you want or don't want

6. No Creator God: no higher power should interfere in someone else's Karma (i.e, no priest or God)

7. The Illusion of Soul: There is no soul, we are all temporary beings here.

Buddhists believe that there is no "God". Personal mortality is followed by reincarnations after better or worse "rebirths" depending upon merit attained in previous lives.

Buddhism's goal is the attainment of Nirvana, a state where cravings, desires and even "egos" cease and where, because of the associated merit, one can hope to be freed from the endless chain of rebirths into suffering lives.

Buddhist beliefs may help you in this life to have a sense of calmness, humility and peace, but will they help you in the life to come? How does Buddhism deal with the cleansing of past and current sin?


Related Articles:

 > Story of the Buddhist Monk Named Jampel, by Michael Graham

> Jainism, The Religion

> Encountering the Eternal Guru - The Story of a Young Sadhu, by Sadhu Nityananda.

> Power Web-Sample of Michael Graham's book about "Experiencing Ultimate Truth"

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: Have your say regarding this article or anything to do with Buddhism right here on Faith of Choice's Buddhism Forum


0 #3 2012-08-09 02:47
The hell vision of the buddhist monk was exposed as a fraud years ago...
0 #2 2011-06-29 12:53
Most of it was good. I have a class mate in my linguistics at university who is a buddhist monk. He is studying Sanskrit so he can read classic buddhist texts. I decided to ask him about buddhism and I also showed him this website. He said it needs a few changes to give an accurate portray of buddhism.

Firstly, the cause of suffering is "craving", "craving is not an illusion of the soul so that bit needs to be deleted.

Secondly it would be good to include the Eightfold path.
1.Right View
2.Right thought
3.Right Speech
4.Right action
5.Right Effort
6.Right Livelyhood
7.Right Concentration (motivation)
8.Right Wisdom

Thirdly, Karma or karmic or the same word use one or the other, not karma-karmic.

I do agree that there is a bit of a christian view on the rest of the article but that may be your goal. It annoyed my classmate. this may be the way you want to promote christianity.
0 #1 2010-05-05 00:47
Well, that was certainly an accurate portrayal of Buddhism. I like the way you slipped the idea of an afterlife into its views. This seems to blatantly undermine the very conception of Buddhism. The notion of sin and afterlife is completely different for Buddhism, and cannot even be brought into the argument if we want to take its metaphysical underpinnings seriously and in their own terms.

I understand that the website is currently being created. I trust that a more accurate description of Buddhism is made available sometime soon, so that it does not appear as though Christian presuppositions automatically undermine its metaphysical views. Christianity and Buddhism are radically different in this regard. Thus, there shouldn't be any mention of how Buddhism will help you out in the next life, which is basically an attempt at slipping Christian views into Buddhism.

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We are not alone. There is something out there bigger than ourselves. Where will you go after you die? What do you believe and why do you believe it? What is the point of having a mind if you never change it? Here's a surprisingly unsurprising statistic: Everyone dies sooner or later; there is no escaping it and you will be dead for longer than you are alive. This suggests that eternity might be worth more than a passing thought.

Are you ready for the inevitable? There is no need to be fearful of that inevitable moment, so long as you are prepared and as long as you are not taking comfort in something that sounds nice but is really just positive but wishful thinking. Make your life journey count, consider your eternal destination. Just believing in a lie wont make it truth, no matter how much you want it or how appealing that lie is. It is better to know the truth than to live in the delusion of a lie. No one likes being deceived, but in a world of political correctness, acceptance and anything goes, it is easy to side-step the truth of reality. What REALLY is true?

Can we just make up our own truth and say "well that is true for you, but my truth is something else"? Surely we can't all be right, especially when there are so many contradictory beliefs and top world religions out there.

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