Buddhism is an Eastern religion practiced in most Asian countries. The religion was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (the "Buddha") in the late 6th century B.C.E. Even though Buddhism is practiced in many ways, a commonality among these ways is a drawing from the life experiences of the Buddha and his teachings. The "spirit" or "essence" of his teachings also referred to as dhamma or dharma, serve as models for the religious life. Some of the teachings of enlightenment that have been an influence of the disciples of Buddha are in regard to having an understanding of suffering and finding the end to all suffering, and on having mutual respect by having right mindfulness and right meditation and the principle of ataman. The beliefs and practice of both Karma and Dharma allow an individual to avoid ignorance and allow for mutual respect, which in return grants the individual peace and happiness. Buddha set the stage for future Buddhist with his teachings on The Noble Eightfold Path and The Principles of Mutual Respect, which many in the world can relate to and use today. What is known about the Noble Eightfold Path? What is Mutual Respect? How can Buddhism be used and understood today?History of BuddhaThe many teachings of Buddha were not discovered until the 1st or 2nd century C.E. until the writings of Buaciha Charija (life of the Buddha) by Ashvaghosa gave an account of Buddhas life. The Buddha who was born in ca. 563 B.C.E. in Lumbini, a place in North India near the Himalayan foothills, began his teachings around Benares (at Sarnath). His era in general was one of spiritual, intellectual, and social ferment. This was the age when the Hindu ideal of renunciation of family and social life by holy persons seeking Truth first became widespread. (Vail, 1982).
SufferingBuddha had attained enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree (The Buddha & The Bodhi Tree, n.d). He sought to understand suffering, its cause, its end, and the path that led to its end. By the third night he found his answer which is known as the four noble truths. The first noble truth is the life means suffering (Kniermin, 2009). Human nature and the world is not perfect, therefore, inevitably those in the physical life will suffer from sickness, injury, pain, tiredness, old age, and eventually death. Humans also suffer psychologically such as sadness, fear, disappointment, frustration, and depression. The second truth is that the origin of suffering is attachment. Desire causes suffering as does the pursuit of wealth and prestige. Those that strive for fame and popularity will also suffer. The third truth is ceasing suffering through nirodha. Nirodha is to not make sensual craving and conceptual attachment. To cease suffering means to remove all cause of suffering through ones actions. To attain perfection in ridding all passions and attachments one would gain Nirvana. To have Nirvana means one no longer worries or has trouble. The fourth truth is that is a gradual path of self-improvement will end all suffering and this can be attained through the following of the Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold Path describes the end of suffering through the practice of mental development which was described by Siddhartha Gautama (Kniermin, 2009b). The goal is to free the individual from attachments and delusions, leading one to understand the truth of all things. The beginning and the end of the path is to have the right view. The right view is to see things as they truly are and understand karma. The first step is to know that all beings suffer and to realize that the view of the world is through thoughts and the right view yields right thoughts and actions. Actions are usually expressed through ones attention. Having the right intentions is having a commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. The three types of right intentions are: 1. to resist desire, 2. strive to avoid feelings of anger, and 3. not think or act in a violent, cruel, or...
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Retrieved July 28, 2009 from UOP REL133 Course Material.
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