Modern Manifestation of Buddhism
Buddhist practices have flourished throughout Asia for thousands of years. These practices didn’t reach the Western culture until the late 19th century. However, over the past decade Buddhist teachings seemed to have an attraction within our rapidly changing culture. Unlike many religions, which focus only within their institutions, the Buddhist focus point is to achieve inner peace within one’s self, in which can have a profound rippling effect. The manifestation of Buddhism throughout the western culture has slowly been increasing and has become more accepted within our political society.
In order to fully understand this manifestation, one must first understand Buddhism and where it came from. Buddhism began about 2,500 years ago in India when Siddhartha Gautama, a wealthy prince, became dissatisfied with his lavish lifestyle ( in class). Siddhartha left behind his wife and children to set out on a path to find the true virtues of life. In leaving his kingdom he cut off his hair and renounced the selfish lifestyle that he once led. Upon his journey, Gautama saw sickness, old age, and death. He couldn’t understand how there could be happiness in world that was filled with suffering. Within his search, he survived off a very limited diet, only eating roots and berries (in class). He grew even more dissatisfied when he realized that, “Neither my life of luxury in the palace nor my life as an ascetic in the forest is the way to freedom.” As his impatience started to grow, he told himself that he would sit under a tree and would not walk away until he was free from suffering. Siddhartha fell into a deep meditation, in which he met copious amounts of evil that tried to lure him away from reaching his goal. As the struggle subsided, he was free from suffering and gained supreme wisdom. It was this moment that he was known as Buddha.
Upon his enlightenment, the Buddha and his followers spent the next forty-five years spreading Dharma, his teachings. Social class played no role in the path that the Buddha sought out to pave. His acceptance among all economic classes represents the amount of compassion that he had for every sentient being. He understood all of the hardships that everyone faced because he dealt with their true emotions. The Buddha stressed to not believe in his teachings just on blind faith. He encouraged his followers to meditate as well, for that is the only way for one to develop their true virtue.
Buddhism has been labeled as a religion, which is quite untrue. To an outsider it may seem that the Buddha is seen as a religious icon. However, for those who partake in meditative practices, the Buddha is viewed as a mental reinforcement and support. Buddhists don’t believe in supernatural spirits unlike every other religion etc. (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). The Buddha stressed that everyone needs support to make sure that they stay on the right path. Before the Buddha died, he encouraged his followers to continue to support the novice beginners, because life is full of illusions; if not guided in the right direction they could lose the wisdom that they have gained. These disciplinary actions are similar to many of the teachings of any teacher, parent, or coach.
Within the basic teachings of Buddhism, it is understood that the universe is consistently changing, which history proves to be true. New ideas are born, and then eventually die off. For example, fashion, because it’s constantly changing. Karma is one of the universal truths that explains life as a result of cause and effect. Basically, if you do good things, then good things will happen to you. If you do evil things then bad things will happen. Ones’ thoughts and actions will determine how the future plays out. Within Buddhism it is explained that ignorance, attachment, and aversion are the reasons for suffering (Rinpoche P.117). Ignorance is the inability to see things for how they truly are....
Cited: 1) Clark, Taylor. “Its Not the Job Market.” Slate.com. Jan 31, 2011
2) Yudhijit. "Neuroscientists welcome Dalai Lama with mostly open arms." Science 310.5751 (2005): 1104. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
4)Mingyur Rinpoche, Yongey. “The Joy of Living.” Three Rivers Press, 2007
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