Salvation in Buddhism
Buddhism arose out of atheistic strands of Hinduism current in India in the sixth century B.C. Gautama, called the Buddha ("Enlightened One"), is said to have discovered that both the life of luxury and the life of extreme asceticism were of no use in gaining spiritual freedom; thus he propounded the "Middle Way." His teaching, however, was to undergo many transformations. Buddhism became a great missionary religion and eventually all but died in its native India. The Mahayana school, which developed a grandiose cosmology and a pantheon of semi-deities, is to be found in China, Korea, and Japan. The Theravada school, which is more austere, flourishes in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Burma, and Southeast Asia. Zen is technically a Mahayana sect but has closer affinities with Theravada. All have their proponents in the West. Salvation in Buddhism is to reach Nirvana. Nirvana is a transcendental, blissful, spiritual state of nothingness. Ignorance (as opposed to sin) is the human problem that should be overcome. It is about knowledge of how to overcome suffering. To reach Nirvana, the Buddhist must follow the Noble Eightfold Path which includes: 1) Right Understanding: accepting the Four Noble Truths (The existence of suffering; the cause of suffering; the end of suffering; and the end of pain), 2) Right Resolve: renounce the pleasures of the body. Change your lifestyle so that you harm no living creatures and have kind thoughts for everyone, 3) Right Speech: do not gossip, lie or slander anyone, 4) Right Action: do not kill, steal or engage in an unlawful sexual act. 5) Right Occupation: avoid working at any job that could harm someone, 6) Right Effort: heroically work to eliminate evil from your life. Through your own effort develop good conduct and a clean mind, 7) Right Contemplation: make your self aware of your deeds, words and thoughts so that you can be free of desire and sorrow, 8.) Right Meditation: train your mind to focus on a single object...
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