Professor Alexandra Perry
August 8, 2013
The basic worldview of Buddhism is about the reality is an indescribable unity when humans find themselves in a realm of suffering governed by karma. Buddhism can be thought of as a religion with psychological emphasis. It teaches the transformation of consciousness from attachment to ego, suffering, and objects of craving to the unattached bliss of Nirvana. Its fundamental teaching is that the Buddha who, through his enlightenment, showed the way out of the wheel of rebirth or conditioned reality created by ignorance and attachment; its fundamental sociological expression is the samgha, or order of monks in the succession of the Buddha’s disciples. The Buddha, among the first of the great religious founders, attained a state of perfect enlightenment after a spiritual quest. He taught the liberation comes by following a “middle way” between all attachments. Also, he taught the Four Noble Truths that there are suffering, attachment, and freedom from suffering in Nirvana through the Eightfold Path, culminating in Right Meditation. He talked about the ego is the supreme delusive object of attachment, for we are really not egos but impermanent collections of parts called skandhas. Theravada Buddhism, the “way of the elders”, predominant in the Buddhist parts of South and Southeast Asia, adheres closely to these teachings and views itself as standing in the tradition of the historical Buddha. For monks, who claim a lineage that extends back to the Buddha’s original samgha, it emphasizes meditations leading to spiritual agility and nirvanic consciousness. For the laity, it emphasizes act and attitudes that will lead to merit and good rebirths. The Mahayana Buddhism of North and East Asia stresses the presence of the “Buddha-nature”, the essence of the universe as the Buddha saw it in his enlightenment, in all beings. Thus, the universe is spoken of as Void and as one with...
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