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Buddhism - Buddhist Texts, Four Noble Truths, Noble Eight Fold Path

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Dharmic Religions : An Overview of Buddhism

Dharmic Religions Contd from Hinduism

Bhuddism

There were numerous persons conflicting and questioning the basics and superstitions of Hinduism, but it was Siddartha who fought against it and founded the basics of Buddhism.

Buddhism is another dharmic religion, which is also a philosophy and a system of psychology. Buddhism is also known as Buddha Dharma, which means the "teachings of the Awakened One" in Sanskrit. Buddhism was founded around the fifth century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama, hereafter referred to as "the Buddha".

Buddha was born in the ancient Indian Shakya nation, present day Lumbini (Nepal), and that he died around age 80 in Kushinagar in India. He lived around the fifth century BC, according to scholarship. Classification of present-day Buddhism among scholars divides present-day followers into the following three traditions : the Therwada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

The Four Noble Truths

According to the scriptures, the Buddha taught that in life there exists sorrow which is caused by desire and it can be cured by following the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddha molded Buddhism’ basic principles modifying Sanatana Dharma and his own ideas. Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

  1. The cause of suffering: The desire which leads to renewed existence-rebirth (the cycle of samsara)

  2. The cessation of suffering: The cessation of desire.

  3. The way leading to the cessation of suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path is the way to the cessation of suffering, the fourth part of the Four Noble Truths.

  1. Right Speech - One speaks in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way.

  2. Right Actions - Wholesome action, avoiding action that would do harm.

  3. Right Livelihood - One's way of livelihood does not harm in any way oneself or others; directly or indirectly.

  4. Right Effort/Exercise - One makes an effort to improve.

  5. Right Mindfulness/Awareness - Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness.

  6. Right Concentration - Being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion.

  7. Right Thoughts - Change in the pattern of thinking.

  8. Right Understanding - Understanding reality as it is, not just as it appears to be.

Buddhist Texts

Buddhist scriptures and other texts exist in great variety. Different schools of Buddhism place varying levels of value on them. Some schools venerate certain texts as religious objects in themselves, while others take a more scholastic approach. The Buddhist canon of scripture is known in Sanskrit as the Tripitaka.

Intellectualism and Buddhist Worldview

According to the scriptures, in his lifetime, the Buddha had not answered several philosophical questions. On issues like whether the world is eternal or non-eternal, finite or infinite, unity or separation of the body and the self, complete inexistence of a person after nirvana and then death, nature of the Supreme Truth, etc, the Buddha had remained silent. The scriptures explain that such questions distract from practical activity for realizing enlightenment.

Buddhist missionaries, however, often faced philosophical questions from other religions whose answers they themselves did not know. For those, who have attachment to intellectualism, Buddhist scholars produced a pretty quantity of intellectual theories, philosophies and worldview concepts.

Dharmic Religions Contd : Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism


Contributing Writer   Pradeep kumar, Kerala Scripted and Directed Graduation documentary film The Beautiful Land, winner of college level Malayalam short-story writing competition, instituted by Madyamam Daily. His Malayalam short stories have been published in magazines and news paper supplements. ojokumar@gmail.com

 

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