A Study of Buddhism Introduction Buddhism is a religion that originated in North East India, around the time of 520 BC. As the legend goes, Siddhartha Guatama was a holy man from Lumbini, who later on in his life discovered the four noble truths. At the beginning, the Buddha’s teachings were passed down with words, but were later developed into two formations of scripture which are: Tripitaka, meaning the passing down of knowledge down by the council of monks) and The Sutras, meaning the passing down by the Mahayana School).
Siddharta Guatama In about 580 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama was born into a wealthy family in Nepal, in he village of Lumbini. Growing up, the boy was only presented with the positives of life, never knowing any type of negatives such as death, illness, sadness, poverty, etc. However, after he had a child with his wife, he saw life outside of the palace; specifically a sick man, an old man and a dead corpse. It was then Siddhartha realised that these horrific things were inevitable and all three of those things would have to happen to him some day too.
During his outing, the prince saw a monk, which he took as the indication that he should abandon his sheltered, protected luxurious life for one of living as a homeless Holy Man. As a Holy Man, he searched for a way out of death and life’s suffering, but was unable to find it. Siddhartha sought out many religious men in his travels who taught him things such as how to meditate, though he later split off from them with 5 other men. Through physical discipline, the six companions believed that was the key to finding enlightenment.
However, Siddhartha realised that hurting himself was doing the exact opposite; bringing him pain, which is what he was running from. It was then he discovered that the path of liberation was through discipline of the mind’. When Siddhartha sat nderneath the Bodhi Tree, he began to deeply meditate, where he got into a destructive battle of the mind with a demon, though successfully reached the seat of enlightenment. By morning, Siddhartha had become a Buddha. For the rest of his life, The Buddha dedicated himself to teaching others the path to enlightenment with his family and friends by his side, until he died at age 80.
Buddhist Symbols In Buddhism, there are 32 different symbols which show how significant a person Buddha was. The specific Buddha statue has symbolic meaning behind it, such as: The bump on the top of his head. This small symbol signifies that Buddha possessed many skills and talents throughout his life. The mark on his forehead. Really, it is a third eye, which means that he had the ability to see things that others couldn’t see. Curled hair. These curls are actually snails. The snails covered his head in kindness, as he had a bald head and didn’t want the sun to harm it while he meditated.
What it means is that he was a holy man. Long ears from where his royal-like earrings have stretched them. This is to show that the earrings are gone; that he has given up his past life as a member of a royal family. A group of Buddhist symbols that are seen on many cultural Buddhist paintings, artwork, etc. are the Eight Auspicious Symbols. They all contribute into the teachings of Buddha, and include: Parasol (chattra) – Symbolises royalty and spiritual power. Golden Fishes (suvarnamatsya) – L fortune, fertility and salvation. ? Treasure Vase (kalasha) – Spiritual and material abundance. Lotus (Padma) – Mental and spiritual purity. Conch Shell (sankha) – The fame that was brought with the teachings of Buddha. Endless Knot (shrivasta) – Constant wisdom of the Buddha. Victory Banner (dhvaJa) Success of the Buddha’s teachings and wisdom over ignorance. Wheel (dharmachakra) – What is taught by Buddha. Scripture and Worship The sacred texts of Buddhism are divided into two scriptures: the Tripitaka and the Sutras.
The Tripitaka is extremely long, roughly adding up to nearly forty volumes, written in an Indian language called Pali. The Tripitaka is passed down by Council of Monks of the Theravada School, while the Sultras is from the Mahayana School. Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists mainly acknowledge the Tripitaka as a sacred text. The Tripitaka is divided into three different sections: 1 . Vinaya Pitaka Discipline Basket) – A rule book, essentially, for monks and nuns (227 rules in total). 2. Sutta Pitaka (Teaching Basket) – Legitimate experiences of Buddha himself. . Abhidhamma Pitaka (Higher Doctrine Basket) – The explanation of the teachings of Buddhism. When Buddhists worship, the performance is often referred to as ‘puja’. To show their love for Buddha, believers chant and offer things such as flowers, candles, incense and clean water at a shrine, thanking Buddha for his teachings. When worshiping with the only presence of their own company, they generally meditate or read from the holy books of Buddhism. Meditating trains the mind to clear all thoughts and for important things to become clear.
On religious days, which are considered as the days when there are full moons, they go to temples where they then worship Buddha. Types of Buddhism Customs and culture in different countries affect the Buddhism religion as a whole, making different types of Buddhism in its turn. The only thing that doesn’t change, however, is the truth behind it (or the Dhamma). Found in Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and in parts of Indonesia, Vietname and Malaysia, is Theravada Buddhism, the school of Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism, the school of Buddhism, is located in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Vajrayana Buddhism, the school of Buddhism, is located in Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Mongolia, while Iodo Shin Buddhism is mainly found in India and Japan. Some factors that contribute into these different types of Buddhism being alike is the place of ritual, being a temple or a meditation hall, and the spiritual leader, being a monk. However, they differ in that they believe in different purposes of life, holidays, the afterlife and theism (Theravada is atheistic, Mahayana is polytheistic).