Though Buddhism is thought of as a religion by many, it is not one in the traditional, Western sense. There is no one God or deities, there are no rigid dogmas, it teaches how to empower oneself, and most importantly it comprehensively answers the questions of life and death. Instead it is more of a philosophy that provides a way of living and existing in harmony with each other, and ultimately finding a state of lasting, unconditional happiness known as enlightenment.
Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Guatama, a man born into royalty in Nepal around 600 B.C. He lived a very lavish life and was sheltered from the outside world during his early adult years, but over time he grew bored and decided to leave the comforts of home and become a monk. What he most struggled with was the suffering of humanity and the endless repetition of this suffering when man is reborn. His quest then became finding a way to end this repeated suffering. One day after meditating beneath a fig tree, he had an epiphany and finally understood how to be free from suffering and achieve salvation. He was then known as Buddha, which means “Enlightened One”, and spent the rest of his life teaching others what he had come to understand.
What Buddha discovered was that enlightenment could be found in “the middle”- meaning not living with riches or in poverty but somewhere in between. From this thought, he founded the Four Noble Truths:
1. To live is to suffer
2. Suffering is caused by desire and attachment
3. We can eliminate suffering by eliminating all attachments
4. This can be achieved by following the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Path
This eight-part system is a sort of outline that pulls all of Buddha’s teachings together and aims at perfecting the three essentials of Buddhist discipline: ethical conduct, mental discipline and wisdom.
- 1. Right understanding: understand that the Noble Four Truths are noble and true.
- 2. Right Thought: find enlightenment through unselfish desire.
- 3. Right Speech: use speech compassionately.
- 4. Right Conduct: use ethical conduct to manifest compassion.
- 5. Right Livelihood: make a living through ethical means.
- 6. Right Effort: cultivate wholesome qualities and release unwholesome qualities.
- 7. Right Mindfulness: achieve awareness of whole body and mind.
- 8. Right Concentration: meditate or use some other concentrated practice.
Buddhism teaches us that we must truly understand the causes of our unhappiness, so we can resolve it. There is no quick fix to finding true happiness and inner peace; we need to radically change how we understand ourselves and how we relate to the world. And practicing the Path is the way to achieve that.
- 1. Buddhism can be considered?
A. Buddha’s path to achieve peace through reading books and meditating
B. A philosophy that provides a way of living and existing in harmony with each other to find enlightenment
C. The teaching of how to exist in this world as we know it
D. A religion of western origin
E. A way of life to find eternal bliss
2. What does the word Buddha mean?
A. The Knower of All
B. The one who shows us the way
C. The savior of suffering
D. Enlightened One
E. Being of Light
3. What are the Four Noble Truths?
A. To live is to suffer
B. Suffering is caused by desire and attachment
C. We can eliminate suffering by eliminating all attachments
D. This can be achieved by following the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Path
E. All the above
- 4. Which one of these truths is not part of the eight part system?
- A. Right Thought: the unselfish desire to find enlightenment.
- B. Right Speech: use speech compassionately.
- C. Right Conduct: use ethical conduct to manifest compassion.
- D. Right Livelihood: to survive without suffering is the way.
- E. Right Effort: cultivating wholesome qualities and releasing unwholesome qualities.
5. Buddhism teaches us that:
A. We must truly understand the causes of our unhappiness, so we can resolve it.
B. To suffer is to know what it means to be alive
C. When you look for answers you find them
D. Perfection is a myth
E. Who we are determines our worth