Buddhist Religion

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Buddhist Religion 1

The Buddhist Religion

August 12, 2002

Mike Jones

Dr. Doug Pukkett

Religion in American Life PRE 323

Buddhist Religion 2

Historical Background

        The earliest evidence of Buddhism is found in the year 525 B.C. This was the year that Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha founded Buddhism. Buddha was born in Lumbini which is now known as Nepal (Columbia Encyclopedia). At the age of 29, Buddha began carving a path to one of the largest religions in the world. Buddha studied Brahmanism in his earlier years and later felt it wasn't the path for his needs.

The word Buddha means "one who has awakened." This is the path in which Buddha had formed Buddhism; a path that rejects both extremes of the mortification of flesh and hedonism (www.religioustolerance.org). The path of Buddha is known as a path toward the state of nirvana or state of bliss. This form of religion was accumulating an enormous public following until Buddha's death.

Two and a half centuries later, a council of Buddhist monks collected his teachings and the oral traditions (www.religioustolerance.org). The monks created a written form of the teachings called the Tripitaka that included commentaries and traditions of Buddhism known as Sutras.

Today there are two main schools of Buddhism known as Hinayana in the Southeast Asian area and the Mahayana in China and Korea. This division of Buddhism only made the belief stronger; today there are over 300 million followers and it is the fourth largest religion in the world.

Buddhist Religion 3

U.S.A. Beginning

There are two thoughts as to when Buddhism came to the United States. The first is after WWII in the 1950's when there was an influx of Japanese refugees coming to the United States. The Japanese brought with them a form of Evangelical...