Buddhist Traditions

Essay by turner62College, Undergraduate August 2009

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Buddhism is an Eastern religion practiced in most Asian countries. The religion was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (the "Buddha") in the late 6th century B.C.E. Even though Buddhism is practiced in many ways, a commonality among these ways is a drawing from the life experiences of the Buddha and his teachings. The "spirit" or "essence" of his teachings also referred to as dhamma or dharma, serve as models for the religious life. Some of the teachings of enlightenment that have been an influence of the disciples of Buddha are in regard to having an understanding of suffering and finding the end to all suffering, and on having mutual respect by having right mindfulness and right meditation and the principle of ataman. The beliefs and practice of both Karma and Dharma allow an individual to avoid ignorance and allow for mutual respect, which in return grants the individual peace and happiness.

Buddha set the stage for future Buddhist with his teachings on The Noble Eightfold Path and The Principles of Mutual Respect, which many in the world can relate to and use today. What is known about the Noble Eightfold Path? What is Mutual Respect? How can Buddhism be used and understood today?History of BuddhaThe many teachings of Buddha were not discovered until the 1st or 2nd century C.E. until the writings of Buaciha Charija (life of the Buddha) by Ashvaghosa gave an account of Buddha’s life. The Buddha who was born in ca. 563 B.C.E. in Lumbini, a place in North India near the Himalayan foothills, began his teachings around Benares (at Sarnath). “His era in general was one of spiritual, intellectual, and social ferment. This was the age when the Hindu ideal of renunciation of family and social life by holy persons seeking Truth first became widespread.” (Vail, 1982).