Buddhism is a religion that dates back over 2500 years. Buddhism is the religion of awakening and enlightenment. The Buddha taught his followers to find strength and end suffering by looking within ones self.
HistoryBuddhisms history began with the birth of the Buddha (the enlightened one) around 563BC in Kapilavastu in the foothills of the Himalayans. According to legends the birth of the Buddha was the result of a dream his mother, Queen Mahamaya, had in which a white elephant entered her right side impregnating her through Immaculate Conception (Fisher, 2002). Mahamaya was to travel to her fathers kingdom to give birth; however, during the journey her labor started and she gave birth to ...view middle of the document...
As Siddhartha was lead through Kapilavatthu, he was taken upon a designated route that had been readied for his tour. Legends about the life of Siddhartha explain that he was to see the four sights that had been hidden from him in his adolescence: an old man, sickness, death, and the ascetic (Fisher, 2002). During his walk he happened to get a glance at two elderly men who had wandered into the area. Curiously he left the parade route to follow the two men; it was then that he saw the reality his father had tried so desperately to keep from him. He saw people who were severely ill, and then saw a funeral. He realized at this time that life is suffering; all people eventually get older, get sick and die. He then saw a peaceful looking monk, he pondered how the monk could be so at peace amongst the suffering (Boeree, 1999).
After seeing that suffering and death existed, Siddhartha decided to leave the palace and at the age of 29 he left his wife and child to discover how one would overcome suffering. He went with a squire from the palace and his horse. During the journey, he gave away his clothing and shaved his head; he then gave the horse to the squire and insisted that he return to the palace. Siddhartha continued his journey alone (Boeree, 1999).
Siddhartha studied with two monks and practiced the traditional Hindu faith native to his homeland. He found their rituals and practices lacking. He then practiced for six years with a group of ascetics, starving himself until near death. His questions were still unanswered and he realized that his extreme practices were not leading him to enlightenment. The ascetics left him after he began eating and bathing, feeling that he had given up (Boeree, 1999).
He traveled to the town of Bodh Gaya, were he took rest under a fig tree. He decided he would sit there for as long as it took for the answers to come to him. After many days in deep meditation, he began to recall his previous lives; he then began to see the truth of the universe. During this time Mara, the evil one, was said to have tried to prevent Siddhartha from reaching the truth by temptation and appealing to his ego. Resisting this temptation Siddhartha was enlightened and became the Buddha, he who is awake (Gach, 2004).
The Buddha set out to awaken others through teaching. He came across the five ascetics who had left him; it was then that he gave his first sermon. He explained to them the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. They became his first disciples and began the Sagha community of monks (Boeree, 1999).
WorldviewTheologyThe Buddha taught that a person was responsible for finding their own peace and salvation; therefore, Buddhism is a non-theistic religion in that god is not worshipped as a practice. The Buddha does not renounce the existence of any god; However, God in Buddhist teaching is irrelevant to a persons salvation (Fisher, 2002).
EthicsThe Buddha was granted a monastery near Rahagriha in Magadha by King Bimbisara.