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Theravada Buddhism And Escaping Rebirth Essay

1212 words - 5 pages

Many of the mainline religions have the ultimate goal of receiving enlightenment. Most of which, enlightenment comes in the form of eternal afterlife in a superior setting with the higher power. Buddhism however, reaches enlightenment or also known as Nirvana by escaping the cycle of rebirth. Buddhism has been around as a religion for quite some time now an in today’s society it may seem too be viewed a bit different but still the main principles it was founded on still stand. Buddhism gets more in detail and specific if it is being observed to that extent, into three branches also known as "vehicles". Theravada ("the small vehicle") even called Hinayana is one branch, Mahayana ("the large vehicle"), and Vayrayana ("the thunderbolt, or diamond, vehicle") is the last branch. All three of these branches are largely active in East Asia, but the primary focus will be on the Theravada branch and following the religion correctly to escape the "rebirth cycle".
Buddhism began in the country of India in the sixth century B.C.E. and eventually spread to a global religion. Buddhism came about under a single founder named Siddartha Gautama who was born in 563 B.C.E. All Buddhist honor Siddartha Gautama but some followers see different understandings within his teachings. Gautama restricted his diet and meditated for 5 years and found the enlightenment tree. This is a fig tree in Northeastern India he meditated under. His first five students ended up leaving him after a situation where he fainted. Soon after Gautama incident, the core teachings of the Buddhist religions began to form. Such as the "Middle Way" which is between self-denial and self-indulgence and also the "Four Noble Truths" came into this religion as basic teachings.
The Four Noble Truths became the center core of the Buddhism and seemed to be equivalent to that of the Ten Commandments to Christianity. The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering. "Dukkha in Pali" stands for life is suffering, but what some people fail to realize is that an opinion that life is bad or suffering. In Buddhism it is realized that life being suffering is a reality to everyone and an outlook on life. As we go through life we lose loved ones to death, friends for many various reason, and etc. From the Buddhism perspective there is no way to escape the things in life that cause suffering and therefore looking for the "good things" in life or things believed to bring happiness are pointless. "Birth is suffering; decay is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering. Presence of objects we hate is suffering; separation from objects we love is suffering; not to obtain what we desire is suffering." (Young, 2005) Complete understanding of this First Noble Truth is important to be able to prosper along with following and understanding the proceeding Truths.
With the First Nobel Truth being life is suffering (dukkha); it leads to the Second Noble Truth (Tanha) which states suffering is caused by craving. "It...

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