THE PATH OF BUDDHISM

A report on Buddhism written by Latham E. Piper



Buddhism originated from the island of Ceylon in India. Buddhism has spread from Ceylon to the islands of Japan and then all through out Asia and China. Buddhism is based on the teachings of a man named Siddhhartha Gautama. He lived in the 6th century BC. This is the time of Confucius in china; time of some of the finest prophets whose teachings we find in the Bible´s old Testament. Gautama Buddha laid the foundation for one of the noblest structures ever created by the human spirit. Buddha means the enlightened one.

Gautama was brought up in princely luxury and splendor. Young Gautama liked sports and archery was his favorite. It was in an archery contest that he won the hand of his bride. Gautama had three palaces - one for the cold months one for summer and one for the times of rain. Now it seemed that all the good things in life were in his hands, he had servants to wait upon him, entertainers to play for him, a lovely young wife and a new born son.

All this luxury shut the sadness of the world out side and Gautama did not like this. *His father, was afraid an old prophecy told Gautama never to leave his palace but Gautama ignored him and rode out on a horse into the world.*

For the first time Gautama saw other peoples pain. He saw a man weak with old age. He saw a sick man*, a Hindu, who had *surrender* the world and starved him self to skin and bones and a dead man*. Gautama then returned to his palace but he had worry in his heart about the pain around him. He decided to walk away *on* the riches that he had and find out for him self the truth in life that was the way with Hindus. Gautama was 29 at this time.

He made up his mind to solve the riddle of life. The search took him six years. He joined five holy men who thought the way to learn the truth was to starve themselves. Gautama starved him self and yet he had learned nothing; so he started to eat regularly and the five holy men left him in repulsion. That was one extreme and the other was richness and wealth, which he knew well and it had left him hungry for the truth so he decided to try the middle way. He ate enough so his hunger didn´t bother him any more and then sat down silently under a tree - the sacred Bodhi tree. For 49 days he meditated, in a site he saw the armies of Mara, evil seducer of the world. They attacked him with storms, rain, rocks and shining weapons. Mara himself offered the riches of the world if he gave up his search but Gautama sat still and the armies of Mara fled.

After 49 nine days of meditation Siddhartha Gautama reached the enlightenment that he had been searching for for six years, the answer to the riddle of life. From then on, he has been known as Buddha or the 'Enlightened one´. Buddha stood up and made his way to the holy city of Benares. When he was there, he met the five holy men again, at a park out side of town. He preached his first speech on the meaning of life. From then on, for 45 years the Buddha traveled up and down the northern part of India lecturing and making converts to his religion.

Finally his body gave way to the strain on him from his efforts and he lay down to die. He gathered his *disciples* around him to give his last lecture. Then he passed on to Nirvana which* his religion says is the goal to all men work *.



The seed of Buddhists teachings lay in two lectures. One is known throughout the Buddhists as the *four noble truths*. The is the *noble eightfold path.* The Truths are these;
  1. Suffering is Universal
  2. Cause of suffering is craving, or selfish desire
  3. The cure for suffering is to rid one's self of cravings
  4. The way to rid one's self of cravings is to follow the noble eight fold path

: The steps of the noble eight fold path are:

  1. Right Knowledge
  2. Right intentions
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Conduct
  5. Right means of live hood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

Buddhism has two great schools of learning:

Hinayana Buddhism
followed by the people of Southern Asia
Mahayana Buddhism
followed by people in China, Japan, Tibet, and Mongolia

The Hinayana shows individual budgets which are very slim and strict. They also show "salvation by personal example." The Mahayana is for "salvation by faith and good works."
For a Buddhist that is part of either school of learning to participate and practice every value that they need to be able to walk the noble eight fold path creates a "pattern" of self - discipline. A hardy practice of this "pattern" will, in time lead that "individual Buddhist to good work and peace in mind." To Buddhist that do, the most that they can do is to live up to these ways, through many lives that they go into and do well. Enlightenment will finally come to them. What follows is freedom from all the desires that they have. The person will also be freed from reincarnation to Nirvana.

This sounds a lot like the Hindu religion´s "round of births," for Buddha was Hindu. He held the old age thought that all living people experience a long circle of deaths, birth and rebirth. He also embraced the thought of "Karma," that doing bad or good is rewarded in the next incarnations. And that the world was a place of sadness



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