Siddhartha Gautama sat under the Bho tree shade about 35 years ago to meditate, the aim of his meditation was to come to a conclusion and reach enlightenment. Later after seven weeks, he received the great enlightenment primarily known as the four Noble truths or the eight fold path for the Buddhist. From this period he was known as Buddha or the father of Buddhism (Keown 6).The middle way is a psychological and a philosophical idea that causes healing and suffering of evil. The people who are Buddhist in this case are expected to believe and understand the four noble truths and strictly follow the Eight Path to reach Nirvana complete state.
The Buddha advised their followers against having a lot of accumulated earthly possessions, and by so doing they will not be inflicted by pain and sufferings. Buddha taught its followers on being good, kind and sincere. They were also not expected to either harm or kill the living things. He wished that the followers have clean thoughts, imaginations and offer a helping hand to the needy.
The teachings of Buddha states that every living person experiences life many times through a belief they call reincarnation. They believed that id an individual does bad and awful things in their human nature; they might later face life again as small animals or insects in their next life. They also believed that is people did well while in human nature, they would not have to return to earth again then they will be said to have reached the complete nature of Nirvana a state of no birth or death.
Buddhists believe that their only master is Buddha and there is no other god and take refuge in Sangha, Dhamma and consequently Buddha (Keown 9).
They follow the example of their god and believe that the sole goal in life is to achieve and develop sympathy for all living things with zero perception and ensure their happiness as they enlarge wisdom which leads to the ultimate truth of Buddha.
The Buddhist is not centric as are in acceptance of anaatma and the Noble Truths that state that there is no self. They accept that there are differences in life in different countries of the Buddhist monks, practices, rituals and customs. However, these expressions and superficial forms should not be confounded with the Buddha's basic teachings.
The Dore Doctrines, Practices and Customs of Buddhism
Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism are two different doctrines in the Buddhist culture, however; there exist some similarities and differences in the practice of these doctrines. Some of the similarities in the two teachings are that they both emphasize the individual pursuit for liberation from samsara cycle which is birth, death and rebirth. However, the methods for achieving this may differ on the two teachings. The two doctrines are in acceptance that Buddha is the teacher with the four noble truths being the same in the two schools. Another similarity is that the Eightfold path is similar in both doctrines and they don't believe the existence a god who is higher than the rest. There is still no difference in their acceptance of Anatta, Sila, Panna, Samadhi and Anicca. These teachings are accepted in the Buddhist practice with no question.
There are various notable differences in Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. First, the Theravada practice is associated with the South Asia while Mahayana is associated widely spread in the North Asia all through China and Tibet. Despite the two doctrines being so closely related, Theravada view Mahayana as corrupted and too easy to practice. Theravada teaches that individuals have to secure their salivation with diligence while Mahayana believes and teach that through faith individuals can be saved. Therefore the two are different on the Bodhisattvas matter.
Another difference in the doctrines is that the Mahayana tenets are considered all-encompassing and vague that the very strict tenets of Theravada however, the followers conform to a regimented routine. The Mahayana Buddhist believes in the existence of multitude heavens, Nirvana description and hells while this is not the case with the Theravada Buddhist.
The Global Influence of Buddhist on Society and Culture
Buddha established a new religion that led to change in most societies. Around the 300 BC, the religion had gained political influence as the Indian emperor started a kingdom belonging to the Buddhist where he based his reign on the precepts of the Buddhist. The doctrine spread to the east and changed Korea, China and Japan completely. The religion was able to explain the human conditions wisely and offered consultations that were not present in the other religions like Christianity and Islam.
It also led to the emergence of a compassion culture where survival solely depended on the social status of poverty is abundant. However, the new religion had less impact on the society (Shaw, Miranda 112).It was responsible for the change of the political constellations on the three countries as other religions including Islam and Christianity competed for political influence in the East countries. The countries included Thailand, Tibet and Burma which were largely Buddhist kingdoms.
South East Asia was entirely changed by the new religion including their aesthetics and philosophy leading to the establishment of monastic culture. The monastic culture created new social structures that were ideal, and it also permeated the strong societies of Buddha.
There was new growth in the architecture and Buddhist philosophy. The psychology of Buddhist and ideal ahimsa play a role that is vital to the western societies as it emphases on none violence. A monastic culture that seemed new in the country was established and helped to secure a steady flow of ideas in the continents.
Finally, the religion spread to the west as the Asian immigrants spread Buddhism and established worship centres in the west. The interested western travellers and students hugely contributed to the growth of the popularity of the religion in the countries neighbouring Asia. Many universities faculties were established so as pursue the religion as subjects (Shaw, Miranda 68).
One of the precepts of Buddhism is non-violence. However, there were some wars that were violent between different followers of the many religions that were cropping with Buddhism religion not excluded. There were conflicts between the Hindu and Buddhist, Buddhist and Taoist conflicts were present in China and power struggle among different Buddhist sects in Japan. However, Buddhism never generated a major war in the countries it was practised. Marginally, the religion also led to the development, popularization and the influence of martial arts in Japan with Zen philosophy being an element that is inherent (Shaw, Miranda 85).
Although the religion has spread through the Asian countries, it virtually remains unknown to the west countries until the recent or modern times. The missions that were earlier sent by Ashoka, the emperor to the west countries to make sure that Buddha spread widely and succeeded as it had in Asia did not bear fruits. However, the minimal knowledge of the religion in the west has been made possible through three channels which include the philosophers, the western scholars the artists and writers and finally the arrival of the Asian immigrants into the west popularized the religion. The "Come and See for yourself" attitude of the religion attracts a considerable number of Westerners including the North America and Europe of the modern time.
Fisher, Gareth. From Comrades to Bodhisattvas: Moral Dimensions of Lay Buddhist Practice in Contemporary China. University of Hawai'i Press, 2014.
Keown, Damien. Buddhism: A very short introduction. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Parkes, Colin Murray, Pittu Laungani, and William Young, eds. Death and bereavement across cultures. Routledge, 2015.
Shaw, Miranda. Buddhist Goddesses of India: Essays in Economic History and Development. Princeton University Press, 2015.
Samovar, Larry A., et al. Communication between cultures. Nelson Education, 2015.
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