Chapter 4 PBA: An Introduction to Buddhism By Hanna Hicks Ms. McEachen's AP World History
--Buddhism is a religion and philosophy which focuses primarily on personal spiritual development and the attainment of insight into the true nature of life -- Buddhists believe that all life is interconnected and therefore sacred -- Compassion is the most important tenet of Buddhist belief -- The goal of practicing Buddhism-- which is done mainly through meditation , morality , and mindfulness -- is to eventually reach Enlightment, nirvana , and end the cycle of rebirth which all living things go through -- Buddhists do not hold a belief in any god-- contrary to the misconceptions of some Westerners, the Buddha himself is not regarded as a god but as an honored Bodhisattva , an Enlightened teacher who helps others achieve their own Enlightment Basic Buddhist Beliefs
Beginnings of Buddhism -- Siddhartha Gautama was born almost 2,500 years ago in what is now Nepal. He was born a wealthy prince, but went on to become a great spiritual leader after he reached Enlightment while meditating under a Bodhi tree and became a Buddha– an enlightened person who understands the wisdom and true nature of the world. -- The Buddha spent his long life tirelessly traveling and teaching others what he had learned so that they, in turn, could reach Enlightment. Though he began life as a Hindu, the Buddha rejected the caste system and several other primary Hindu beliefs-- his Dharma (truth) taught that Enlightment is a very personal thing. The basis of his Dharma are the Four Noble Truths .
1. The world is filled with suffering. 2. The root of desire is suffering.
To be liberated from suffering, 4. There is a path to end a person must free suffering: the Eight-fold Path.
themselves from attachments.
The Eight-fold Path The Eight-fold Path is the basic ethical code followed by all Buddhists. Its simple tenets are: -- Right Understanding --Right Intention --Right Speech -- Right Action --Right Livelihood -- Right Effort --Right Mindfulness -- Right Concentration --Buddhists also have a strong belief in karma – basically, what good or bad deeds you do in the world will effect you negatively or positively in turn, in this life or your next one– Buddhism also teaches reincarnation
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet -- The Dalai Lama is a traditional religious and political leader of Tibet. -- The current Dalai Lama was chosen, like all previous Dalai Lamas, as a child when he identified several possessions among thousands which belonged to the last Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s spirit is believed to reincarnate into a new body after his previous life. --Dalai Lamas are regarded as manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion-- wise teachers and leaders to the world’s Buddhists. -- Our current Dalai Lama has been exiled from his home in China-controlled Tibet… he leads many peace talks throughout the world and travels frequently.
Festivals in Buddhism -- Buddhists celebrate a number of Holy Days throughout the year, especially in Southeastern Asia… These colorful festivals include Dharma Day , a holiday marking the beginning of the Buddha’s teaching, Sangha Day (also known as Magha Puja Day) and Losar , the Tibetan New Year-- traditionally, a time for great celebration and festivities. The photograph below shows a gathering of people during Losar, which the Dalai Lama himself always attends.
Buddhism Today -- Two main sects: Theravada and Mahayana -- Estimated followers worldwide: 376 million people -- Buddhism is the world’s fourth largest religion -- Countries where Buddhism is most prevalent: Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Tibet, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, India, China, and, increasingly, Western countries like Canada and the US.
Sources Cited -- BBC. "Buddhism at A Glance." BBC: Religions . BBC, 2011. Web. 13 Sep 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/>. --White, Brian. "Basic Buddhism Guide: A Five Minute Introduction." BuddhaNet . Buddha Dharma Education Association & Buddhanet, 2003. Web. 13 Sep 2011. <http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm>. --Robinson, BA. "Buddhism, based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama." Religious Tolerance.org . Religious Tolerance, 2006. Web. 13 Sep 2011. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism.htm>. --"A Brief Biography." The Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet . Office of the Dalai Lama, 2011. Web. 15 Sep 2011. <http://www.dalailama.com/>.