Introductory to Buddhism <br />It is a religion to approximately 300 million people worldwide.<br />Buddhism is derived from the word “budhi”, meaning to awaken. <br />Buddhism can be summarized with three main beliefs---lead an honorable life, think before you act through awareness, and progress through life with knowledge and comprehension. <br />The Buddhism religion claims to have a path to happiness through the rejection of any type of materialistic gain. <br />There are three main branches of Buddhism—Mahayana, Theravada, and Tibetan (also called Vajrayana).<br />
Origin of Buddhism<br />Siddhartha Gautama, born in Nepal around 563 BCE, founded Buddhism.<br />When Gautama turned 29, he had an epiphany. He realized that wealth that did not result in sincere happiness, so we went on a quest to find the “middle path” and was enlightened. <br />He went around teaching of his enlightenment for around half a century, until his death. <br />Gautama, or as he might be called, “Buddha”, did not claim to be a deity.<br />
Four Noble Truths<br />The Four Noble Truths are basically pillars of the Buddha’s teaching<br />First Noble Truth—This truth, teeming with realist views, declares that pain and suffering is a natural part of life. <br />Second Noble Truth—This truth claims that suffering can be sourced to wanting or craving, because it distracts one from true happiness. <br />Third Noble Truth—The Third Noble Truth sheds hope as it asserts that happiness and contentment are attainable and that suffering can be overcome.<br />Fourth Noble Truth—The Noble 8 path (leading a morally sound life) is the answer to suffering. <br />
Cultural Impact and Influence<br /><ul><li>Terms from Buddhism have often made their way into United States Culture.</li></ul>Karma, a term derived from Buddhist Culture, is used commonly in the United States as a term for “what goes around comes around”.<br />Nirvana, term to describe a mind free of suffering in Buddhism, was used as a famous American rock band’s name back in the 90’s.<br /><ul><li>Because Buddhism is centered around rejecting material wealth or gain, it has had more of an influence on poorer countries or locations with a lower standard of living, especially in Asia.
The idea of meditation in America, folding your legs and sitting on a cushion with your eyes closed and hands in their laps, came from Buddhist influence. </li></ul>Ron Artest , an NBA basketball player, changed his name to Metta World Peace, and Metta means state of mind in Buddhism.<br />
Current State of Buddhism<br />There are three main branches of Buddhism in today’s world<br />Tibetan<br />It is followed by 20 million people in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, and Himalayan India, which also includes the Dahlia Lama.<br />It is also referred to as Vajrayana or “Diamond Vehicle” .<br />Theravanda<br />This is the dominant form of Buddhism throughout most of Southeast Asia—Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, and Laos.<br />Thereavanda is the only remaining branch of the historical Nikaya branch.<br />Mahayana<br />It emphasizes universal compassion and the selfless idea of bodhisattva (enlightened views)<br />It is followed in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea.<br />Tibetan Buddhism<br />
Can I Become a Buddhist?<br />The teachings of Buddha can be undoubtedly undertaken by anyone because it comes from the individual, not outside influences.<br />You must take accountability for all of your actions and be aware of the consequences that ensue. <br />Buddhism also requires compassion which necessitates knowledge, and knowledge can only be gained through a path that is directed toward understanding and comprehension.<br />Because of the principles of Buddhism are more broad than set and specific, it can be used in a personalized way, as long as the basic ideas are followed faithfully. <br />
Sources Cited<br />"laughing buddha." Photograph.pinkkiteboarding. Web. 15 Sep 2011. <http://www.pinkkiteboarding.com/pinkkiteboarding_lifestyle.htm >.<br />"Buddhist Wallpaper." Photograph. Buddhist Tourism. Web. 15 Sep 2011. <http://www.buddhist-tourism.com/buddhist-wallpaper.html >.<br />"Buddha Wallpaper." Photograph. devianart. Web. 15 Sep 2011. <http://radioactivesamurai.deviantart.com/art/Buddha-Wallpaper-84665004 >.<br />"Buddha Wallpaper." Photograph. Byond.com. Web. 16 Sep 2011. <http://www.byond.com/members/IainPeregrine?command=view_post&post=34386 >.<br />"Buddhism in the West." The Buddhist Wolrd. BuddhaNet, n.d. Web. 17 Sep 2011. <http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/to-west.htm>.<br />"Ron Artest." Photograph. photobucket. First Last. Web. 17 Sep 2011. <http://media.photobucket.com/image/ron%20artest/bbwdreamsicle/ron_artest_sells_championship_ring.jpg>.<br />