Buddhism:- Teachings, Branches, Rites and Ceremonies, Temples.
Overview of Buddhism:-
The Buddhist faith was founded by an Indian nobleman called Gautam Siddhartha in the 6th century BC. Gautama, who became known as the Buddha, or the “Awakened One“, told people how to achieve fulfillment.
He taught that fulfillment is reached by mediation, wisdom, and correct behavior in all aspects of life. Buddhists also believe in reincarnation, in other words, that a person can be reborn after death. The Buddha is revered by his followers, but not worshipped as a god.
For this reason, Buddhism exists side by side with other religions in many countries. There are probably some 320 – 350 Million (7% world population) Buddhist worldwide although is in these countries i.e China, Japan, North, and South Korea, and Myanmar. We can say that Buddhists are the majority found in Asia.
Teachings of Buddhism:-
The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths, which explains the Buddhist attitude to suffering and how fulfillment can be achieved.
The truths say that suffering is always present in the World, that the human search for pleasure is the source of suffering, that it is possible to be free from these desires by achieving a state called nirvana, and that the way to nirvana is through the Eightfold Path.
1) The Eightfold Path (Buddhism)
The path teaches the way fo Buddhists led their lives should be correct in eight important aspects, understanding, thought, speech, action, means of livelihood(work), effort, recollection, and mediation.
The eight-spoked Wheel of Law shown above represents each of the eight stages of Path.
2) Karma (Buddhism)
Buddhists believe in the law of karma. According to this law, good and bad actions result in fitting rewards and punishments, both in life and in later rebirths.
The Wheel of Life is a symbol of rebirth. When people die, they are reborn into one of its six realms of existence.
Branches of Buddhism:-
From it’s beginning in India, Buddhism spread around eastern and southeast Asia, where the majority of the world’s Buddhists still live.
There are also Buddhist communities in other parts of Asia, and in the West. Buddhism has two main strands – Mahayana and Theravada – but other forms of Buddhism with distinctive features have also developed.
This branch of Buddhism is closest to the teachings of Buddha himself. It is dominant in Southeast Asia ( Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand ).
Theravada Buddhists reverse the Buddha and do not worship other Figures. They aim to become “perfected saints” by following the Eightfold Path and tend to believe that people can reach the state of nirvana only through their own efforts.
This form of Buddhism prevails in China, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, and Tibet. A follower’s first aim is to become a Bodhisattva, an enlightened being who does not pass into nirvana but remains in this world in order to help others to enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhists, therefore, place a high value on Charity.
This form of Buddhism originated in China and spread to Japan in about the 13th century. Zen Buddhists aim to lead a simple life, close to nature, using everyday actions as a means of mediation.
Zen Buddhists meditate in a way that tries to see beyond logical patterns of thought and preconceived ideas.
4) Tibetan Buddhism:-
A Form of Mahajan Buddhism is found in Tibet. Here, special value is placed on the Buddhist virtues of mediation and wisdom.
Tibetan Buddhists have their own rituals, such as repeating the sacred saying, or mantras. Since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s, few Buddhist monasteries remain in Tibet.
Rites and Ceremonies of Buddhism:-
Ceremonies at Buddhist temples are usually simple. They involve reciting extracts from Buddhist scriptures and making offerings to the Buddha.
A monk may give a sermon. Some Buddhist rituals also involve candlelit processions and music-making. The Buddhist year is enlivened with the festival, most of which take place at full Moon.
The most famous festival is Wesak, at New Year, which celebrates the Birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.
Statues of the Buddha are kept in temples and homes to inspire Buddhist to live as he did. Buddhists bow before the Statue to show their respect.
They also carry out the ceremony called “Going for Refugee“, in which they recite texts that show their dedication to the Buddha, to his teaching (the Dharma ), and to the Community of the Buddhist ( the Sangha).
Temples of Buddhism:-
The religious building of Buddhism varies widely in their shape and decoration, from Japanese pagodas to Thai wats. But all contain statues of the Buddha.
The statues act as a focus for devotion and for offerings. People go to the temple to carry out acts of private worship and for special ceremonies.
Monasticism of Buddhism:-
Buddhist monasteries began when the Buddha’s followers built permanent settlements to live in together during the rainy season.
Today there are many monks ( and some runs ) who devote their lives to explaining the Buddha’s teachings and setting an example by the way they lead their lives.
The Dalai Lama is a spiritual and political leader of Buddhists in Tibet, who believe that each Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the previous one.
The present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in 1935. In the exile since 1959 following the Chinese takeover, he is still Tibet’s most important leader.
Sacred Texts of Buddhism:-
Buddhism has sacred Texts made up of sayings and sermons, many of them attributed to the Buddha.
One of the most important books of writings is the Dharmapada, which forms part of the Pali Canon, the oldest collection of Buddhist scriptures.