Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Buddhism H02 Morgan
Where Did Rubbing the Fat Guy's Belly Come From?
Glad you asked, Buddhism was established somewhere between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE in India. It quickly spread into Asia where and inexorable decline in the practice began in India. Buddhism has risen to a current 7% of the world's population practicing it, making it the world's 4th most popular religion. But is Buddhism a religion? Most religions revolve around a creator or higher power; however, Buddhism does not. Buddhist schools are goal oriented towards self liberation. There are many different paths that Buddhism follows, which also makes it stand out from other religions. In one path, known as Theravada, one's goal is to achieve Nirvana, total enlightenment, to escape the cycle of rebirth. In another path called Mahayana, things are quite the opposite. One's goal is to follow bodhisattva, which is staying in the eternal cycle of rebirth to help other reach their enlightenment. One main aspect of Buddhism is The Four Truths. The Four Truths consist of: Dukkha, Saṃsāra, Dukkha (again), and Nirvana.
Dukkha is considered a central characteristic in this life and loosely translates to "incapable of satisfying." It is more commonly, but incorrectly, translated to "suffering." It does not refer to literal suffering, but to the unsatisfactory nature of temporary states, including pleasant, but temporary, experiences.
Saṃsāra translates to "wandering," or "world." It refers to rebirth and "the cycle of all life, matter, and existence." The only thing to disrupt Samsāra is Nirvana, which breaks the cycle of rebirth. Rebirth is a fundamental belief of Buddhism, as the different paths of the religion revolve around it.
Nirvana, not the band of course, is the belief that when one reaches total enlightenment they are liberated from the cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Another core belief of Buddhism is Karma. “What goes around comes around,” I am sure we have been told that at least once in our lives by somebody “old and wise.” However, this concept is more complex in Buddhism. Karma exists from the seed of good or bad thought, not the actual bad or good action itself. Karma is the reciprocation of nature to a deed committed by any person. Karma is believed to restore balance to nature and is not always negative as the connotation of the word leads one to believe. Karma, as above stated, is enacted by the thought, or “seed,” of a negative or positive thought or idea. Karma would really be a bitch if it happened to everyone who made an honest mistake with good intentions. If a person was to think about harming another, than karma would reciprocate a bad action unto the thinker of the harm. Thoughts are the basis of action and that is where karma enacts. However, is a person was to think about doing a good deed, than the universe would do something good to that person. Karma is a core idea in Buddhism and is arguably one of the more important aspects of it.
Practice of Buddhism occurs most commonly in two forms. The Middle Way and The Noble Eightfold Path. There are many more paths than this, but many present Buddhists adopt one of these two.
The Middle Path is the idea of living in the area, “between the extremes of asceticism and hedonistic sense pleasures.” The Middle Way finds a medium between the idea of permanent soul, eternalism, and a soul that does not cycle, annihilationism.
The Noble Eightfold Path is eight interconnected factors that, when melded together, lead to the cessation of dukkha. The Nobel Eightfold Path is a fourth of the Four Truths. The eight views of the Nobel Eightfold Path are: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. This path teaches the way of ending cravings, clinging, and karmatic accumulation, thus, ending the endless cycle of rebirth and suffering.
The beginning of the Buddhist path is the traditional observation of The Three Jewels. The Three Jewels are : The Buddha (the Gotama, the Blessed One, the Awakened with true knowledge), The Dharma (the precepts, the practice, the Four Truths, the Eightfold Path), and The Sangha (order of monks, the community of Buddha's disciples.) Reciting of the three refugees is considered a thought that purifies and uplifts the spirit.
Śīla is the set of Buddhist morals. The go as follows: Abstain from killing (Ahimsa), Abstain from stealing, Abstain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct, Abstain from lying, Abstain from intoxicants. To commit one of these acts is believed to influence the ascension to Nirvana, ending the cycle of rebirth, and karmatic influence. Once one becomes a monk, the new set of morals become: No sexual activity, Abstain from eating at wrong time (only eat solid food before 12 noon), Abstain from jewelry, perfume, adornment, entertainment, Abstain from sleeping on high beds. Some Sangha also include: abstain from dancing and singing, and abstain from accepting money.
Buddhists spend much of their time meditating is a way of cleansing the soul and finding inner peace. Nirvana cannot be reached without the practice of meditation, as it has to be observed several times a day. Meditation is also a way of self-reflection to balance out personal karma and understanding of karmatic outcomes.
Buddhism is an enlightening spiritual path that is open to anybody who cannot devote themselves to any one religion. I myself have many Buddhist practices and beliefs and find it to be a satisfying lifestyle all around.