What Is Buddhism?
Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. The religious philosophy of Buddhism is contained in the first sermon of Buddha at Sarnath. He experienced a profound realization of life, death and existence; He came to be called “the Buddha,” means awakened one. Lord Buddha do not believe in sacrifices and rituals, thus condemns animal sacrifices. He taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we will come to experience lasting happiness and peace. He taught how to realize truth for ourselves Lord Buddha laid stress on good actions and deeds, to lead an honest, disciplined and an upright life.
Buddhism is divided into the Hinayana and the Mahayana. Hinayanas are those who denied the existence of God and followed the doctrine of Buddha strictly. The followers of Mahayana believed that Buddha was an incarnation of God. Buddhism religion is the fourth largest of the world’s religions. The focus of Buddhism is on practice not on belief. The major outline of Buddhist practice is the Eightfold Path. Buddhist teachings should not be accepted on blind faith, understanding what is taught is an important part of that discipline. The foundation of Buddhism is the Four Noble Truths i.e. the truth of suffering, cause of suffering, end of suffering and the path that frees us from suffering. Buddhism is the process of realizing, exploring, understanding and testing.
The Main Principles of Buddhism
The main principles of Buddhism are the teachings in the form of Three Jewels, ‘The Noble Eightfold Path’, ‘The Four Noble Truths’, ‘The Five Precepts’, ‘The Three Marks of Conditioned Existence’ and ‘Vegetarianism’. The most important ones are described below.
Triple Jewels :
Taking refuge in The Triple Gems, i.e. the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; does not mean self-surrender, or total reliance on an external force, or third party for help or salvation.
The Four Noble Truths Are:
Dukkha – The Suffering, Samudaya – The Cause of Suffering, Nirhodha – The End of Suffering, and Magga – The Path that frees us from Suffering. These are the foundation of Buddhism given by Buddha in his first sermon after his enlightenment.
The Eightfold Path:
‘The Eightfold Path’ means by which enlightenment may be realized. Followers point to three main sections within ‘The Eightfold Path’ as Ethical Conduct, Wisdom and Mental Discipline.
There is a path to the cessation of suffering, the ‘eightfold path’ of right resolve, right views, right speech, right livelihood, right action, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
The Five Precepts : These are basic training rules which are strictly followed by all Buddhists.
- To refrain from destroying living creatures.
- To desist from taking that which is not offered.
- To not indulge in sexual misconduct.
- Not to indulge in incorrect speech (Refrain from lying, immpral speech,
abusive language, and gossip).
- Refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
Symbols Of Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama himself was unwilling to accept images of himself, and used many different symbols to illustrate his teachings. The following are eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism faith, and it is said that these were the gifts from God to Buddha at the time of his achieving enlightenment.
- Canopy: Protection
- Umbrella: Dignity
- Lotus flower: Purity
- Fishes: Abundance
- Conch shell: Calling to prayer
- Vase containing heavenly elixir: Enduring peace
- Wheel: The majesty of the law
- Endless knot: Destiny