Buddhism

Buddhist Teachings | Buddhism | Buddha

With over 350 million followers, Buddhism has long held an established place among world religions. In fact, Buddhism is the fourth largest organized religion in the world. Buddhism, otherwise known as Buddha Dharma, actually spans far beyond the constraints of a simple religion and into the entire existence, philosophy and psychology of its followers.

Origination

The Buddhist religion is said to have originated during the Fifth Century BCE on the subcontinent of India. Buddhism as we know it today focuses on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, and in the 2,500 years since his passing, Buddhism and its belief system has spread throughout the world. Buddhists today generally fall into three traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and the Buddhist monk organization, Sangha is among the most ancient civilizations on earth.

Belief System

The fundamentals of the Buddhist belief system lie in the spiritual enlightenment of followers through spiritual cultivation, religious practices, and meditation. Once the mind has been awakened, they will be a Buddha, much like the founder of the organized religion, Gautama Buddha. Through the study of his words, the practice of a virtuous, moral life, and by purifying the mind, followers can obtain bodhi, or enlightenment, which they seek.

Another, perhaps more simplified belief of Buddhists is to end the stress of existence. To do so would be to discover the truth of all things and reach a state of Nirvana. The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path are the means by which the ignorance and suffering of existence can melt away and the individual will be shown the truth. The fundamentals of Buddhism also encourage followers to evaluate the teachings of Gautama Buddha based on personal experiences, and if those individuals feel the teachings are valid, they should apply them to any chosen aspect of their life.

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths were the first statement of Gautama Buddha following his enlightenment. These truths are among the most fundamental of the Buddhist teachings and are at the core of the enlightenment experience. The Four Noble Truths are regarded as deeply insightful and a well laid out cognitive methodology, not simply a theological perspective.

Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path is actually contained within the Four Noble Truths, but represents the means by which followers can cease the suffering of existence. There is some debate as to whether the Noble Eightfold path should be practiced sequentially or simultaneously, but regardless, it is the pathway laid out by Gautama Buddha for followers to reach bodhi, or enlightenment.

Articles

Fundamental Buddhism Articles

Articles from the Buddhist Instruction Ministry

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