Bodhisattvas and the Evolution of Buddhism

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#1 Bodhisattvas and the Evolution of Buddhism Buddhism is a major widespread religion with a complex system of beliefs. The founder of Buddhism is Siddartha Gautama, widely known as the Buddha, meaning “the enlightened one”. Gautama educated that the goal of Buddhism is to achieve nirvana, or release from suffering. He received this understanding from meditation for 49 days. During this period of meditation, Gautama discovered the Four Noble Truths, which contain the principle of Buddha’s teachings. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. The guidelines to attain nirvana is called the Eightfold Path. Gautama gave sermons based on his discoveries and eventually built a Buddhist society. At first, only the religious order was referred to as the sangha, but, with time, the sangha meant the entire Buddhist community. The word “bodhisattva” is formed from the two words bodhi, meaning spiritual awakening, and sattva, defined as a spirit or essence. Using the definitions of the root words, the literal translation of bodhisattva would be a “being set upon enlightenment”. The bodhisattva vow consists of four pledges: 1) to save all beings from difficulty, 2) to destroy all evil passions, 3) to learn the truth and teach others, and 4) to lead all beings to Buddhahood. The period of preparation for the vow is committed to nature and is called the

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