Essay about Buddhism

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Buddhism is the great oriental religion founded by Guatama Buddha, who lived and taught in India in the sixth century BC All Buddhists trace their faith to Buddha and "revere" his person (Frederic 15). Nearly all types of Buddhism include monastic orders whose members serve as teachers and clergy to the lay community (Maraldo 19). However, beyond these common features the numerous sects of modern Buddhism exhibit great variety in their beliefs and practices. In its oldest surviving form, known as Theravada or Hinayana. Buddhism is primarily a spiritual philosophy and system of ethics (Frederic 16). It places little or no emphasis on deities, teaching that the goal of the faithful is to achieve nirvana, a blissful state of
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Buddhism flourished in India until about AD 500. It began to decline gradually becoming absorbed in Hinduism until b y the eleventh century it had almost disappeared (Frederic 30). Meanwhile, it had spread and become influential in other lands of Central and East Asia, where it continues to maintain vitality.

Today, Buddhism survives in two major forms. The early Theravada form is practiced in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and in the Southeast Asian countries of Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia (Frederic 40). The later Mahayana form prevails in China, including Tibet, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia (Frederic 40).

The teachings of Buddha played a major role in the religion of Buddhism. Buddha's teaching was a deeper , more ethical protest against "Vedic formalism" (Snellgrove 50). Rejecting authority of both Vedas and Brahmin priests, he proclaimed a new way of deliverance discovered by himself. This was shown in his first sermon, "Turning the Wheel of Doctrine" (Snellgrove 51). Essentially this way is knowing and living by "four noble truths (Snellgrove 51)."

First, "The Noble Truth of Suffering" was "suffering is inherent in all life in the experiences of birth, old age, sickness, and death; in union with the unpleasant ; in separation from the pleasant; in failing to obtain
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