Theravadan Buddhism Essay

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Theravadan Buddhism

Throughout history there have been numerous religions and theologies that men and women have entrusted their lives and ways of living to. One of the most intriguing is that of Buddhism. The great Buddha referred to his way as the middle way, and he, as the "Enlightened One" began the teachings of the religion with his first five Ascetics who he shows his middle way. This great occasion is the start to what will be known as Theravadan Buddhism. Although Theravadan Buddhism would later be seen as the "small vehicle," it provides the first idea of the doctrine anatman or having no-self that shapes the ideas of every Buddhist today.
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Karma is the stuff or gunk that covers up the Jivas and makes things appear to be different. Even though a monk was the only one who could totally free Jivas, lay people could do good deeds and suffer willingly to dissipate karma from their atman. In this movement the final step for a monk to reach Nirvana was the starving to death of one's self.
In a complete contrast to the teachings of the Jainic movement the Theravadan Buddhists saw there being no atman at all. Buddhists accepted the teaching of the doctrine of karma which causes all who have it to be reborn into a state of life according to the built up karma. The only way to stop this rebirth is to achieve Nirvana. The state of non-existence or annihilation. They also felt that when passing from one existence to another no permanent entity or atman transmigrated from body to body. The reason for there being no self is because self can not be found in the five basic aggregates or Skandhas. These being matter, feeling, perception, constructing activities, and consciousness were all made up of dharma or small atomic units. This seems to be contradictory because if there is no self then these dharma shouldn't be present because they would in a sense create a self, even if they just came in and left every second.
The Theravadan Buddhists were very particular in what they practiced and what they worshipped. They were
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