Re: Can you tell me about Buddhism? -
May 8th 2009, 01:06 AM
Since I've investigated Buddhism pretty well, I can give you a decent description of lay Buddhism.
First off, I'd like to say that Buddhism is my favorite religion. While I consider myself mostly atheist, I very highly respect Theravada Buddhism.
There are two main branches of Buddhism. Theravada, and Mahayana. Theravada Buddhists only follow the teachings of The Buddha, and nothing more. The Mahayana Buddhists have deified The Buddha, and consider him to be a god, much like Jesus or Muhammad is to the Christians and Muslims, respectively. It is important to note that Buddha himself never claimed to be holy or godly, he only claimed to know the path to enlightenment.
The creator of Buddhism, The Buddha, is known by many names. Siddharta Gautama, The Awakened One, The Blessed One, and Shower of the Way are all names for The Buddha.
It is also important to note here that Buddhists are very different from every other religion. They do not follow strict rules. Buddhism is more about the search for enlightenment, and everyone must find their own path. The Buddha is considered a teacher, a mentor, and a guide rather than a god of any kind.
Buddha's first teaching was the Four Noble Truths. This is the basis for all of Buddhism, and should be known by every Buddhist. The Four Noble Truths are as follows:
The First Noble Truth: Life is characterized by suffering, pain and dissatisfaction.
The Second Noble Truth: The origin of suffering is the craving for pleasure, existence and non-existence.
The Third Noble Truth: There is a way to rid yourself of this suffering. The Fourth Noble Truth: To rid yourself of suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path was another of Buddha's teachings, and should be learned. They are the way to achieve enlightenment and nirvana, and each one must be completed to your fullest ability. It is important to note the difference between "this must be done to get into heaven" and "you have to try your hardest." For Buddhists, there is no heaven, and Nirvana is not a physical place. There also isn't any forgiveness. You have to atone for your own 'sins' with good deeds. If you mess up, that's OK, but you have to keep trying to achieve enlightenment in order to do so.
Right Knowledge: Learn all you can, especially dealing with the Four Noble Truths. Understanding is the best way to enlightenment. Right Thinking: Make a conscious effort to live in harmony with the world. Right Speech: Don't gossip, don't curse. If you can't say anything nice... Right Conduct: Do your best to follow the Five Precepts. Right Livelihood: Live in the world without doing harm to others. Right Effort: Make an effort to conquer negative thoughts and think positively. Right Mindfulness: Be self aware. Be aware of your body, your mind, and your spirit. Right Concentration: Meditate often. Its no wonder you see so many Buddhists meditate.
The Five Precepts are the condensed version of the Ten Commandments. They're general suggestions of how to live a good life. Don't kill,
Don't cheat on your lover,
Don't do drugs or drink alcohol.
Sound like something you're interested in? So how do you convert? Its simple. Just do something to mark that you're turning over a new leaf. It can be done yourself, or you can find a Buddhist monk to help you, or you can go to a Buddhist place of worship. Just something to mark the occasion.
As for worship? There isn't much worship to speak of in Theravada Buddhism. Most time practicing this religion is spent enjoying life. The main idea of Buddhism isn't to weigh your life down with commandments and asking forgiveness to god, or anything like that. Its all about enjoying life and achieving enlightenment. Why do you think you always see Buddha smiling?
If at first you don't succeed, try try again. If you still don't succeed, redefine success.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Last edited by Exelus; May 9th 2009 at 05:52 PM.
Reason: Typos.... Oops. and some organizing of stuff.
Re: Can you tell me about Buddhism? -
May 11th 2009, 01:05 AM
Buddhism is an extremely respectable religion, and the good thing is that since there is really nothing about God in it, you can mix it with other faiths. If I were not following my faith, I would most definitely be a Buddhist. I think I will definitely have Buddhist tenancies though, and try to utilize some of it's teachings.