Buddha Essay, Research Paper
Buddha – Buddism Enlightenment Buddhahood ReligionWhat is Buddhism?Buddhism is a path of teaching and practice. Buddhistpractices such as meditation are means of changing oneself inorder to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, andwisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist traditionover thousands of years has created an incomparable resourcefor all those who wish to follow the path of spiritualdevelopment. Ultimately, the Buddhist path culminates inEnlightenment or Buddhahood. Who was the Buddha?The word Buddha is a title not a name. It means onewho is awake in the sense of having woken up to reality . Thetitle was first given to a man called Siddharta Guatemala,who lived about 2,500 years ago in Northern India. When hewas 35 he found Enlightenment whist in profound mediation,after searching for years. In the next 45 years of his lifehe spent it traveling through India teaching his way of life.His teaching is known as Buddha-dharma. Traveling from place to place, the Buddha gained manydisciples. They also taught of the enlightment, and the chainhas continued on to this present day. The Buddha was not a God, and he made no claim todivinity. There is no concept of a creator in Buddhism. He wasa human being who, thought tremendous efforts, transformedhimself. The state of Enlightenment which he reached has threemain facets. It is a state of wisdom, of insight into the truenature of things. It is also a source or boundless compassion,manifesting itself in activity for the benefit of all beings. andit the total liberation of all the energies of the mind and thebody so they are at the service of the fully conscious mind. What Happened After the Buddha s Death?Buddhism died out in India a thousand years ago, though ithas recently revived. In the last century Buddhism hasemphatically arrived in the West and up to one millionwesterners have become Buddhists. What Does Buddhism Teach?Buddhism sees life as being in process of constant changeand its practices aim to take advantage of this fact. Itmeans that one can change for the better. The decisive factorin changing ourselves is the mind and Buddhism has developedmany methods for working on the mind. Most importantly,Buddhists practice meditation which is a way of developing morepositive states of mind which are characterized by calm,concentration, awareness, and emotions such as friendliness. How do you become a Buddhist?To become a Buddhist in the full sense means committingoneself to the central ideas of Buddhism. The Buddhist path isopen to all equally: men and women, young and old, peopleof all nationalities, races and backgrounds. RebirthRebirth in the Six RealmsBuddhism teaches that birth, death and rebirth are partof the continuing process of change. The is similar to thecontinuous process of growth, decay, and replacement of cells
in ones body. According to medical experts, after everyseven years, all the cells in one s body are replaced by newones. At the moment of death, and the body can no longersurvive, the mind is separated from the body. At that time, thecraving for lives causes one to seek a new existence, and thekarma done previously determine the place of one s rebirth. There are six realms which one may be reborn afterdeath. They are the realms of gods, the demigods, humanbeings, animals, hungry ghosts, and the hells. In general, wholesome actions like good conduct, charity,a and mental development, are the cause of rebirth in thehappy realms of gods, demigods, and human beings. On theother hand, unwholesome actions like immoral conduct,miserliness and cruelty cause rebirth in the unhappy realm ofanimals, hungry ghosts and the hells. Of all the six realms, the realm of human beings isconsidered the most desirable. In the realm of human beings,the conditions for attaining Nirvana are better. In general,in the unhappy realms, the suffering of living beings is so intenseand their ignorance so great that they are unable torecognize the Truth and follow the path to attain freedom.Alternatively, living beings in the realms of the gods anddemigods experience so much happiness and have so manydistractions that they do not think of rebirth until it is toolate. Then they may be reborn in one of the lower realmsof suffering. In the realm of human beings, however, peopleexperience both happiness and suffering, and are intelligentenough to recognize the Truth and follow the path to attainfreedom from the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, one isindeed fortunate to be born as a human being, and shouldremember that the principal cause of birth in the realm isGood Conduct. The Cycle of Birth and DeathThe Buddha pointed out that whenever one is reborn,whether as a human being, as an animal, or as a god, non ofthese states of exticence is permanent. The average life spanof the living beings in the six realms of existence differ butnone of them lasts forever. Eventually, rebirth will takeplace. The realm into which one is reborn and one sconditions of rebirth are determined by ones past and presentactions. This is the law of Karma at work. Because of the force of their karma, people are bornare reborn endlessly, in one realm of existence or inanother. The Buddha declared that there is no permanentrest in the cycle of birth and death. It is only when onefollows the Noble Eightfold path taught by the Buddha andeventually attains Nirvana, that one finally becomes freefrom the ceaseless cycle and gains supreme and permanenthappiness. KarmaKarma is the law of moral causation. It is action andreaction in the ethical realm. It is natural law that everyaction produces a certain effect. So if one performswholesome actions, one will experience happiness. on the otherhand, if one performs unwholesome actions, one will experiencesuffering. The is the law of cause and effect at work. Inthis way, the effect of one s past karma determine that natureof one s present situation in life.