Buddhist Beliefs Essay Research Paper Jackie McGlynnReligion

Buddhist Beliefs Essay, Research Paper

Jackie McGlynn

Religion 3/14/01

Work out your own salvation through diligence.

To be diligent is to work carefully and assiduously. It is to do a good job, but more importantly, it is to pay close attention to the details along the way. The quote above assumes an obvious Buddhist belief: that people have control over their own salvation after death. Whereas we, as Christians, accept the belief that God ultimately determines our destiny, Buddhists believe that they alone control it.

Buddhism is probably the most tolerant religion in the world, as its teachings can coexist with any other religion. It has a very long existence and history, starting in about 565 B.C. with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama (later to earn the title Buddha, the “Enlightened or Awakened One). Buddhism emphasizes personal enlightenment as opposed to eternal salvation from a higher being. The religion teaches that salvation lies in your own hands; you are solely responsible for what you do and the consequences that you will face. It molds several ideologies into its practices, appealing to a wide amount of people searching for their salvation. Buddhism is a natural religion. It violates neither the mind nor body. The Buddha became aware that men are born and die according to their good or evil actions, according to their self-created Karma — the consequences of good or evil acts.

Buddhist beliefs can be hard to understand by those who do not follow the religion. It has been said that their way of thinking and our way of thinking are very contradictory. While there is much about the religion that takes a while to be understood, the Buddha himself said that the only two things he taught were: a) suffering; and b) the possible escape from suffering. He taught man that he is a slave to his ego. The central teaching of the Buddha can be vaguely summarized by saying that life is suffering (dukkha), the cause of suffering is desire (tanha), and the way to end suffering is to overcome desire.

Buddhists understand that in order for one to diligently and aptly work out his or her salvation, they are to overcome desire by following the Eightfold Path. Briefly summed up, the Eightfold Path necessitates: “Right to Knowledge”; “Right Aims”; “Right Speech”; “Right Conduct” (no killing, stealing, lying, committing indecent sexual acts or consuming intoxicants); “Right Livelihood” (some jobs are condemned by Buddha); “Right Effort (willpower); “Right Mindfulness”, and Right Meditation .

Since Buddhism emphasizes the appeal of self-removal from the problems within everyday life, it is easily recognized as a monastic religion. Within it s monasteries everyone has the same goal, which is to attain Nirvana. This Enlightenment that dwells in life does not pertain to only one form; man is always changing and he is entirely mortal. Buddhism is very logical. It is not based on blindly believing its teachings. The Buddha himself urged his own students to not merely follow him, but to put his teachings to the test, study the way of the Buddha and realize the path for themselves. In the words of the Buddha, No one saves us but ourselves / No one can and no one may / We ourselves must walk the path / But Buddhas clearly show the way. (BDEA)


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