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A Look into Buddhism

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"A Look Into Buddhism"

This research paper is going to be about the ancient religion of Buddhism. One of the major religions of the world. A religion where it is not that one god or many gods that is worshipped, but where the religion's followers try to pursue the same path as its founder, in order to gain ultimate enlightenment. It is a religion which does not require the same amount of blind faith such as Christianity or others. The reason is because the people do not have to wonder whether or not this man exists or once existed. In Christianity, everything is based on the assumption that God created everything. God created the earth in seven days, God controls everything we do, God decides whether you go to Heaven or Hell. The goals of the Buddhists is to follow this man's path, to base what they do on what he did and said, and to have faith in their own decisions and their own good nature, while not taking any day for granted because it could be your last.

Buddhism, today, has about 350 million followers. According to an article by Frank E. Reynolds, most of them live in Sri Lanka, the mainland nations of southeast Asia, and Japan.( Reynolds p.1). This is a much smaller amount of followers than that of Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism. However, at various times, Buddhism has been a dominant religious, cultural, and social force in most of Asia.( Reynolds p.1).

Buddha's real name was Siddhartha Gautama. He was born sometime during the 500's or 400's B.C. in South Western Nepal. He was a member of a royal and powerful family. He was never allowed to see all of the parts of life that are bad and even normal for most of us. He did not know about death or sickness. He did not know about the spiritual side of life either. He had been protected from all of these things since the day he was born. He couldn't take the questions that had arisen from his life of protection so he started sneaking out to see what was really going on. On one of his ventures outside of the castle walls he saw an old man first, then he saw a sick man, and then he saw a dead man laying in the street. This really frightened young Siddhartha to a point where he didn't know if life was worth living. (Boeree p.1) On another one of his ventures he saw an ascetic, which is a person that has denied themselves pleasure. He then began to understand a little bit more of the spiritual side of life. At the age of 29, he abandoned his wife and infant son to gain religious enlightenment as a wandering monk. After traveling throughout India for about 6 years he decided that he had reached his enlightenment. In the town of Bodh Gaya, Siddhartha decided he would sit under a fig tree and meditate for as long as it took the answers to come to him. He sat there for many days and suddenly began to recall his previous lives. (Boeree p.2). He believed he had discovered why life was filled with suffering and how people could escape from this unhappy existence. (Boeree p.1) After others learned of this, they called him Buddha, which means the enlightened one. (Reynolds p.2). The way of the Buddhists is to escape the cycle of birth and re-birth and to remove the suffering from the equation. Siddhartha discovered that denying yourself of all pleasures in life is not the way. The best road is usually going to be the middle road.

The 4 noble truths of Buddhism are very important because they all have to do with things that cannot be controlled. They all basically have to do with suffering and the ignorance that we have. The first noble truth is the fact of suffering. The second noble truth is the cause of suffering. The third noble truth is the cessation of suffering and the fourth is the freedom from suffering. They also follow the noble eight fold path, which consists of 3 steps. It consists of steps of wisdom, steps of conduct, and steps of discipline. Ultimately what the religions main theme is that ultimate good is total detachment.

The Dhammapada, which means the path of Dharma, is basically a list of the Buddhist sayings grouped into different sections. It consists of 423 sayings grouped into 26 categories. The sayings are not only for people who follow the religion, but a path in which anyone can follow. (Hooker p.2)

"Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come near to me. Even by the falling of water-drops is a water-pot filled; the fool becomes full of evil, even if he gathers it little by little."

This is a direct translated quote from the Dhammapada. I believe what he is trying to say

here is that your ignorance is what is your ultimate doom. You can tell yourself that

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