Buddhism Paper

Topics: Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, Four Noble Truths Pages: 5 (1238 words) Published: February 1, 2015

Deanna Hall
REL 133
January 26, 2015
 Isabelle Rucks
In this paper, there will be a summary of the history of Buddhism and the life of Buddha, the basic teachings of Buddhism, and what makes the Zen Buddhism special school of the Mahayana Buddhism, unique. The Chan school of Mahayana Buddhism was created in China in the 6th-century C.E. Allegedly it was spread from Japan in the 12th century C.E. There was an Indian Monk and scholar named Bodhidharma that has the acknowledgment of conveying the customs from India to China. The core of his philosophy is he understood one did not need to learn sacred texts, worship gods, or do any complicated spiritual ceremonies to reach insight. He sensed that an individual needed to come through their limitations of conformist thinking by using meditation and feeling their realm, as it is, in this instant. Zen supports that this was the approach the Buddha himself achieved enlightenment. There are two major sects of Zen Buddhism one is Rinzai Zen and Soto Zen, and they developed various methods to achieve this enlightenment, which includes zazen (just sitting), meditation. So who is this Buddha, and what was his life like ("The Life Of The Buddha", 2015)? Contrary to most people in the western world Buddha was neither a God nor legend, he was a real man that lived approximately 2500 years ago in India. Buddha was born in Lumbini woods in a town called Kapilavastu. His birth name was Siddhartha Gautama. He lived approximately 80 years; the dates of his birth and death are not apparently available. Most historians put his birth around 563 BC and death around 486 BC. Gautama’s Father, Suddhodana Gautama, was the leader of the warrior class of Kapilavastu. His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his father and stepmother in a life of luxury. He desired at a very young age reflection in the form of meditation and self-growth. Although, he followed his father’s wishes and pursued to marry young and take the role as the king's court. He later had a son, named Rahula. At the young age of 29 years, he decided to start his journey on a quest for enlightenment. He became disgusted with all the frills and privileges of the palace, and wanted to experience the real world. His life was very sheltered, and he managed to escape the palace, and reality struck. He experienced seeing realities he never knew existed. He saw a suffering newborn, a sick man, an old man, and a decaying corpse. He quickly realized that suffering was a common thread amongst humanity. He met a monk, and he decided to abandon his family, wealth and inherited power to start his quest for enlightenment. This decision has been called, "The Great Renunciation." With five disciples, they set out to achieve enlightenment by total deprivation of all worldly goods. They meditated for ten hours a day, did not talk, did not sleep much, and ate very little rice. He soon became starved and collapsed; a village girl rescued him and nursed him back to health. This illness helped him realize that the extreme approach does not work, one must have a balance. So he developed "The Middle Way", a path with moderation. His five disciples decided he was a quitter, and they left him. At the age of 35, after 49 long days of meditation it is believed he attained enlightenment. At this time, he became "The Buddha", known as "The Awakened One" (Gardner, 2007, Conway, 2007).  The basic teachings of Buddha have become known as the “Four Noble Truths”, and the Noble Eightfold Path, considered his principal teachings, which described as the path leading to the cessation of suffering. Both the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path are at the center of Buddhism, as well as Zen. So after he decided to preach his teachings or Dharma, his disciples returned and praised his great knowledge and wisdom. Together Buddha and his five disciples formed the first group of Buddhist monks, called Sangha in...

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