Buddhism is a religion based on the teaching of Siddhartha Gautama, or more commonly, Buddha. He taught in Nepal and Northern India. Buddha literally means the awakened or enlightened one. The Four Passing Sights is a story about the Buddha that introduced him to the thinking, which began his teachings. Siddhartha was born into a luxurious lifestyle of princedom. He was kept unaware of hardship and specifically protected from contact with sickness, decrepitude, and death. One day when he was 29, he was escorted by his attendant on a ride. He passed an old crippled man, a diseased man lying on the side of a road, a decaying corpse, and a wandering monk. In these sightings he realized that birth, sickness, old age, and ultimately death came to everyone, and this cycle was repeated over and over, life after life, for all eternity. Huston Smith writes the important truth that, “it is the body’s inescapable involvement with disease, decrepitude, and death that made him (Buddha) despair of finding fulfillment on the physical plane.” (p.84) This lead him to question where in life he could find a state of consciousness where there was neither age nor death. He then decided to abandon his worldly life and become a wandering holy man. This is what started it all.
Buddhism rejects six aspects of many religions. The first is authority. Buddha believed in openness, which went against the secrecy of the Brahmins’ religious teachings. Buddha encouraged the individual to find their own religious path as opposed to following the teachings of the Brahmins. He wanted people to be their own light they wished to see in the world, and to rely on themselves. The second rejection is ritual. He preached that rituals, for example, ceremonies or various religious rites, were superfluous and irrelevant; they deterred from attaining real religious consciousness. Buddhism also evaded speculation, the “thicket of theorizing.” (p.95) He believed in never questioning many of life’s major...
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