Buddhism is a faith without a God. A belief without a savior. A philosophy without a human enigma. A cluster of schools that manifests in the shape of a tree--containing many roots, one trunk, and many branches--that reach towards a common place. Buddhism's core roots travel back to 490 B.C.E. in Southern Nepal, India--where Siddhartha Gautama was born. Although he was born into an affluent family, he always felt that his needs were not being fulfilled. In searching for something to fulfill his ever prodding desire to be filled, he began to notice the inescapable realities of life--aging, illness, wisdom, and death.
After studying with teachers for seven years, he renounced his wealth and became a seeker for the answers to questions that did not have visible answers. On his journey of seeking he reached full enlightenment but decided to stay on Earth to help others to also reach full enlightenment. It was then that Siddhartha become The Buddha--the enlightened one. Enlightenment is defined as freedom from the constant cycle of rebirths on Earth--as well as full knowledge of any pasts lives. After his death, his teachings spread throughout the India and then all throughout Asia. In modern times, Buddhism has found its way to the West and has become probably the most influential religion from Asia. With between 400 and 450 million adherents throughout the world, Buddhism is the fourth-largest religion today.
Buddhism is a faith, a belief, a philosophy for life that seeks enlightenment--to provide a framework for you, me, and everyone else to become aware of the unaware--to recognize the unrecognizable--to make the invisible visible.
1. It serves as a constant reminder about the limited time that each of us has in our lifetime.
Before there was a Buddha, there was Siddhartha, a person like you and me, who became curious about what his life was missing. Through his curiosity, he noticed that every person follows the same patterns. These observations were found through the Four Passing Sights which included, Aging, Illness, Wisdom, and Death. Understanding the inevitable behavior of our physical selves can have a profound influence on how we choose to live our lives.
2. It is the middle path: the best of both worlds.
During Buddha's time of seeking answers he found that self-mortification was too dangerous and that self-indulgence was too addictive. He realized that moderation was a key on one's journey to enlightenment--and because his actions represented a middle path--a balance of self--Buddhism was born.
3. It encourages the living of an ethical life and provides loose structure for you to determine how ethical you want to be.
One of the main practices that separates 24/1 Buddhists (beginners) from 24/7 Buddhists (monks/nuns) is the amount of precepts that one allows to guide his or her life. A precept provides ethical guidelines for a balanced life. For example, to achieve basic mortality one may follow five precepts which include refraining from killing, stealing, lying, intoxicants, and sexual immorality. The precepts are not commandments, but instead serve as guidelines that can help steer your life in the direction of Interstate Highway 50-50.
4. It's teachings can apply to every area of your life...or just one.
Those who wish to enter into novice monkhood, or to become a monk or a nun choose to follow hundreds of additional precepts. Luckily, Buddhism, even if it is not practiced daily, has teachings, quotes, and guidelines that can help to bring more balance, peace, and clarity into your life. Whether you become a monk or decide to create an Instagram page full of quotes and inspirational messages, Buddhism to you will be as microorganisms are to a compost pile.
5. You can actually get rid of that thing that you have always wanted to get rid of.
In Buddhism there are four noble truths:
1. All life is suffering.
2. Suffering is caused by desire:
3. To end desire is to end suffering:
4. To end desire, one must follow the Noble Eight-Fold Path
Understanding these truths can serve as a source of liberation from chocolate, cookies, chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate muffins, and any other sweet desires that you may have.
6. ...And live with more peace.
Benefits of giving up chocolate and other desires:
There can be less pain and unhappiness, in your life because the temptation may simmer down.
There might be less negative emotions about yourself or the world.
The insatiable waiting, craving pleasure and happiness, and clinging to life may disappear.
"ending the ignorance at the root of the craving breaks the working of karma, thus ceasing rebirth and enabling peace"
According to the Buddhist teachings, peace comes with great sacrifice. It is required that desires be put to sleep in order to reach enlightenment. As it is a path that is free from delusions and cravings about the nature of self and reality.
7. You will be more religiously literate than before.
Many things can influence humans including: other humans, projected images, written and oral words, and belief systems--and anything that can influence humans should be understood by humans. Understanding these influences is a great way to ensure that they do not cause incredible harm to individuals. In addition, understanding can help to prevent misunderstanding between different communities. Religion is one of those influences that is widely misunderstood. According to a study done by Diane L. Moore of Harvard Divinity School,
"there exists a widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe and the troubling and urgent consequences of this illiteracy is that it often fuels prejudice and antagonism"
By Bringing Buddha into your life, you can become just a little bit more religiously literate. Google Buddhism, and what you find might just make you jump out your seat with great joy.
What do you think about Buddhism?
Add your diverse and unique fruit seed(s) to the comment section below so that we can grow a tree together and eat what grows in community. Peace.