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Facts About Buddhism

Learn About Buddhism What do Buddhists Believe

John 10:8,9 All who ever came before Me were thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not listen to them. I (Jesus) am the door, no one comes to the Father but by Me"…
  1. Buddhist Adherents: 375 Million

  2. Buddhism Founded: 560 B.C.

    1. Sprang from Hinduism but denies the authority of the Vedas. Because of the continual change and sects and factions, it can no longer be called a religion but rather, like Hinduism, a family of religions.15

  3. Buddhism Theology: Atheist or "Nontheist"(Deity Considered Unnecessary)

  4. Buddhism Founded By: Siddhartha Guatama

    1. Siddhartha Guatama (The Buddha) was a discontented Hindu born about 583 B.C. in Northeastern India to a wealthy ruler. His father sought to make him a prince and surrounded him with comforts and nice things and kept difficult and bad things far from him.

      1. Three Transforming Events For Guatama:

        1. “Four Passing Sights” - On a journey to see the world Siddhartha saw four troubling sights:

          1. A decrepit old man

          2. A sick man

          3. A corpse on its way to cremation

          4. A monk begging food

        2. “The Great Renunciation” Siddhartha reasoned that the only happy one of the four was the monk and therefore renounced his wealth and position to become an ascetic monk. He was miserable while supposedly living on a grain of rice per day so he renounced this monk's lifestyle as well.

        3. “The Enlightenment” – Siddhartha continued on his journey for spiritual truth and one day while he sat under a fig tree, deep in meditation, he achieved nirvana, as a Hindu, the supposed "highest god-consciousness" possible. Guatama achieved enlightenment and was renamed “The Buddha” (enlightened one) and after this, the fig tree was called the Bodhi or Bo Tree (tree of wisdom).

  5. Authoritative writings

    1. Theravada – Tripitaka “The Three Baskets” of scripture sometimes called the Pali canon is 11 times the size of the Bible.

      1. Vinaya Pitaka – discipline basket. contains rules forr the higher class

      2. Sutta Pitaka – teaching basket. contains discourses of the Buddha

      3. Abidhamma Pitaka – metaphysical basket. contains Buddhist theology

    2. Mahayana14 – scriptures were originally written in Sanskrit and paralleled the Pali canon but have since been translated and added to by the Chinese, Nepalese, and Tibetan people.

      1. The Chinese canon alone is nearly 5000 volumes.

      2. Nearly any charismatic Mahayana leader’s teachings tend to be fully accepted by his followers as ‘scripture’ making it nearly impossible to learn (much less follow) the voluminous and contradictory writings of the Mahayana Buddhist.

    3. Dhammadada – contains sayings attributed to the Buddha

      1. He from whom the delights of the senses fall away as water from the petal of the lotus or a mustard seed from the point of a needle – him do I call Brahmana. (priests and/or scholars of the highest Indian caste)

      2. He who in this world has shaken off the two chains; the chain of Good and the chain of Evil; who is pure and exempt from suffering and passion – him I call Brahmana

      3. He who has rejected that which causes pleasure and that which causes suffering, he who is impassive, liberated from all germs, the hero who has raised himself above all worlds - him do I call a Brahmana

  6. Buddhist Practices

    1. All Buddhists adhere to the Middle Path – another name for the 8-fold path to avoid the two extremes:

      1. “That, conjoined with passion & luxury which is low, vulgar, common, ignoble and useless.” – Siddharta Guatama (The Buddha) c.f. Catholicism

      2. “That, conjoined with self-torture which is painful, ignoble, & useless”

    2. Five precepts: The obstacles to the attainment of good karma can be overcome by observing the following

      1. Kill no living thing

      2. Do not steal

      3. Do not commit adultery

      4. Tell no lies

      5. Do not drink intoxicants or take drugs

  7. Sects Of Buddhism

    1. Theravada – Early Buddhism sect nearly extinct in India but prevalent in Sri Lanka and some parts of southeast Asia.

      1. Key virtue is wisdom; religion is a full-time job (mostly for monks); Eschews ritual Prayer is meditation and vice versa.

    2. Mahayana – Later Buddhism sect prevalent in China & Japan (and parts of Southeast Asia)

      1. Key virtue is karuna (compassion); religion is relevant to everyday life (for all) Esteems ritual; Prayer is even petitionary

    3. Lamaism (Tibetan) – Began in the 7th century AD.

      1. Primarily combines Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan Animism(Occultism).

      2. Lamas are priests and the chief priest is the Dalai Lama who is worshipped as the reincarnation of the Buddha (Bodhisattva Chenresi)

    4. Zen – A branch of Mahayana Buddhism

      1. Derived from Bodhidharma, a wandering Buddhist master living in India 600 B.C who claimed that the basic tenets of Buddhism are not derived from the scriptures but rather transmitted from mind to mind and need no explanation in words.

      2. Have no sacred scriptures for use in teachings but accept any writings Buddhist or not

      3. Bodhidharma claims (as many Hindu gurus claim) "Look within, you are the Buddha."

      4. Most famous recent work: Zen Buddhism and the art of motorcycle maintenance introduced Zen Buddhism to a whole new generation of westerners in the eighties and nineties.

  8. Buddhist Theology: Nontheist/Atheistic

    1. Whether a Deity Exists or Not Is Of No Consequence.

    2. According to the Buddhist Catechism by H.S. Olcott: The Universe was evolved, not created; it functions according to law, not by the power of any God. The Buddhist is monistic (denies the existence of personal Creator)

    3. Theravada: There is no God, only Nirvana. Buddha is a saint.

    4. Mahayana: Buddha is a savior (some extremes, he is god)

    5. Lamaism: Buddha is a savior & “as god” as well as his incarnation The Dalai Lama who claims to be only a reflection of one’s self which is a reflection of divinity

  9. Nature Of Man To The Buddhist

    1. Theravada - Emphasis on man as an individual and on his own in the universe

    2. Mahayana - Emphasis on man’s involvement with others to help them achieve enlightenment because he is not alone in the universe.

  10. How Does Buddhism Solve The Problem Of Evil?

    1. ignorance fosters the belief that a rebirth is necessary

    2. ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow removed by observing the following "Four Jewels Of Buddhism"

      1. Truth of pain – Dukkha In the five components of existence (birth, old age, sickness, death, emotion (sorrow etc.), are painful.

      2. Cause of pain - Cravings: the cause of rebirth, combined with pleasure and lust – for passion, existence, non-existence etc.

      3. Cessation of Pain – no craving, abandonment, non-attachment, forsaking

      4. Path to Cessation of Pain – The “Noble Eight-fold Path

        1. Right view

        2. Right intention

        3. Right speech

        4. Right action

        5. Right livelihood

        6. Right effort

        7. Right mindfulness

        8. Right concentration.

  11. Salvation and Afterlife To The Buddhist:

    1. All Buddhists: Emancipation from reincarnation cycle via self effort.

    2. Afterlife is, like Hinduism, a series of life after life after life etc until Nirvana is achieved

    3. Like Hinduism, this view of the after life was created to answer the question "where do we go when we die?" but unfortunately, repeated death and rebirth by the rules of karma only perpetuates "ignorance" which is needed by someone else to bring the Buddhist to "wisdom" or "enlightenment". Because of this perpetuation, this view of the afterlife doesn't really work to resolve the issue but rather keeps the cycle going and going.
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