We all obviously suddenly get a stereotype in our head whenever any religion is mentioned. Take christianity for example; I suddenly imagine everybody walking round with a stick and a pointy white hat on. Although, I’m looking at Buddhism in this article and before I did my research I imagined Buddhism as a chilled out religion, where they meditate all the time and worship a fat man. I thought nothing of this though, however, now I’ve researched the religion, I look at myself and think, don’t stereotype, learn! So, that’s my overall point to writing this article. I want to educate others to not stereotype but rather have a thirst for knowledge. I hope this article gives you a little insight into the world of a Buddhist and you never know by the end of it you might convert!
Firstly, I thought I’d look up the definition of Buddhism and I got the following description:
- The teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct, wisdom, and meditation releases one from desire, suffering, and rebirth.
Then I decided to look up the ‘cultural’ definition which is as follows:
- A religion, founded by the Buddha, that emphasises physical and spiritual discipline as a means of liberation from the physical world. The goal for the Buddhist is to attain nirvana, a state of complete peace in which one is free from the distractions of desire and self-consciousness. Buddhists are found in the greatest numbers in eastern Asia.
Nirvana is the highest state of consciousness, in which the soul is freed from all desires and attachments. Buddhist believe that there is a cycle of birth, life and death and rebirth. This goes on and on. They believe that unless someone gains Enlightenment when they die, then they will be reborn. If a person can gain Enlightenment, they can break out of this cycle. Breaking out of the cycle is called Nirvana (sometimes called Nibbana). It is the end of everything that is not perfect. It is perfect peace, free of suffering.
Buddhism is a pretty spiritually based religion. It is definitely different to any other religion which we know about, as Buddhists do not believe in a personal creator (God), but rather Buddhists believe that Buddha saw the truth about what the world is like. They believe that nothing in the world is perfect but Buddha found the answer to why it is like that. They do not believe that Buddha was a god, but that he was a human being just like them. They believe that he was important because he gained Enlightenment, and he chose to teach other people how to reach it too.
I won’t go into loads of details on every single area of Buddhism, but I’ll talk about one thing which I, personally, find the most interesting: which is Karma. I am a very spiritual person and I also believe in Karma. Karma is the law that every cause has an effect. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted and why some people only have short lives. Buddhists believe that our past actions have an effect on who or what we are in our next life.
I find these beliefs ever so fascinating. Even if I don’t believe exactly with something, I am still intrigued and ask more questions why. I have learnt so much about Buddhism over the course of my research, even ten minutes in I knew more about Buddhism than I did over my entire life.
I learnt about different types of Buddhism and about the four noble truths. I also learnt about their belief system and all about Siddhartha Gautama himself, aka Buddha. There’s only so much I can say in an article before I lose the attention of my readers, but honestly, if I’ve captured your attention and you want to read on. Check out this great website I found which puts Buddhism in ‘Layman’s Terms’, as such. Or for more definitions like the one’s I found above go to thisonline dictionary
Hope you enjoyed and are now enlightened (see what I did there!)