The unique major religious practice for enlightment without a supreme being ,but based on the belief of no personal God. Human potential and experience promote good living with transcend of the world material. The Buddhists don't belief in God or Creator. "A growing mind can easily digest the idea of universe guided by unswerving Law as it can the concept of distant personage that it may never see,who dwells it knows not where, and who has at some time created out of nothing a Universe which is permeated by enmity ,injustice,inequality of opportunity and endless suffering and strife.'' (The book What is Buddhism?)
About 10-15% of the world population is believed to be members of the Buddhism. Where most of the believers are concentrated in Asian countries like Burma,Thailand ,Japan ,Korea and China. However because of the despersion of its members worldwide Buddhism claimed to be a major world religion which deserves multi-faith approach in teachings of religious Education.
Siddhãrtha Gautama Buddha,the founder of Buddhism lived in northern India in the sixth century B.C. According the pali canon and Buddha-charita ,Buddha's mother Queen Mah-Maya conceive him in a dream in which a haloed white elephant entering the right side of the Queen Maya to impregnate her ,this depicts Buddha's future had become a superb white elephant. The interpretation of her dream after told her husband ,the king who later summoned 64 priests who said the dream means ,the king shall have a son ,if continue to live a household life will become a universal monarch, however if leave the household life and retire from the world ,he will become a Buddha and the clouds of sin and folly of this world will be rolled back. Thereafter atleast 32 miracles happened which include the all the ten thousand worlds suddenly quaked ,quivered and shook,fires went out in all hells,diseases ceased among man,seawater became sweet and musical instruments produced sounds without being played among others. And his birth also records some miraculous activities. Nevertheless some people dismiss all this accounts as legends and myths.
Buddha questioned the hinduism beliefs in many gods and some lots of confusion within the practices. He saw a sick man,old man and a dead man and questioned also the meaning of life! Why man born to suffer grow old and die? This as result forced him to pursue the truth and left his family,possessions and loyal life to spend six years with Hindu teachers and gurus without finding the answer which further pushed him to meditate ,fasting ,yoga and extreme self-denial and again the spiritual peace or enlightment was hardly to come by.
All of a sudden Buddha abandoned his extreme course of self -denial and opt for a middle way which he should avoid extremes of life-styles. Instictively he believed that he shall found his own consciousness as he meditate under Indian fig tree.The meditation need to be steadfast inorder to resist devil Mara 's attacks and temptations for atleast four weeks until transcended all knowledge and understanding to reach enlightenment.
Upto now Buddhaists believed in Awakened or enlightened to attain the ultimate goal Nirvana the mental state of perfection in peace and enlightenment ,as freed from desires and sufferings.
After Buddha got enlightenment he started to teach new truth ,his dharma(law,order,truth,duty,righteousness) to his disciple or monks in the city of Benares. The teachings emphasised that all existence is sufferings arises from the desire or craving. Cessation of desire means no suffering and cessation of desire is only achieved by controlling one's conduct of thinking and belief.
After this five monks accepted his teachings they become sangha . This builds up the triratna (three jewels) thus the Buddha,the dharma ,and the sagna who helped people to get enlightenment. Buddha preached in the ganges valley and many people of all social status joined him to be his disciples and became so popular and well respected. He died aged 80.
The holy scriptures in Buddhism are known as Pali which consists of 31 books packed into three collections known as Tipitaka (three Baskets) These are: The Vinaya Pitaka(basket of Discipline)rules and regulations for monks and nuns written, The Sutta Pikata (Basket of Discourses)sermons,proverbs and parables by Buddha and some disciples and The Abhidhama Pitaka(Basket of Ultimate Doctrines)commentries on Buddhist doctrines.
The major teachings of Buddhism is the quest for true happiness and peace for all beings ,people live misery ,suffering and nothing lasts this is caused by ignorance and selfishness. Human beings change but soul never changes . When one's life ends another life begins in the world of suffering and development of life come from our thoughts and actions. We make happiness and unhapiness the way out is rebirth. Therefore Buddhists believe in rebirth.
Buddhism is grouped into Theravada(the way of elders)followed in Sri lanka ,Burma ,Thailand ,Laos and Cambodia, is also known called Southern Buddhism or Pali Buddism after its native language of Buddha. And Mahayana (the universal)varieties of Buddaism practised in the Northern and far Eastern countries.
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