Contradictory authoritative belief in a supernatural power(s) that directs human destiny and customary way of operation or behaviour go under the name “Buddhism”. However, the history of Buddhism extend for over 2,500 years from its source in India with Siddhattha Gotama (Pali, Siddhartha Gautama in Sanskrit), during its cause to become widely known to most parts of Asia and, in the century from 1901 to 2000, to the west. At the same time its unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favourable outcome have increased in phase and decreased in phase over the ages, more than half of the current all of the living human inhabitants of the earth reside in regions where Buddhism is, or has been, a most frequent cultural power.
The English term ‘Buddhism’ briefly expresses that religion describes or portrays the qualities or peculiarities by a devotion to ‘the Buddha’,’Buddhas’ or ‘buddhahood’.
In the essential and elementary “instructional aide” to the fundamental distinguishing attribute of the philosophy of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that when the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state ceases, misery resulting from affliction also will cease. However, there is declaration to be true or admittance to the existence, reality or truth that in one general conscious awareness.
Buddhism is man’s inclination to support or be loyal to and to agree to an opinion of the Teaching of Gautama, the Buddha; in some other it is the strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny’s philosophy which has come to have or undergo a change (physical features and attributes) about that teaching.
In actual fact, the term “Buddhism” stands for an ostentatiously lofty in involving extent and having many aspects of religion and based on detailed customary way of operation or behaviour of long-standing. However, there is contemplation that Buddhism is a philosophy, way of life and the code of ethics, but many declare untrue to it the characteristic of a religion. Buddhism in a stringent manner does not Judge or have regard in a theistic -creator God, as ascertained in the Semitic beliefs, in spite of that fact, it Judges or regards beings and spirits.
At the same time, we cannot describe in words Buddhism as an atheistic system, as it has no value or importance in common with the schools of thought that is allegiance to atheism.
To be precise, Buddhism is neither theistic or atheistic, but non-theistic, for it neither establishes or strengthens as with new evidence or facts nor denies the authenticity of God, but rather refuse to acknowledge it.
In consideration, Buddhism has the seven important traits that mark any religion, via, the realistic and habit measurement, the pragmatic and a strong feeling dimension, the principled and legal dimension, the people assembled to promote sociability and communal activity and institutional dimension and finally the dimension that is concerned with or affecting physical as distinct from intellectual or psychological well-being
Buddhism gives its disciples a system of habit worship, spiritual experiences through the act of intervening to bringing about a settlement, story about mythical or supernatural beings or events and mythical stories, systematic conceptualisations of philosophy and principles, laws adhering to ethical and moral principles similar to the law of Ahimsa, social and spiritual institutions like the Sangha and area set aside for the activity of worshipping like the temples and consecrated sites. All these distinguishing quality of Buddhism show the fact that it is a religion, which pleases or stimulates the needs of peoples’ hearts and heads and, in succession, guides people to their utmost or extreme fate.
As Buddha does not refer to a unique individual, Buddhism is less focused on the person of its founder than is, for example, Christianity. The emphasis in Buddhism is on the teachings of the Buddha(s), and the awakening of human personality that these are seen to lead to.
History of Buddhism
A brief history of the development and geographical spread of Indian Buddhism reveals much about the universal qualities and the distinctive characteristics of Indian Buddhism as well as providing an overview of its development.
Buddhism today is a world-wide religion embraced by millions. It is a complex system of beliefs, sometimes mystical in content, with scores of different sects. Diverse societies with long histories are intimately associated with Buddhism. Some 2500 years of Buddhist thought have yielded seemingly endless variations on the core of Buddhist belief. The iconography of this religion is a topic to which individual scholars have dedicated long and productive careers (Chang, Lyons and Peters, p.5).
According to research the historical Buddha, a man known as Siddhartha Gautama, probably was born about 560 B.C., but the earliest history of Buddhism is preserved only in the form of texts surviving from a considerably later age. Sculpted scenes from his life began systematically to appear in northwest India in the 2nd to 4th centuries A.D.
Additionally, Buddhism has used a variety of teachings and means to help people first develop a calmer, more integrated and compassionate personality, and then wake up from restricting delusions: delusions which cause attachment and thus suffering for an individual and those he interacts with. The guide for this process of transformation has been the ‘Dhamma’ (Skt Dharma): meaning the eternal truths and cosmic law-orderliness discovered by the Buddha(s), Buddhist teachings, the Buddhist path of practice, and the goal of Buddhism, the timeless Nibbana (Skt Nirvana). Buddhism thus essentially consists of understanding, practising and realizing Dhamma. The most important bearers of the Buddhist tradition have been the monks and nuns who make up the Buddhist Sangha or ‘Community’.
Origin of Buddhism
Buddhism is the second grandest religion that was born in India. In India the land of Buddhism, it did not expand till recently unlike overseas where it expanded rapidly. It quickly gained momentum after independence, when Dr.B.R.Ambedkar decided to adopt Buddhism. Numerous schedule castes followed Dr.Ambedkar and adopted Buddhism. They nowadays constitute an overwhelming portion of Buddhists in India.
Science has proven that the entire universe revolves around one body, the sun. So, with all his skills, knowledge, ability, energy and ingenuity man has completely no answer to the might of the forces that evolve around him. And again the question arises why and how?
The rising and setting of the sun has always been a wonderful and awesome event to all creatures of the earth and has played a great role in the behaviour of all creatures, this occurrence has indeed had and made a big impact on mankind. A particular man called Gautama Buddha came up with a certain theory about existence and dependence on a particular supreme force. This theory of dependence is known as Buddhism.
Origins of Buddhism as a “renouncer” tradition
The question raised for consideration or solution with Buddhism is compounded by broad geographical growth connecting several diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic groups; however, it has been mostly restricted to the Indian subcontinent, the land of its origin.
The instant historic set of facts or circumstance in which Buddhism came into existence is the Hinduism of the fifth century B.C., which is more devoted to the doctrine or a cult or to the practices of a cult than narrowly and conventionally moral.
Buddhism came into existence from antediluvian India and has several essential prominent attributes or aspect which is shared equally with another or others. Buddhism emphasizes the learning or discovery with certainty and may be regarded as renouncer traditions, however, the renounced tradition act or have an effect in the essential function throughout the formative era of Indian religious account.
Buddhism, like Jainism, belongs with the renouncer (Sramana) tradition, which judge or regards a life of discipline and the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state as the perfect of life and the Arahat as the person, who has achieved this goal in its integrality.
Although, it is a characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standardized philosophy that does not accept the authority of the Vedas as true, refuse to accept or acknowledge the act of killing (an animal) to propitiate a deity, keep or maintain in unaltered condition the pre-eminence of Ahimsa, values sincerely felt or expressed living which is characterized by or preceding from accepted standards of morality or justice, criticizes the superiority of human beings on the foundation of birth, opens the threshold of structured religious life for all people having the same social, economic, or educational status of as well as women, Speak, plead, or argue in favour of deep awareness of and sympathy for all living beings and sends out enthusiastic missionaries to spread its beliefs.
In its form without additions or modifications, the ideal renouncer is seen to Increase to a higher point above the social world and all its wishes, interruptions and responsibilities, and, from a vantage point of disposition to be distant and unsympathetic in manner, to seek the way in the direction of complete attempt to achieve equal rights or status from samsara (Mills 54).
With this we consider the origin of Buddhism, its doctrinal development, its territorial expansion, and its present status as a living religion of the world (Venus and McLean 412).
This doctrine that all life is suffering is common to renouncer traditions and is the first noble truth of the Buddha. To be free of suffering one needs to be free from action and its effects. The renunciation of action at first meant ritual action, but comes to refer to all action in the social world.
This renunciation of action could be achieved through ascetics (tapas) and meditation, which means techniques of altering consciousness or withdrawing consciousness from the world of the senses to experience total world transcendence (Flood 76).
The comparisons of the central tenets of Buddhism, as outlined by Gethin, to the monuments and edicts of Asoka Maurya are not altogether opposite. Asoka was flowing with the milk of human kindness, and his love and sympathy embraced the whole of animate creation. He had a high sense of duty, which urged him to scorn delights incidental to his position, and live laborious days. He was ready to transact state business at all hours and places, and he directed all his resources and energies to the alleviation of the sufferings of humanity and the Dissemination of the Dharma, as he understood it.
Indeed, the contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous of his subjects in particular and the men and beings in general was such a dominating passion of his life that he could never feel satisfied with the use of physical or mental energy or despatch of work.
Despite this, the noteworthy inscriptions of Asoka are of immense value. Even they are highly valuable as the characteristics of the present records put together out of existing material under the orders of the great king.
Nevertheless, the inscription describes the abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances of Dharma of Asoka. Though they were moral and spiritual, and they throw much light on the act of governing or exercising authority, political, economic and social life of the people.
These inscriptions can be regarded as the life history of Asoka and greatly help the Buddhists in informing an idea of the considerable prominence, ideals and greatness of the remarkable king. The language is simple and expressing dignity; especially formality or stateliness in bearing or appearance. The Buddhists believe that on going through them, they feel as if his voice is speaking to them straight and confiding what is passing in their mind.
Thus, there are ample evidence regarding the Mauryan Kings. But these sources refer primarily to the administrative system and social life yielding very few details regarding political history. In line with this, the monuments belonging to the Mauryan periods speak of the culture and civilisation of this period. In addition, Ashoka’s edicts advised the people to be kind, to speak the truth and not to kill any living being. (Williams 80).
Religion and Buddhism
Religion can be defined as the frequent thoughts of transmundane reality, an emphasis on a significant good for oneself and others, the cultivation of such a relationship, and, a disposition or tendency, when attending to matters in which they are complicated, to totalize or ultimate in some way the central elements of features.
In a capsule, religion is thoughts that are often turned to something “beyond” or more. That man is in all lands and in every age a religious being, the unanimous verdict (Keown 5)
Gautama Buddha observed the natural forces of the earth and discovered that there must be a certain Divine Reality, hence the birth of the religion Buddhism. Unlike other religions Buddhism is more spiritual than doctrinal. It also differs with other religions on the basis that it does not hold a belief of an existing creator god, but recognizes the existence of super natural beings and spirits.
Is Buddhism a religion?
Understanding whether Buddhism is an institution to express belief in a divine power, doctrine, way of life or principles or laws of ethics is not easy. But we may start by defining religion, which in short means a firm trust in power that does not exist in nature. This Supreme Being is known as God who we believe is the creator of the universe and its contents.
Furthermore, God carries out a secure sense of concern in the connected series of events, actions or developments of the history of mankind, by going into a solemn agreement, presenting his purpose in diverse directions, and getting involved, so as to alter miraculously at critical time or hindering an action, or through force
However, Buddhism grants credentials to the availability of supernatural forces like gods and spirits. Nonetheless, Buddhism appears not to have great extent familiar with the atheistic orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation like Marxism.
Transformation of Buddhism
Buddhism is undergoing transformation as it moves from its traditional homeland in Asia into European, Australian, and North American contexts. In so doing, Buddhism is rapidly establishing itself as a viable alternative to traditional religion for many in the West. It is not accidental that the western fascination with Buddhism coincides with Christianity’s loss of its position of religious dominance in Europe (Coleman 9). While the actual number of Buddhist in the United States remains comparatively small, perhaps around 4 million Buddhist in the US (Wuthnow and Cage 154). Buddhism exerts an influence disproportionate to the number of adherents, as many American Buddhists are found in culturally influential sectors such as education, entertainment, and the media.
The growing attraction of Buddhism is both a product of and a contributing factor to the wider social and cultural transformations of religion in the West. The past half-century has witnessed enormous changes, brought about in part by increased immigration from Asia resulting in growing religious diversity.
Further changes stem from the increased secularization of much of Europe and Canada, which has resulted in a deep scepticism about traditional Christian claims, as well as a rejection of institutional religion in favour of personal experience and alternative religious traditions, as reflected in the move away from religion and toward spirituality, and so on (Eck 234).
Richard Hughes Seager suggests that American Buddhism comprises three distinct groups which are the Buddhism of nineteenth century Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, the Euro-American Buddhism of non-Asian converts to Buddhism, and the ethnic Buddhism of Asian immigrants who came after the 1965 immigration reform legislation (Seager p.9).
For many immigrant communities Buddhism provides continuity with ethnic and cultural patterns in the old world; others in the West find in Buddhism an attractive alternative to established religious and cultural traditions. The Buddha offers many a vision of inner peace and tranquillity in an age marked by high stress, rampant materialism, and consumerism.
For many in the West, Buddhism seems to promise a spirituality and serenity that enables one to transcend the pressures of modern life, but without the ecclesiastical structures, dogma, and authoritarianism of traditional Western Christianity. In particular, since Buddhism does not teach the existence of an almighty creator God, it offers the prospect of deep spirituality without having to bother with God.
Rituals are designed to help in counteracting the disturbing attitudes and destructive actions and to develop the good qualities and positive actions. Rituals are a means, not an end in them.
Rituals found in all Buddhist traditions include turning for refuge to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, taking precepts to avoid harmful behaviour, praising the qualities of the Three Jewels, making offerings to them, generating loving-kindness toward others, revealing mistakes, and rejoicing in the happiness and good qualities of others. In addition to these, each tradition has unique prayers reflecting those aspects of the path it emphasizes (Chodron 145).
Buddhism: Doctrinal diversity and moral unity
Tibetan axiom says that “since every valley has its own language so every teacher has his own doctrine”. On both counts, this is an act of making something more noticeable than usual but makes clear the variety to be established within Buddhism and the great significance value or role of an instructor in acting between parties with a view to reconciling differences and receiving inherited pattern of thought and changing it to the desires, the individual qualitative change of pupil. Reasoning from detailed facts to general principles about Buddhism in general is kept from happening or strongly hindered by this diversity. Nevertheless, Mahayana Buddhists have accorded this diversity a sacrosanct or authoritative standing and it seems as something to be proud of, giving verification of a prosperity and quality of being able to perform to aid the divine quest of all belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty, and not just human beings (Williams 140).
Nevertheless, there are no Buddhist Eastern Orthodox priest, no written body of teachings of a religious group that are generally accepted by the Buddhist and, while there were body serving in an administrative capacity in the formative years, no efforts to enforce the condition in which everything is regular and unvarying in belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by Buddhists above the entire communal life sequestered from the world under religious vows, much less put down, institution.
The looseness and adaptability of its doctrinal base is a major weakness in Buddhism, contributing to its eventual absorption by a triumphant Hinduism in India and tending to syncretism when confronted by indigenous cultures.
The standard work covering the Buddhist history in India, has bemoaned the way the Buddha left the order without master or hierarchy, and sees this as a major factor contributing to the eventual collapse of unity and the formation of sects.
Despite the fact that Buddhists themselves strongly regrets the ceasing to exist of the Dharma, the belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative, from its native land, however, they have a propensity of seeing it as an unavoidable natural event in a period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event when, as the Buddha foretells, mysticism is not accepted. Occurring at an early stage of development of Buddhism there was a strength or power greater than average attitude of mind especially one that favours one alternative over others to depict the philosophy not as a sequence of religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof to be acknowledged or discarded.
The English term ‘Buddhism’ correctly indicates that the religion is characterized by a devotion to ‘the Buddha’, ‘Buddhas’ or ‘buddhahood’.
However, as ‘Buddha’ is a title, it should not be used as a name. In many contexts, ‘the Buddha’ is specific enough, meaning the Buddha known to history, Gotama. From its earliest times, though, the Buddhist tradition has postulated other Buddhas who have lived on earth in distant past ages, or who will do so in the future.
The later tradition also postulated the existence of many Buddha currently exists in other parts of the universe. All such Buddhas, known as samma-sambuddha’s, or ‘perfect fully Awakened Ones’, are nevertheless seen as occurring only rarely within the vast and ancient cosmos.
More familiar are individuals who are ‘Buddhas’ in a less significant general conscious awareness, who have aroused or activated to the fact that has been verified by carrying out in concurrence of opinion with the leadership of a faultless Buddha for instance Gotama (Harvey 2).
Nevertheless, Buddhists do show great reverence to Gotama as a supreme teacher and an exemplar of the ultimate goal that all strive for, so that probably more images of him exist than of any other historical figure (Harvey 4).
From approximately a hundred years after the death of Gotama, certain differences arose in the Sangha, which gradually led to the development of a number of monastic fraternities (nikaya’s), each following a slightly different monastic code, and to different schools of thought (vada’s).
All branches of the Sagha trace their ordination-line back to one or other of the early fraternities, but of the early schools of thought, only that which became known as the Theravada has continued to this day. Its name indicates that it purports to follow the ‘teaching’ which is ancient or primordial (thera) that is the Budda’s teaching. while is has not remained static, it has kept close to what we know of the early teachings of Buddhism and preserved their emphasis on attaining liberation by one’s own efforts using the Dhamma as guide.
The Special Characteristics of Indian Buddhism
Since Buddhism came into existence and took on form or shape in India, it spread farther along in space, time or degree from India to Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Japan, and several continents.
The definite but not specified or identified characteristics to be considered of Buddhism were highlighted in each environment, bringing into existence a broad diversity of mental representation of the meaning or significance and the customary way of operation or behaviour.
Buddhism was changed in order to improve or make it fit to satisfy or fulfil the necessities of any group of human beings of every locale, ensuing in a broad scope disparity of mental representation of the meaning or significance. Indian Buddhism has a radically distinctive and without equal distinguishing quality that is not singled out as important in other large indefinite locations on the surface of the Earth.
As a consequence, the expression “Indian Buddhism” is frequently or in great quantities used in the present day to differentiate it from the Buddhism that exists in other particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography).
Buddhism however disappeared in India. If the angles and distances of Indian Buddhism are measured, a number of its unique prominent attributes and rational motive for a belief for disappearance can be determined by scientific observation. When Sakyamuni Buddha died, in the fifth century B.C.E, the Buddhist command given by a superior comprised of small number of mendicants entities in central India. With aid of Sakyamuni’s believers who helped to spread the philosophy, Buddhism became widely distributed to the south and west. (Groner, & Hirakawa 1).
However, after the event that resulted in the transformation of King Asoka, Buddhism was then formally made public all over India. Due to the increase in number of the male religious living in a cloister and devoting themselves to contemplation and prayer and work, disagreement or argument resulted concerning the conformity with law of communal life sequestered from the world under religious vows and the mental representation of belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative. The early order eventually divided into two schools i.e. The progressive Mahasanyghika and the conservative Sthaviravada (P. Theravada). Eventually, many schools existed and Buddhism entered its sectarian (Nikaya or Hinayana) period.
Although a number of schools had risen and had criticized each other, all of them were recognized as Buddhist. The official recognition of the right of individuals to hold dissenting opinions for a broad diversity of mental representation was established on the Buddhist intensity or forcefulness of the expression on the significance of the persons beatitude that transcends the cycle of reincarnation; characterized by the extinction of desires and sufferings and his liberty to think intently and at length, as for spiritual purposes and understanding principles..
Every disciple however was said to have been widely accepted as true or worthy and carried out the Buddha’s factual philosophy.
Morality of Buddhism
Buddhism is unique amongst religions in a primal sense. Ritual recitation of words or sounds believed to have a magical effect of any God is not advocated for. The act of delivering from sin or saving from evil can be brought to an end by ascertaining an individual’s hope; as hope are the events that provide the generative force that is the origin of suffering. The basis that wielded the force or authority that Buddha brought about set up or established during the period during which it was functional was the Sangha (male religious living in a cloister and devoting himself to contemplation and prayer and work order) whereby mankind were generally approved or recognized their social status or position notwithstanding. The Bhikkus who belonged to Sangha led a vicious life completely wanting or lacking of all the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state.
The breach of Buddhism from other forms of adoration that constituted Hinduism was almost accomplished in the lifespan of Buddha. This take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect of not identifying every Gods that attributes human qualities, emotional state or the evil supernatural being, and the close proximity to the nonattendance of the prescribed procedure for conducting religious ceremonies, the act of renouncing; sacrificing or giving up or surrendering (a possession or right or title or privilege etc.) of the caste system and the strong act of the person who performs religious duties and ceremonies which consist of delivering communal duties or provision of space and equipment helpful to others with the intention of assuagement of human being misery resulting from affliction.
However, the other closely correlated feature was that in the beginning, who accepted the leadership of Buddha were registered formally as participants or members of the Sangha making it to a complete degree as people who attempts to convert others to a particular doctrine or religion.
All followers were to adhere to these for a common purpose for the inventing or contriving an idea and revision of the Buddhist divine code. Thus it kept a check on the emergence of sub-sects, a trend which is an authentication of Hinduism. In the 5th Century, another public forum met for open discussions was held at Vaishali also in Magadha, (Bhaskar 5).
Relations between Buddhism and Hinduism
Both Hinduism and Buddhism are to a greater degree or extent characterized by the attitude of a philosopher; meeting trouble with level-headed detachment than showing belief in and reverence for a deity. They all give an account or representation of in words closely encircling all beliefs (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative. A highly complex or intricate designated name, Dharma is a general conscious awareness of personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favour. In the society and the world at large, it’s necessary for an individual to serve as a means for expressing their roles. The roles of conceiving and bearing of offspring and position conferred by a system based on class, but widens or characterized by the attitude, environment or walk of life of passive and not arrogant or prideful acceptance of an individual’s approach. Dharma determines the essential quality of rightful existence for a Hindu. Buddhism has a connection either logically, causally or by shared characteristics thought, dhamma doesn’t express or state indirectly meticulous relation by blood or communal or social force that binds one to the courses of action demanded. Thought that makes something comprehensible of right conduct by the Buddhist rationalization of precise behaving in a certain manner and personal responsibility
Other similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism are a lot patent. Hinduism is worshipping or believing in more than one god while Buddhism upholds not having definite and highly organized structural faith in an independent, endowed with feeling and unstructured consciousness divine body which is perceived or known or inferred to have its own distinct existence (living or nonliving particularly in form of creature).
Hinduism’s hereditary social class stratified according to ritual purity continue or prevail a philosophical doctrine holding that all events are predetermined in advance for all time and human beings are powerless to change them and absence of emotion or enthusiasm in the direction of social abstract idea of that which is due to a person by law or tradition or nature and progression while strengthening the most powerful, important or influential concern. Buddhism draws together or meets in one common centre on the solitary acquaintance from bringing forth communal definition.
Compared to the belief of the West where they believe that there is only one god Hinduism and Buddhism are religions that are connected either logically causally or by shared characteristic. On a direct comparison, however, the conflicts between Buddhism and Hinduism are grand. Although the Somewhat indefinite characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition toward both supernatural power or powers that control human destiny incline in relation to the family and the group of people living in a particular local area. In addition to this, body of religious and philosophical beliefs and cultural practices native to India and based on a caste system does so at the detriment or sacrifice of women and the inferior hereditary social class among Hindus; stratified according to ritual purity while Buddhism still extant more ubiquitously acceptance. Accordingly, the two religions appear to have statements of fundamental facts or principles. Consequently, only Buddhism lacks whichever outsized unenthusiastic measure, or estimate according to some rate of reactions for its disciples. Considering these, as a general life belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative, Buddhism has a lot of gainful character.
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