During the Buddha’s quest for enlightenment, there were many religious practices that required either excessive pampering of the senses or severe deprivation, as in the weeks of fasting. Realizing that none of them were truly helpful, what would later become known as the ” Middle Way ” to enlightenment was devised … a balanced approach that emphasized inner rather than outer renunciation.
Unlike most religions or spiritual beliefs, Buddha’s teachings were spread by non-violent methods such as word of mouth or carvings on prominent stone buildings. Here are 10 more interesting facts about Buddhism.
- 10. Siddhartha Gautama is considered the founder of the doctrine
- 9. Arose in the 1st millennium BC. e. in India
- 8. Four Noble Truths Highlight
- 7. You cannot become a follower of the teaching “by birth”
- 6. Buddhist meditation – the path to self-improvement
- 5. Belief in reincarnation
- 4. The teaching is divided into Hinayana and Mahayana.
- 3. Buddhist monks are followers of itinerant ascetics from early religions
- 2. The doctrine is widespread in the countries of South, Southeast and East Asia
- 1. The main differences from other teachings and beliefs
Table of Contents
10. Siddhartha Gautama is considered the founder of the doctrine
Buddhism is mainly the teachings of Siddharta Gautama, who was born in 623 BC . He was born a prince, but he continued his long spiritual search for happiness and an end to suffering. After many trials and various paths, he finally found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. After his enlightenment, he began to teach others, and this is how the teaching of Buddhism began.
9. Arose in the 1st millennium BC. e. in India
Several scholars have suggested that the Prajnaparamita sutras, which are among the earliest Mahayana sutras, developed among the Mahasangikas along the Kha River in the Indhra region of South India .
The earliest Mahayana sutras include the earliest versions of the Prajnaparamita genre, as well as texts concerning the Akshobhya Buddha, which were probably recorded in the 1st century BC in southern India.
Guang Xing states: ” Some scholars have suggested that Prajñāpāramitā probably developed among the Mahasangikas in southern India, in the country of Indra, on the Ksha River .” A. K. Varder believes that ” Mahayana originated in the south of India and almost certainly in the country of Andhra.”
8. Four Noble Truths Highlight
The Four Noble Truths are at the core of the Buddha’s teachings , although many of them remain inexplicable. They are the truth of suffering, the truth about the cause of suffering, the truth about the end of suffering, and the truth about the path that leads to the end of suffering .
Simply put, suffering exists; he has a reason; it has an end; and he has a reason to end. The notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative worldview, but rather a pragmatic perspective that touches the world as such and tries to fix it.
The concept of pleasure is not denied, but is recognized as fleeting. The pursuit of pleasure can only continue what is ultimately an unquenchable thirst.
7. It is impossible to become a follower of the teaching “by birth”
Even if you are born into a Buddhist family, you will not be one . The first obstacle to overcome is understanding that Buddhism is not a belief system.
When Buddha realized enlightenment, what he realized was so far removed from ordinary human experience that there was no way to explain it. Instead, he developed a practice path to help people realize enlightenment for themselves.
Thus, the doctrines of Buddhism are not meant to be mere belief. There is Zen that says, “The hand pointing to the moon is not the moon.” Doctrines are more like testable hypotheses or pointers to truth. What is called Buddhism is the process by which the truths of doctrines can be realized for oneself.
6. Buddhist meditation – the path to self-improvement
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm vision of the true nature of things .
Through some meditation practice, you learn the patterns and habits of your mind, and this practice offers the means to develop new, more positive ways of being.
With regular work and patience, these focused states of mind can deepen into peaceful and energized states. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.
5. Belief in reincarnation
When Buddhism was founded 2,500 years ago, it incorporated the Hindu faith in reincarnation . Although Buddhism has two main divisions and countless differences in regional practices, most Buddhists believe in samsara, or the cycle of rebirth.
Samsara is governed by the law of karma: good behavior gives rise to good karma, and bad behavior gives rise to evil karma. Buddhists believe that the karma of the soul transmigrates between bodies and becomes a ” germ of consciousness ” in the womb.
Like Hindus, Buddhists see unenlightened samsara as a state of suffering. We are suffering because we want a transition. Only when we reach a state of complete passivity and free ourselves from all desires can we avoid samsara and attain nirvana, or salvation.
Many Buddhists believe that a person can complete the cycle of reincarnation by following the Eightfold Path, or the middle path. The enlightened being embodies the directives of the Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
4. The teaching is divided into Hinayana and Mahayana.
After the death of Buddha, Buddhism was divided into two sects, namely Mahayana and Hinayana .
Hinayana follows the original teachings of the Buddha. This teaching emphasizes individual salvation through self-discipline and meditation. This sect of Buddhism believes in the heavenly Buddha and believes in idol worship.
The Mahayana sect has spread from India to several other countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Mangolia. Mahayana believes in mantras.
Its basic principles were based on the possibility of universal liberation from suffering for all beings. That is why this sect is called Mahayana ( Great Guide ). His principles are also based on the existence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who embody Buddha nature.
3. Buddhist monks are followers of itinerant ascetics from early religions
Asceticism is the practice of denying physical or psychological desires in order to achieve a spiritual ideal or goal. The origins of asceticism lie in man’s attempts to achieve various ultimate goals or ideals: the development of the “whole” man, the creative potential of man, ideas, “I”. It is unlikely that any religion would have formed without traces or any signs of asceticism, including Buddhism .
2. The doctrine is widespread in the countries of South, Southeast and East Asia
There are several countries in which there is a very large proportion of followers of Buddhism. The country with the highest proportion of the population is Cambodia . Of the more than 15 million people, more than 13 million – or 96.9% of the total population – are Buddhists. Other countries with a high percentage of Buddhists: Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Mongolia.
Each of the countries listed above has a Buddhist population that makes up at least 55% of the total population. However, these are not the only countries that are home to millions of Buddhists.
Countries with a Buddhist population of at least 10% of the total population: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Macau, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Northern Mariana Islands, Nepal.
1. The main differences from other teachings and beliefs
The key difference between, on the one hand, the original Buddhism, and, on the other hand, all other world religions (Hinduism and the Abrahamic faith of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) is that the central dynamic of religion is the elimination of suffering through the human activity of Awakening, and not human relationship with gods or god .