Buddhism is a remarkably liberal major religion predominantly adhered to in eastern Asia and Japan. Most sects of the religion place little or no emphasis on the concept of a god or supernatural creator, they preach peace and wildlife conservation as well as looking after the environment. Buddhists believe in rebirth which is slightly different from reincarnation. Buddhists try to follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. They believe this leads to better rebirths or if the eightfold path is followed really well Buddhists believe we can achieve Nirvana, complete liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Buddhism teaches that compassion towards suffering entities is important and Buddhists believe they have a duty to avoid causing harm to any living being.
There was also a Buddhist prayer for the Tenth anniversary of The September 11, 2001 attacks:
We pray that the people who die will find a good rebirth and we pray that the world leaders gain wisdom. For those who are suffering, we pray that they are swiftly released from their suffering and receive blessings from the Three Jewels. It is very clear that without compassion and wisdom there is no possibility of being released from this kind of tragedy. We should learn how Dharma is the truth. ( Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the Dalai Lama) . It is better than Jerry Falwell blaming Sinful American people for 9/11.
Buddhism was according to Buddhist teachings rediscovered, by the Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama. The Buddha was a prince who lived in Lumbini. He grew up as a Hindu. His parents were very disturbed by a prophecy at the time of his birth. They predicted that he would become a great monarch, or a great religious teacher. So, his parents raised him in a state of luxury, hoping that he would become too attached to Earthly things. This would make him less likely choose a religious life. At the age of 16, he was married to his wife Yasodhara. When he was 29, his wife had a son named Rahula. After his son's birth, Siddhartha took four journeys by chariot. On those journeys he saw suffering. Because of this, he left his wife and son to find a solution to the suffering in the world. Sometime later, he created the middle way, his solution to suffering.
Some Buddhist concepts are very spiritual, but you don't have to believe in some of them if you don't want to. You could still be considered as a Buddhist.
Karma is simple cause and effect. If you perform bad actions, receive bad karma, and bad karma rewards you with some form of suffering. Performing good actions, gives you good karma, and it rewards you with less suffering. Karma also affects your rebirth.
Rebirth is a process that beings go through a succession of lifetimes as one of many possible forms of sentient life, each running from conception to death.
- Naraka beings: these beings live in one of the many narakas, also known as Hell. Whenever their bad karma runs out, they are no longer housed here in they have another chance at life in the human realm or in some other realm.
- Preta: these beings are known as the hungry ghost, they suffer from hunger. They are relieved of this realm when there bad karma is used up.
- Animals: they share space with human, but are considered a different type of life form.
- Human beings: one of the realm of rebirths in which achieving enlightenment is possible.
- Asuras: these beings are demons, or anti gods.
- Devas: gods, deities, angels. Beings who live in this realm have not yet gained enlightenment, they can't stay in this realm forever.
Solutions to Suffering
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are one of the most central teachings in Buddhism.
- Life is suffering
- The origin of suffering is desire.
- To end suffering, end desire.
- To end desire, follow the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path describes the way to end suffering, as it was taught by Siddhartha Gautama.
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
- Devotion- is an important part of practice of most Buddhists.Devotional practices include bowing, offerings, pilgrimage, and chanting.
- Yoga- many Buddhists perform yoga. Yoga is basically meditation.
- To refrain from taking life.
- To refrain from taking what is not given.
- To refrain from performing sexual misconduct.
- To refrain from lying.
- To refrain from using drugs and alcohol.