The Beginners Guide to Buddhism

The Beginners Guide to Buddhism

Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world and has over 500 million practitioners worldwide.

Said to be started by Buddha himself, Buddhism is a spiritual tradition founded over 2,000 years ago. In Nepal, a young man sat beneath a Bodhi tree to meditate and after becoming enlightened he began to lay down the foundations of this ancient spiritual tradition.

What Does ‘Buddha’ Mean?

In Sanskrit – the classical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism – the word buddha means ‘The Awakened One’.

When hearing the word ‘buddha’ we often think of the man whose teachings became the core of Buddhism, but it’s important to remember that while Buddha was central to the spiritual tradition, he wasn’t the only Buddha.

A buddha is someone who has the ability to see the world unclouded by bias or judgment and in certain branches of Buddhism it is believed that anyone can become a buddha.

Is Buddhism a Monotheistic Religion?

Buddhism cannot be defined as a monotheistic religion as monotheism refers to the belief in the existence of only one god and creator, such as Christianity.

Buddhism can neither be defined as Polytheistic as this refers to the belief in the existence of many gods and deities, such as Hinduism.

Buddhism is rather defined as a Nontheistic religion as the Buddhism has no official god or deity. Practitioners of Buddhism do not worship Buddha, but rather subscribe to a system of beliefs and practises – much like avid fans of online slots Canada.

The Various Types of Buddhism

As every practitioner is entitled to interpret the teachings in their own way, over time these interpretations become various branches of Buddhism which attracted followers from around the world.

The oldest and most prominent branches of Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayan, but there are many schools of thought within Buddhism including the following:

  • Vajrayana Buddhism
  • Zen Buddhism
  • Thai Forest Buddhism
  • Pure Land Buddhism
  • Nichiren Buddhism

The Four Noble Truths

There may be various branches of Buddhism, but all include the core tenets established by Siddhārtha Gautama, the first Buddha.

There are two essential teachings passed down by the Buddha himself which all Buddhists around the world follow: The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths are as follows:

  1. Human existence is suffering
  2. The cause of suffering is craving
  3. The end of craving puts end to suffering
  4. There is a path to follow in order to end suffering

The Noble Eightfold Path

  1. Right understanding is the full understanding of the Four Noble Truths.
  2. Right thought is practising selflessness and loving kindness in your thoughts.
  3. Right speech is speaking without blame, lies, or hatred.
  4. Right action is abstaining from sexual misconduct, theft, and murder.
  5. Right livelihood is participating in work that is fulfilling and helps others.
  6. Right mindfulness is observing the patterns of your mind, body, and the world around you without judgement,
  7. Right concentration is the regular practice of meditation.
  8. Right effort is consistently practising the Noble Eightfold Path.
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