The Ins and Outs of Buddhism

The way of life taught by the Buddha is referred to as Buddhism. It is a well-known religion founded in 520 BCE in the northeastern part of India. An Indian prince by the name of Siddharta Gautama is credited with founding the religion. He is also referred to as “the Buddha.” There is an estimated 360 million people said to follow Buddhism, which is considered the fourth largest religion in the world with the bulk of followers residing in Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, and China.


Buddhism is divided into three different categories: Theravada (seen as the “Way of the Elders”); Mahayana (referred to as “the Greater Vehicle”) and Vajrayana. Under these categories, you will find a variety of sects, such as Tendai Buddhism, as well as Zen Buddhism.


Some of the basic tidbits of information that you should know when studying Buddhism deals with the sacred texts that are used, as well as certain places where rituals are held. The main scared text used within the religion of Buddhism is called the Pali Canon, also referred to as Tripitaka. There are also various Mahayana sutras taken into consideration. As with the Tripitaka, it is written in the original language of the religion, which is Pali. Where other belief systems look towards a priest or a reverend, the spiritual leaders of this religion are referred to as monks. Throughout Tibetan Buddhism, their spiritual leader is referred to as a lama. Rituals are held in either a temple or a meditation hall. When it comes to the theism of the religion, you will find that it varies. Following the Theravada way, it is an atheistic path that you will be guided upon. Mahayana deals with a more polytheistic outlook on the religion.


When it comes to the beliefs of the religion, you will encounter some variations, depending on which sect you are dealing with. Buddhists believe that nothing is permanent. In terms of human nature, they feel that there is no such thing as a self or a soul. They follow five basic components, which deal with the existence of humans, which is referred to as the khandas. As for the afterlife, Buddhists believe in rebirth or nirvana. In regards to nirvana, it is viewed in two different ways. For some, it means an end to all suffering, while others find a paradise filled with heavenly rewards.


Some spend their entire life searching for the purpose of it. In regards to Buddhism, there are varying explanations, depending on sect. For those following the Theravada belief system, the purpose of life is to attain nirvana and become an arhat, which is the term used to refer to one who has attained nirvana. This process means that you have relieved yourself from the cycle of rebirth. Those following the Mahayana way of life, strive to become what is called a boddhistava. A boddhistava is one who will become a Buddha in the future, but has decided to hold off on this honor so that they may aid others in attaining enlightenment.


Celebrations are an important part of a culture, as well as a religion. Within the Buddhist culture, holidays differ by which region you reside in. The most popular and frequent holidays related to this religion includes the birth of Buddha, the celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment, as well as various lunar quarters.