Buddhism and the Middle Way to Nirvana

Buddhism and the Middle Way to Nirvana

Originating in India two thousand years ago, Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions. With approximately four hundred seventy million Buddhists, it is also one of the largest religions in the world. 

Contribution of Buddhism to The World Culture (2 Volumes with CD) (Papers presented at the International Conference on Contribution of Buddhism to the World Culture)

Buddhism first began with Siddhartha Gautama, who is considered to be its founder. A former prince who evolved into a spiritual leader, he was born Siddhartha Gautama and died Gautama Buddha or Lord Buddha, which means “enlightened”. His revelations and teachings became the very foundation of Buddhism. After his death, Buddha’s followers continued to spread his teachings and developed a religious movement that would spread throughout the world, especially across East and Southeast Asia. A great turning point came when, in the third century BCE, the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great established Buddhism as India’s state religion. This paved the way for monasteries to be built across the nation and encouraged missionary work for the teachings of Buddhism to be further proclaimed.

 

The Way to Nirvana (Six Lectures on Ancient Budhism as a Discipline of Salvation)

From Buddha’s own life experience of being born a prince and then denying all luxuries and living the life of an ascetic, he deduced that neither extreme is the ideal path. From this, he concluded that what he calls the Middle Way is the life that one should strive for. 

Among the central tenets of Buddhism is Samsara, which refers to the belief that human life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth. Souls are reborn or reincarnated in different forms and the way in which one lives his or her life dictates the form that his or her soul will take in the next life. This belief is associated with the principle of karma and the either positive impact or negative consequences that one’s good and bad actions have on their future lives. One can be free from this endless cycle of suffering and rebirth when one achieves nirvana. A person can achieve nirvana through regular meditation, both spiritual and physical labor, and, of course, through good behavior and acts of kindness. Meditation is very important for all Buddhists because they understand that meditation awakens the truth within them.

Large Tibetan Buddha Teaching of Dharma

Buddhist do not believe and worship any god or deity. In fact, it is said that before Buddha died, he told his followers that they should not follow any leader or god. Instead, they should “be your own light.” Buddha’s teachings are referred to as dharma. In order to be one’s own light, included in his dharma is a basic doctrine in Buddhism that all followers believe, which is the Four Noble Truths.

The first noble truth is dukkha, which recognizes the existence of suffering. The causes of these sufferings include human cravings and attachments, which are referred to as trishna. This leads to the next noble truth, which is samudaya. Samudaya refers to the origins of suffering and declares that suffering also comes from desire or tanha. The third noble truth is nirodha, which signifies the end of suffering. Nirodha proclaims that suffering can come to an end and that one can achieve enlightenment. The fourth and last noble truth is magga. According to magga, the path to the end of suffering is the Middle Way, which leads one towards enlightenment.

 

Path to the Middle (Oral Madhyamika Philosophy in Tibet)

Alongside the Four Noble Truths, Buddha teaches his followers that one can end suffering and reach nirvana through enlightenment by following the Eightfold Path. This Eightfold Path encompasses just ideals, moral conduct, mental virtues and wisdom. The principles of the Eightfold Path include: (1) Samma ditthi or right understanding, (2) Samma sankappa or right thought, (3) Samma vaca or right speech, (4) Samma kammanta or right action, (5) Samma ajiva or right livelihood, (6) Samma vavama or right effort, (7) Samma Sati or right mindfulness, and lastly (8) Samma samadhi or right concentration.

36" x 52" Goddess Green Tara - Tibetan Buddhist | Handmade

Through Buddha’s dharma, among the vital virtues in life that he imparted are wisdom, patience, kindness, compassion, and generosity, to name a few. In addition to the Eightfold Path, Buddhists also abide by five moral tenets. These five morals forbid Buddhists from killing living things, taking something that is not given to them, performing any sexual misconduct or unchaste acts, lying, and consuming alcohol and drugs.

Tibetan Buddhist Vishva-Vajra (Double Dorje)

Like many religions, Buddhism includes many sacred texts and scriptures which devotees refer to. Among the most important sacred texts in Buddhism are the Tipitaka, the Sutras, and the Book of the Dead. The Tipitaka, known as the three baskets, is believed to be the oldest collection of Buddhist scriptures and contains the canons of Buddhism. The Sutras, on the other hand, impart sacred teachings to Buddhists, and the Book of the Dead features Tibetan text that detail the different stages of death.

The Buddhist Dead (Practices, Discources, Representations)

With Buddhism being among the largest religions in the world, there are different forms of the religion that Buddhists follow and practice. Of these forms, the three primary Buddhist sects or schools of Buddhism include: Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Mahayana Buddhist Meditation (Theory and Practice)

Aside from Buddha himself, perhaps the most recognized global figure of Buddhism is the Dalai Lama. He is the head and leading monk of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is believed to be the fourteenth reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, who is continuously reborn in order to help humanity.

बौद्ध धर्म परम्परा और साहित्य- Buddhism Tradition and Literature

Unlike other religious denominations that have innumerable scared symbols, icons, and religious figures, Buddhism doesn’t have a single god or a single symbol that worshipers revere and pray to. However, there are a few symbols which have evolved and have become associated with or represent Buddhist practices and beliefs. These include the lotus flower, the dharma wheel, the swastika, which is an ancient symbol that signifies good fortune, and the Bodhi tree, under which it is believed Buddha gained enlightenment.

 

21" Gautam Buddha Preaching His Dharma | Brass Buddha | Brass Statue | Handmade | Made In India

Thousands of years later, Buddha’s dharma continues to endure and continues to be significant and have influence on all humanity. The principles and teachings of Buddhism are a spiritual and moral guide not only for millions of Buddhists all over the world, but also for non-Buddhists who live their lives in pursuit of enlightenment and nirvana.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *