Buddhism - Halverson

Buddhism - Halverson - Buddhism A Religion Profile from...

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Buddhism A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc. The Period of Enquiry (534-528 B . C .) As a result of his encounter with suffering, Siddhartha left his family—including a wife and child—and his life of luxury. He committed himself to discovering the source of suffering and how to eliminate it. Convicted by the ascetic he had seen, Siddhartha began to practice extreme asceticism. After six years, his body became so weak that he almost drowned while bathing in a river. He realized that extreme asceticism did not produce the enlightenment that he was seeking concerning the source of suffering and how to eliminate it. The Period of Enlightenment (528-483 B . C .) Siddhartha then walked to a city named Bodh Gaya where he sat under a fig tree by the edge of a river. He vowed not to rise again until he had attained enlightenment, and thereupon went into a deep state of meditation. During his meditation, Siddhartha was severely tempted by Mara, the evil one. Siddhartha resisted the temptations, though, and after a period of time (some say one night, others as many as 49 days) he attained enlightenment and became the Buddha,which means “the enlightened one.” (From now on this profile will refer to Siddhartha as Buddha.) Bodh Gaya is now the site of the holiest shrine in the Buddhist world, the Mahabodhi Temple. Buddha called his path to enlightenment the Middle Way, because it avoided the extremes of affluence and asceticism, both of which had caused suffering. Shortly after his enlight- enment, Buddha traveled to Benares, and in the Deer Park he preached his first sermon—the contents of which have come to be known as the Four Noble Truths. Eventually, he won thousands of followers, who formed communities called sanghas . 1 Buddhism: An Overview Number of Adherents It is estimated that there are over 360 million Buddhists in the world, accounting for six percent of the world’s population (Barrett). Buddhism Among the Nations Theravada Buddhism (the distinctions between the major forms of Buddhism will be covered later) exists primarily in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Mahayana Buddhism exists primarily in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Vajrayana Buddhism exists primarily in Bhutan, Mongolia, and Tibet. The Founding of Buddhism Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama during the sixth century B . C . His life (563-483 B . C .) coincides with the time when the people of Judah were exiled in Babylon. Buddha’s life can be divided into three periods: enjoyment, enquiry, and enlightenment. The Period of Enjoyment (563-534 B . C .) Siddhartha Gautama was born into the warrior caste of the Shakya tribe in the town of Kapilavastu, which was at that time northeastern India but is now part of Nepal. Tradition says that Siddhartha’s father sought to shelter his
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Buddhism - Halverson - Buddhism A Religion Profile from...

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