March 31, 2009
Buddhism and Its Concept
As young prince of the Shakhya clan, Siddhartha Gautama had been raised in his royal
palace, isolated from the outside world. One day, he asked to go beyond the palace gates, into
the real world, where he encountered suffering in the forms of old age, sickness, and death as
well as encountering a wandering ascetic. From this experience, he decided to become a
wandering ascetic, seeking liberation from the world of suffering. He practiced discipline,
starvation, meditation, and studied with various teachers, but he did not accomplish what he
wanted. One day, he came upon a bodhi tree, where he sat down and meditated, determined to
find insight into what he sought. Eventually, he attained enlightenment and discovered the truth
of human existence, had seen his past lives, and found the causes of suffering and rebirth. He
became a Buddha, or “Awakened One” (Eckel, 6).
A widely practiced religion in many parts of Asia, Buddhism makes its mark on the lives
of practicing believers with concepts that include the world and its purpose, suffering and its
cause, and enlightenment and its benefit. Once Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened, he
wandered and taught about his awakening and his concept of the world, until his very last
breath. His teaching spread all throughout Asia. These concepts bring an insight into the world
of a Buddhist. They demonstrate the beliefs, and the view of the world of practicing believers. It
also demonstrates their ethics, their moral guidelines, their view on the afterlife, and their
compassion for others.
Buddhists believe that the world consists of a cycle of death and rebirth called samsara.
Everyone experiences the cycle of death and rebirth, and every state of rebirth, or reincarnation,