Buddhism: Part 1 Insights



About Buddhism

  • Buddhism is one of the most prevelant religions of South and South-Eastern Asian countries.
  • It originated in India over 2,600 years ago when Gautama Buddha gained enlightenment and spread his teachings.
  • Currently it is the world’s fourth-largest religion and has over 520 million followers i.e., about seven percent of the global population.
  • Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices that are largely based on the Buddha’s teachings and their resulting interpreted philosophies.

The history of Gautama Buddha

  • Gautama Buddha, born as Siddhartha was the son of Śuddhodana and Maya Devi who were the rulers of Sakya republic.
  • Siddhartha married Yashodhara and had a son Rahula.
  • It is believed that as a Prince Siddhartha did not see any misery in his early years.
  • One day he saw four sights which shook his world view, which were an old man, a man suffering from disease, a dead man, and finally an ascetic.
  • Seeing these Siddhartha left the house in an event known as Mahabhinishkramana or the great renunciation.
  • He searched for a way out of this misery and attained Bodhi (enlightenment) under a pipal tree at Bodhgaya, a village in Bihar.
  • He gave his first sermon in the village of Sarnath, near the city of Benares in UP.
  • The event of first sermon is known as Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana or turning of the wheel of law.
  • He died at the age of 80 in 483 BCE at a place called Kushinagara a town in UP.
  • The death of Buddha is called Mahaparinibbana or Final Nirvana.

The four truths of Buddhism:

Buddha after attaining enlightenment declared the four noble truths which were

  1. Dukkha: – the world is full of sorrow
  2. Dukkha Samuddaya: – Desire is the cause of sorrow
  3. Dukkha Nirodha: – there is an ecape from sorrow
  4. Atthanga Magga: -the eight-fold path leading to the cessation of sorrow
Atthanga Magga

Buddha believed that one can attain salvation or moksha through following the Atthanga Magga or eight-fold path.

The eight fold path contains:

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right mindfulness
  7. Right effort
  8. Right concentration

Other tenets of Buddhism:

  • Buddhism does not recognise the existence of soul hence it follows the idea of anatta.
  • However, Buddhism believes in the existence of karma and believes that desire is the reason for creation of karma.
  • Buddhism also believes in impermanence or anicca which says that all existence is transient, evanescent, inconstant. Hence says that attachment to material properties is not worthwhile.
  • Anicca, along with anatta and dukkha forms the trilakshana or three marks of existence in Buddhism.