Buddha means the enlightened one and Buddhism is based on Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha’s teachings. In today’s world Buddhism has established itself as a major religion having a great impact on the thoughts and trends of today’s population. Buddhism has been known to have originated from the dominant Brahman traditions though there are quite a few variations as some of significant facets of the Hindu philosophy were rejected by Buddha. Hindu philosophies like inclusion of only higher caste, priesthood based authority, importance of Vedic scriptures and sacrificial cults were rejected and challenged by Buddha.
Like many major religion/ faith Buddhism has been developed over the years with the then government and popular disciples of the religion/ faith paving the path for the development. Though much is not known about Lord Buddha however 530 BC is generally agreed as his birth year. The story of Siddhartha Gautama’s astounding and thought inspiring transformation to Buddha is a very popular one that inspires many to join this religion and follow his teachings. The gist of the story is how the pain of fellow humans and their suffering urged a ruler’s son to leave the life of luxury and his family to find a path of enlightenment in hopes of alleviating the suffering of others.
Buddha’s teachings were all oral with no written scriptures. His teaches were spread and passed on by his disciples so their views on Buddha’s teachings can also be seen. The enlightenment of Buddha mainly consisted of the realization of four vital truths that are
- From birth to death human life is essentially filled with suffering
- The craving and ignorance of the nature of reality is the cause of all the suffering
- Overcoming attachment and ignorance can end suffering
- Right action, right effort, right mindedness and five more such paths will alleviate all you’re suffering.
After the death of Lord Buddha his disciples were left without a successor as Buddha had refused to appoint one thereby urging his disciples to work on their own diligence and salivation. With the evolving world the evolution of Buddhism was hastened with the establishment of institutions and learning centre by his disciples, where the various teaching of Lord Buddha and his extraordinary life were taught.
Expansion from India
Though the imprint of Buddhism cannot be seen in India today, once upon a time it was a dominating religion found in India after Hinduism and Islam. Soon the subcontinent’s north-western part and southern India were spread with the teachings of Lord Buddha by the missionaries dispatched by Ashoka the Great.
Asian expansion of Buddhism
Within no time Buddhism had become a dominating and well-practiced religion in all of Asia. In Asian countries like Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Korea, India, Vietnam etc. the existing and past influence of Buddhism can be see even today quite clearly.
With the increased stress and tensions in today’s world the teachings of Lord Buddha have become a medium of gaining peace and control. Buddhism and its practices have become very popular in the western world with more and more people following Buddha’s teachings.
Buddhism is an ever spreading religion whose teachings can be used and practised by every one in every aspect of their life.