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buddhism and buddha

Updated on October 25, 2011


The code of conduct is referred to as the eight fold path, perhaps loosely akin to the ten commandments, but differing in that they focus more on specifying elements of life style and courses of action, rather than specifying taboos to abstain from.

A core practice of Buddhism is meditation. It’s believed by meditation, regardless of the schools technique, that one can see the evidence to support the tenants of the eight fold path, which all stem from the core concept of right action. Meditation itself is the prior tenant of right knowledge/perception.

What is sought in Buddhism is liberation. They seek liberation from the cycle of attachment, and pain in life. Where the different schools disagree is not their goal, but the ideas of how it may be achieved. They embrace multiple meditation styles, favouring different views of meditation based on the doctrines of their religion. But one key element that distinguished Buddhism from the big three (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), is they have no doctrine of an adversary, and seek to spread their teachings of liberation only as an act of compassion for humanity in general.

Buddhism does have a doctrine of reincarnation, and schools differ in their exact interpretation of what reincarnation is. Some seeing it as almost a form of inheritance, and not the return of a soul formerly inhabiting the earth.

Unlike is commonly believed, the greater number of Buddhist schools do not espouse a concept of the Buddha as deity. Though Gautama is the “primary” Buddha they have more, and even see some divinities of earlier faiths as proper symbols for liberation, like the goddess Kwan-Yin. Buddha isn’t a name, it’s a title, and one that the Buddha didn’t refer to himself by. Evidence suggests that the Buddha was perhaps heavily influenced by Jain asceticism early in his search for liberation, and he did voice criticisms of the Vedic practices though not in any abolitionist sense.

Buddhism in general is marked by an abstinence from political agenda. Even the Chinese boxer rebellion was more of a civil rights movement than any attempt by Buddhists to either thwart government or replace it with their faith. The monastic life is not an edict of the Buddha, nor did he establish any priesthood. His followers did seek to preserve and propagate his teachings in a belief in their worth in helping people find the same liberation the Buddha did. Buddha taught outdoors, in nature. Like Jain ascetics, he did have an aversion to temples and idolatry.

Pictures show him as fat, maybe he liked to eat a lot? Actually, those are a Chinese depiction. Indian depictions of the Buddha show him as slim, and even the Chinese depiction isn’t meant in a literal sense. A classic Chinese greeting roughly translates to the question “have you eaten?”. They depict the Buddha as fat to show he was content. He had freed himself from immersion in desire and suffering.

Buddhism has no good or evil, and they do not clash? It has concepts of right and wrong, but most schools of Buddhist thinking shy away from metaphysical explanations for morality.

Do they think that wrong, or bad, or dark is just a lack of light? The Buddha saw reacting to wrong as people commonly do, as merely perpetuating the cycle of suffering. Doing wrong was seen as a reaction to ideas that he sought to show we could liberate ourselves from. Much wrong has been, and is still being done in the name of “righteousness”.

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