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What is Buddhism? Essay Sample

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What is Buddhism? Essay Sample

According to the reading and additional research “Buddhism” was founded by a royal prince Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) “Awakened” or “Enlightened One” in 624 century before the birth of Christ in what is now part of Nepal. Some would say that Buddhism is better understood as an ethic and philosophy rather than a religion and follows concepts from meditation to The Four Nobel Truths and The Eightfold Noble Path. In all his eighty-four thousand teachings, Buddha Shakyamuni’s objective was to lead people to permanent freedom from suffering. He understood that temporary liberation from misery and hardship was not enough, he wanted to motivate by love and compassion; he wanted to help people find everlasting peace or nirvana. 1. The Question of Origin: In the eyes of a Buddhist, the world as a whole and the life contained in it is believed to have no beginning or end. “There is no reason to support that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thought.” (Russel, 1924) Creation occurs continually throughout time.

2. The Question of Identity: The Buddhist followers believe that they are an impermanent collection of aggregates, for their personal existence continues even after our human form is gone. “The Buddhist claim that the mind is different from the physical body, and that the mind continues to exist even after the physical body has died. As long as this mind continues to exist, then there is a continuation of embodiments. So the Buddhist’s aim is for no more mind because when there is no more mind, then there will be no physical body. And since there is nothing other than the mind covered by the physical body-no atman within or covered by the mind-that leaves nothing.” (http://www.siddhaswarupananda.net) 3. The Question of Meaning/Purpose: The Buddhist believes that anguish and misery is real, it is not a misconception. This is one of the reasons man is imprisoned in the cycle of reincarnation.

The purpose is to “eliminate suffering by eliminating desire or craving that which is temporary.” (Weider & Gutierrez, 60) This can be accomplished by following The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path, which lead to a state of total peace and nirvana. The Buddhist people believe we suffer because we strive to hold on to things we cannot change which will not give us lasting happiness in the end. 4. The Question of Morality: Morality is a center piece that is directly woven into the Buddhist teachings. In the book The Eightfold Nobel Path, The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi it states that “The way to liberate oneself from suffering is by eliminating all desire.” These teachings connect to morality through the concepts of the right intentions, right effort, right speech, right action, and right livelihood. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html) 5. The Question of Destiny: The Buddhist People did not believe that their destiny was controlled by the Creator God but instead affirmed in a life force or energy power.

Their own spiritual path, action and decisions they make for themselves will determine what kind of karma they will have. When human life goes through the cycle of reincarnation, it is karma that determines who we become when we are reborn. Part II: Compare and Contrast of Buddhism with a Biblical Christian Worldview. 1. The Question of Origin: The Christian worldview differs significantly from the Buddhist worldview of origin. The Christian religion believes that everything in the world that is present was created in six days by God. This is directly supported in the Bible where it states “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). On the other hand, the Buddhist believe the world and life contained in it have no beginning or end. They do not believe in God or a supernatural power. 2. The Question of Identity: Christians trust that God created man, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV)

Whereas Buddhism stresses the causal relationship underlying the universe which represents natural order and source of enlightenment. 3. The Question of Meaning/Purpose: The most important Christians duty in life is to build a resilient bond with God. John 17:3 offers a simple explanation to our main purpose in life and that is to serve God and be strong in our own faith at all times in one’s life. If God comes first in your life, everything else will fall into place as long as you place all your trust in his holiness. (Matthew 6:24) In the Buddhist faith they do not worship or believe in God, they have confidence in that their purpose in life is to eliminate suffering and halt the cycle of reincarnation. 4. The Question of Morality: This is a topic where Christians and Buddhists mostly agree. The Christians call it the “golden rule” so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12) Christians do hold a great deal of the same morals as Buddhists such as the Eightfold Noble Path and the Five Precepts.

Both Christians and Buddhist worldviews are molded by their strong believes and moral codes. 5. The Question of Destiny: Christian’s believe this will happen after death. Looking at it from a Biblical standpoint there are two eternal states as to where a person will end up: Heaven or Hell for all eternity (Revelation 20:11-15 and 21:1-7). As Christians who follow the word of God our Savior; our ultimate goal is to forever reside with God and have eternal life with him (John 17:3). Buddhist do not believe that their destiny is controlled by God nor predetermined nor by accident. Nevertheless, the Buddha did say that Karma is a main principle of our present life. Or to a certain extent, we may say that it is Karma that determines our life or our destiny.


“Bible Gateway.” BibleGateway.com: A Searchable Online Bible in over 100 Versions and 50 Languages. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.

Bodhi, Bhikkhu. “The Noble Eightfold Path The Way to the End of Suffering.” The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering. 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html

Guru, Jagad. “”Brain and Mind Connection”” Http://www.siddhaswarupananda.net/. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. .

Hindson, Edward E., and Ergun Mehmet.Caner. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Eugene, OR.: Harvest House, 2008. Print.

Weider, Lew, and Ben Gutierrez. Consider. Virginia Beach: Academx Services,
VA. Print

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