Theravada Buddhism Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Category: Buddhism

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Buddhism began in India as a revolt against Hinduism. The origin of the religion is described in the article Buddha. Buddha himself did not leave any writings, and his teachings were not written down until several hundred years after his death (Conze,2002). Like Christianity and Islam, Buddhism is a missionary religion. With 300 years after Buddhas death, it had spread throughout India and reached Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Monks and travelers carried it to other parts of Asia. Japan adopted it about the seventh century A. D. About the same time the religion reached Tibet.

Here it was combined with native religions and developed into Lamaism (see Buddhism. Grolier Encyclopedia of knowledge, pp. 234-238). Buddhism According to Buddhism, liberation is attained through understanding and practice of the Four Noble Truths: There is suffering in life. Suffering is caused by desire for pleasure, existence, and prosperity. Suffering and rebirth cease when one ceases such desires, leading to enlightenment, or Nirvana, a blessed state in which peace, harmony, and joy are attained. The way, or path, to Nirvana is the Eightfold Path, summarized as:

The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle Way”because of its emphasis on avoiding such extremes as following sensuous pleasures on the one hand, and self-punishment on the other. The Buddhist must at all times observe the high moral principles described in the Eightfold path, which emphasizes nonviolence and the brotherhood of all. Perhaps the best-known Buddhist scriptures are the Tripitaka (Three Baskets), first written down in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in authoritative edition was prepared by the Sixth Buddhist Council at Rangoon, Burma, in 1954-56. The three Pitakas are about four times as long as the Bible (see Buddhism.

New Standard Encyclopedia, pp. 484-486). The name Theravada means the way of the elders. It is an austere religion that requires solitude, meditation, and self-mastery through which each member hopes to achieve Nirvana. Because of these requirements, the possibility of liberation is limited to a few. Many of its followers are monks and nuns who spend most of their time in meditation and teaching. Theravada Buddhism is sometimes called Hinayana Buddhism, Hinayana meaning small vehicle, but this term is not accepted by followers of the religion (see Buddhism.

New Standard Encyclopedia, pp. 484-486). Mahayana Buddhism Mahayana means large vehicle. It is a less austere system than Theravada Buddhism and emphasizes liberation for everyone. Many Mahayana Buddhists believe in liberation through good faith and good works. Their object is not only to obtain a personal Nirvana, but to help others to that goal. The Mahayana branch has developed a system of ideal Buddhas, or enlightened ones. The most important Buddha is the Amitaba, or Amida, Buddha, to whom members can appeal for deliverance.

Some Mahana Buddhists also believe in a goddess, a symbol of compassion, who is called Kwan Yin in China and Kwannon in Japan (see Buddhism. New Standard Encyclopedia, pp. 484-486). III. Conclusion In conclusion, Jehovah Witnesses are Christians who claim to be the only people of God who deserve to be saved. Their teachings are already spread world widely through their great endeavors. They base their beliefs on the Biblical perspectives but interpret it without the guidance of the Holy Spirit who is the best teacher and was sent by Jesus Christ to teach us.

On the other hand, many hundreds of texts make up the sacred texts of Buddhism. The many different Buddhist groups follow their own sets of scriptures. Some texts are said to be accounts of the Buddhas teachings. Others are works by great Buddhist monks and teachers. The sacred texts of the Theravada Buddhists are collected together in the Tripitaka, or Pali Canon. Mahayana Buddhists have their own sacred texts called sutras.


Buddhism. New Standard Encyclopedia, pp. 484-486. Buddhism. Grolier Encyclopedia of knowledge, pp. 234-238. Conze, Edward. A Short History of Buddhism (Allen & Unwin, 2002).

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