Beginner’s Guide To Buddhism

Buddhism is one of the ancient religions and has more than 500 million followers all across the world. The exact definition of Buddhism is still a mystery as in different regions, it has different and countless definitions. Even though it has countless definitions but there is a core set of values which keeps the beliefs intact. Around 2000 years back, Buddhism came into existence when Gautama Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree for meditation. Ancient Nepal is witness to the greatness of Buddha and his enlightenment.

What Do You Mean By “Buddha”?

The founder of Buddhism is known as Buddha. In Sanskrit, Buddha means the awakened one. Depending on this, not only the first man but every man who reaches enlightenment is known as Buddha. Any person who reaches the highest echelon of life can call themselves Buddha. These Buddhists see the world without putting the filters on. They see every living being as one and equal to each other. They don’t look at other people from the point of view of an average person. The point from where they operate is unknown to all the average people.

Is There A God In Buddhism?

No, there isn’t a god in Buddhism, nor polytheistic nor monotheistic. This is the reason why Buddhism is considered a religion or to be precise, a spiritual tradition. As there is no god, so the teachings of Buddhism came into existence through a Nepalese man. This man belonged to the 5th century BC and was known as Siddhartha Gautama who later on became Gautama Buddha, the first Buddha. The goal of Siddhartha’s life was to diminish the pain and sufferings of humanity. He wanted to eliminate violence and personal sufferings from the lives of the human. He devoted his life to mankind and spent his time studying, meditating and learning from sages and gurus. Siddhartha Gautama sat under the Bodhi tree to meditate and discover his path of enlightenment.

Theories and studies state that Siddhartha meditated for 49 days and then he stood up as a new enlightened and awakened person. It was no more Siddhartha Gautama but Gautama Buddha. From then, he started sharing his learning with others. His teachings turned out to be the basic structure of Buddhism. In this process, Buddhism came into existence as a religion.

Branches Of Buddhism

Buddhism is an enormous source of thoughts and beliefs. These thoughts and beliefs have spread out into branches or schools. There are two types of schools, the Hinayana Schools and the Theravada Schools. The Hinayana was developed by the Mahayana Buddhists depending on the ancient teachings of Buddha. Even though all the branches of Buddhism depend on the core values of the religion but still there are some minor differences. The branches are:

  • Zen
  • Vajrayana
  • Pure Land
  • Thai Forest Tradition
  • Nichiren
  • Theravada
  • Mahayana

Among the above-mentioned branches of Buddhism, the Theravada and Mahayana are the most popular branches of Buddhism. Understanding these branches may take years of studying but once you get through any of them, you will no longer be an average person anymore.

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