Influence of Buddhism
“The secret of health, both mind, and body, is not to mourn for the past, nor worry about the future, but to live the present moment both wisely and earnestly.” This idea, and others similar concepts like it, are those given by Siddhartha Gautama, eventually known as Buddha, and are the basis for the religion known as Buddhism. Buddhism, a religion founded in Nepal, a country in Asia, is now practiced and observed all over the world.
Buddhism was founded in the late 6th century B.C.E. and is an important religion in most countries in Asia. Buddhism has retained many different forms, but in each, there has been an attempt to use life experiences of Buddha, his teachings, and the spirit or essence of his teachings as models for the religious life. Buddhism originated from Siddhartha Gautama, who is the historical Buddha, and who was born in present-day Nepal during the 5th century BCE. Instead of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama was the founder of some of the sects of the religious nomads, and many of the sects that existed at that time all over India. This sect was known as Sangha to distinguish it from other similar nomadic sects.
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The religious nomad, Siddhartha Gautama, lived during a time of a cornucopia of social changes in India. In India the primary religion’s main authority ,the Vedic religion, had been challenged by a number of new religious with different philosophical views. Buddhism had been developed by a nomadic society, it was developed about a millennium before the time of Siddhartha, and it gradually gained recognition over most of north India, especially in the Gangetic plain.
However, things were different in the 5th BCE, as society was no longer nomadic and settlements had replaced the old nomad tribes, which turned into towns and finally into cities. In this new urbanized system, a considerable sector of Indian society was no longer satisfied with the old Vedic faith. Siddhartha Gautama was one of the many critics of the religious establishment.
Once Siddhartha Gautama had passed away, the community he founded slowly evolved into a religious movement and the teachings he professed became the new basis of Buddhism. In addition, evidence suggests that Buddhism had a humble beginning and apparently, it was a tradition in India. Scholars have proposed that the impact of Buddha in his own day, was very limited due to the limited amount of written documents and archaeological evidence from that time.
Buddhism began to spread southwards from its original location, in Northern India to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China and other Southeast Asian countries. It also moved Northwards through Kashmir Afghanistan along the Silk road’, afterwards buddhism had spread into the Himalayan kingdoms (Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal), Tibet, Mongolia, some other parts of Central Asia, and also into China, and later Korea and Japan.
This was a fortunate development because Buddhism had all but died out in India after the Muslim incursions of the eleventh Century CE. In more modern times, the spread of Communism has also virtually obliterated Buddhism from various other countries where it was once strongly established. There has been a recent resurgence of Buddhism in these countries. However, nowadays, Buddhism is getting an increased amount of following in Europe and the Americas. In Asia, it is thriving in countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea and Japan
During the last decades, Buddhism has also gained a significant presence outside Asia. With followers estimated to be more than 400 million people, Buddhism has expanded worldwide, and it is no longer limited to india and small sects. In the past centuries, this tradition has been a powerful force in Asia, and has touched nearly every aspect of the eastern world including arts, morals, lore, mythology, and social institutions. Today, Buddhism influences these same areas outside of Asia. Buddhism has also became popular in India and has meshed with the existing religious traditions known as Jainism, and different forms of Hinduism. Jainism and Hinduism have been well-established in India from early on.
Buddhism’s core beliefs are based on what are known as the Four Noble Truths. Buddhism is famed for its four truths, they are called noble because these truths liberate us from our suffering. The truths are a four step path that must be followed by those who follow Buddhism. These truths are the basics in teaching Buddhism, encompassing the entire Buddhist path. However, it’s that paying attention and seeing clearly that lead to behaving impeccably in every moment, out of love, and on behalf of all living beings.
The Buddha laid out a four-step path to freedom from difficult emotions. The First Noble Truth is that Life always involves suffering, in obvious and subtle forms. Even when things seem good, we always feel an undercurrent of anxiety and uncertainty inside. The second truth is that The cause of suffering is craving and fundamental ignorance. We suffer because of our mistaken belief that we are a separate, independent, solid “I.” The painful and futile struggle to maintain this delusion of ego is known as samsara, or cyclic existence.
The third truth is that The good news is that our obscurations are temporary. They are like passing clouds that obscure the sun of our enlightened nature, which is always present. And finally the fourth truth is that By living ethically, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom, we can take exactly the same journey to enlightenment and freedom from suffering that the buddhas do. We too can wake up.
Buddhism incorporates a variety of rituals and practices, which are intended to aid in the journey to enlightenment and bring blessings on oneself and others. While some activities are unique to certain expressions of Buddhism, there are others that are found in most of the popular forms of the belief system.In addition to meditation, the Mahayana schools of Buddhism have developed a variety of other ritual and devotional practices, many of which were inspired or influenced by the existing religious cultures of India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Tibet.
The history of Buddhism spans from the 5th century B.C.E. to the present. Buddhism arose in the eastern part of Ancient India, in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today.
The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent through Central, East, and Southeast Asia. At one time or another, it influenced most of the Asian continent. The history of Buddhism is also characterized by the development of numerous movements, schisms, and schools, among them the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, with contrasting periods of expansion and retreat.
Buddhism was able to spread extremely far, even though there was no real organized movement to spread the religion. As the centuries passed, Buddhism spread to Southeast Asia, from Central Asia to China, to East Asia, and eventually, to Tibet. With the absence of a formal movement, Buddhism spread in a more natural way. Locals would be interested in foreign merchant’s Buddhist beliefs. Also, sometimes the rulers would adopt Buddhism to help bring ethics and good behavior to their people. Very importantly, no one was forced to convert to Buddhism. Yet, by making Buddha’s message known, people were able to choose what was of value to them.
After spreading across the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism spread across Asia. The Buddhist religion spread quickly as people were able to adapt Buddhist methods and styles to fit their local attitudes and customs, without losing the essential wisdom and compassion. Unlike other religions, Buddhism never had a hierarchy of authority, with a supreme head. Instead, countries were able to develop their own religious structure and their own spiritual head. Today, the Dalai Lama of Tibet is the most well-known and internationally respected leaders of the Buddhist religion.
One of the most appealing aspects of Buddhism is its peaceful spread across the lands. This expansion occurred in several ways. The precedent was set by Shakyamuni Buddha, a traveling teacher, who would share his insights with all who were interested in nearby kingdoms. He would instruct other monks to also spread his teachings. Never was anyone asked to give up their own religion and convert to a new one. He was not interested in starting his own religion. Buddha was merely trying to help others overcome the unhappiness and suffering that they were creating for themselves, due to their lack of understanding of reality. Generations of followers shared with others the methods within his teachings that they found useful in their lives. This is how Buddhism was able to appeal to so many and spread so far.
Across history,, the spread of Buddhism has been very natural. For example, when Buddhist merchants arrived in new lands, many of the people living in the area would have an interest in these foreigners’ beliefs. Many of the people in the oasis states along the Silk Route in Central Asia became interested in Buddhism just this way, during the two centuries before and after the common era.
As local rulers and their people learned more about Buddhism, they became interested. They invited monks from the merchants’ homelands as advisors or teachers, and eventually, many adopted the Buddhist faith. And finally, another natural way that Buddhism was spread was through cultural assimilation of a conquering people, such as the Greeks into the Buddhist society of Gandhara in present-day central Pakistan, during the centuries following the 2nd century BCE.
This religion has affected the world and has evolved around the world. This religion has over half a million followers and makes up about seven percent of the population of the world. With this religion expanding so rapidly, the people in it are making a major influence in the world.
The influence of Buddha on world history can hardly be overestimated. His teachings and organization influenced religion and philosophy in China, and it reached as far as Japan. It impacted art, culture and architecture in Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, which is the better part of Southern Asia . There’s no denying that Buddhism itself changed in each of these places. In fact, Buddhism has been hailed as one of the most adaptable religions. It changes with every place it lands. Who knows how it will change in the West, and how we will be changed by it.