Buddhism has long been an interesting religion to me. The peaceful and relaxing practices lend a hand in calling my name. Since doing a comprehensive study on Buddhism during my school years, I have come to accept its complexity and teachings. Five interesting facts I think you should know in learning more about the religion include:
Original Founder– Siddhartha Gautama is known as the Budda and believed to have lived around “566-480 BC.” (2) He was born into great wealth and status but walked away from it all in the hopes of finding and comprehending the truth of the world. If everything ended in death, what was the purpose of going through the stages of life?
Foundation: The four noble truths are the truth of suffering otherwise known as “Dukkha”, the truth of the cause of suffering otherwise known as “Samudaya, the end of the suffering otherwise known as “Nirhoda” and the truth of the path that frees us from suffering otherwise known as (Magga). While many have argued that these truths leave too much room for interpretation, I believe that the interpretation lies within the individual. There is no one fit for all or what I refer to as a cookie cutter religion. One clear example for me would be not to allow money or greed to dictate your future. It is of little importance beyond paying the necessary expenses of food, shelter and clothing. Beyond that, you are living in wants and not needs.
Enlightenment– The process of clearing your mind of the clutter and socially accepted norms expected of you. Throughout your life, there have been people, places and things that you were expected to understand and follow. With enlightenment these things do not show you the importance of life. They were put on you at birth by what others expect of you and for you.
Meditation– The art of clearing the mind. To sit and think of nothing thereby allowing you to free your mind of the constraints placed on it. You can use this quiet period on a daily basis to reduce stress, to come back to yourself and to let go of the barriers. Ask yourself what is the purpose of your life and have you done what you need to get there. Follow the path that only you can define.
Attainment– Four stages that one goes through Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmī, Anāgāmī and Arahant. During each of the first three stages, one may be born again and again while reaching for the next level of fulfillment. The final stage of Arahant, dictates the final death. One has obtained the highest level awakening. This is found through following the teachings of Budda.
Buddhism is not for the weak minded individual that places a high level of achievement on the material aspects of the world. It is however a great following for those who seek to remove the colors of life and come back down to the basics, finding yourself and knowing that the material items will not bring you closer to understanding the true meaning of life.
So what is the meaning of life? The answer..The meaning lies within you and when you know it, it will only apply to you.