Research Paper: Buddhism I Have Admittedly Led

Pages: 9 (3095 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] '" It is perhaps the fastest growing religion in the world today, earning more and more followers each year who convert from other religions, such as Christianity or Islam.

In this period many people were living unhappily because of their low social class and Buddhism helped people who felt stuck in their problems and also helped them escape the sadness that they suffered. One of the other beliefs associated with Buddhism which made people more inclined to take part in it was the belief that humans are reborn after dying. Karma is the force which determines samsara, which is the cycle of rebirth (Harvey 1990,-page 40). In this life, they should do good things so that the person could have a better life after they are reborn, a process called sila; people who do bad things are reborn as lower beings while those who do good deeds are reborn as higher life forms (Manishini 2013). In countries like India and Vietnam where there is such a large number of people living in filth and poverty, the idea of reincarnation determined by virtue was one which was very appealing. By living a good life and concentrating on enlightenment and good works, a person could ensure that their next life would have far less hardship. Conversely, for people who were already wealthy, being a part of Buddhist culture showed them that if they continued on the wrong path, which would be focusing on things such as person greed and avarice for power or property, then they were dooming themselves to become a lower being, which would then lead them to better choices. Buddhism encourages people to have a peaceful life by focusing on meditation and inner peace. Buddhism can change and awaken one's mind so that the person chooses a better way of life.

Those who practice Buddhism practice a type of prayer which is called meditation. It is an important skill that every follower needs to know how to do; meditation helps people calm their minds and allows the believers to feel peace and freedom from desires (Buddhist 2013). There are two distinct types of meditation: tranquility meditation (samatha) and insight meditation (vipassana). Samatha meditation is designed to still the mind and train it to concentrate. The person meditates on a kammatthana which is an object which matters more symbolically that actually. It can be a color, a phrase, a memory, or an emotion. The purpose of giving focus to the object is to detach from the external world to achieve a state of joy and tranquility in the consciousness, to suppress the mind's need to reason or investigate, and to obtain self-possession and equanimity. Vipassana meditation is for realizing great truths and having epiphanies. One of the goals is to fully understand the impermanence of existence and therefore stop putting such great focus on the here and now. If existence is passing and this body that you invest is only temporary, then it is easier to forgo the desire for material possessions or wealth. Since they cannot be taken to the next stage of existence which is eternal as opposed to the present life, then they are not worth suffering over.

According to the Buddha, it is only through meditation that a person can reach nirvana, and this is done only by following the Noble Eightfold Path (Sucitto 2010,-page 87). These eight components, divided into three branches, of understanding and action which would help a person by putting out positive energy in both meditation and action. The first stage, wisdom, requires right view and right intention. Second is ethical conduct which refers to right speech, right action, and right livelihood. The final stage is concentration which involves right effort, right mindfulness, and finally right concentration. In each of these components, the importance was on focusing on right conduct, doing actions and thinking in ways which are right and therefore not harmful to other people.

The focus is on right, as opposed to the adjectives good or bad which are not taken into account in the Buddhist religion. What constitutes good and bad is never given in detail. Instead, each person is supposed to look within to determine if their behavior is good or bad (Carus 1909). The determination of these terms is based on the ways in which their thoughts or actions impact other people. Bad things would be anything which harms a person, including the self while something good would be action or thought which aids or benefits a person, including the self. Indeed, every person who practices Buddhism seeks enlightenment so they too can become a Buddha. "Every single human being has the ultimate potential to attain the supreme goal of Buddhahood if he or she has the determination and will to do so" (Dhammananda 2002,-page 54). In no other religion that exists today can practitioners hope to achieve or even dare to suggest that they might achieve the same status as their leader. This places followers on equal footing with their religious icon.

Meditation is one of the tenets of Buddhist beliefs. There are two explicitly stated purposes for meditation according to Buddhist practices. The first purpose is in transforming the mind. Each person looks within the self to find out what is wrong in their life. They are to look inside and see the causes of their unhappiness and understand that it is through their own action that they can make their lives happier. The second purpose of meditation is to explore the mind and through this organ try to understand the mysteries of the universe (Wallace 2007,-page 81). To meditate, a person was to go to a quiet, restful environment, preferably in nature and to assume a specific position which was designed to relax the body to the best degree. This would allow for the mind to escape from the confines of the physical form and reach a higher plain of consciousness.

Other intentions for meditation are developing mindfulness, developing better concentration skills, obtaining supramundane powers which are the powers of knowing or obtaining higher knowledge, feeling tranquility and peace, and gaining insight (Thanissaro 1994). Mindfulness is a vague term, but it means that the person is aware of themselves including their body, their inner feelings, their state of mind, and also aware of the physical world around them and the objects that surround them (Goldstein 2003,-page 92). Walking mindfulness is one form of meditation practiced by Buddhist monks. The person needs to find a quiet place to walk, relax, and attempt to focus the mind on the sensations of walking such as the feeling of the foot against the ground and the sound of breathing. The idea is to lose yourself in walking and if the mind gives attention to anything besides the movements, then the walker is to stop, breathe, and start again (Buddhist 2013). The other form of meditation, which more people tend to practice, is sitting meditation. The focus of the mind is given solely to the acts of breathing. Focus on the muscles required to intake breath and then release it and the rise and fall of the abdomen only. If other thoughts invade the mind, they are to be recognized and then set aside, and the person meditating is then to refocus on their breathing. Finally there is mindfulness in everyday activities wherein the person will take the skills they have honed in walking and sitting meditation so that they could live more wholly in the present moment and experience everything in their life in a more present and full manner. At least this is what Buddhists believed.

Being aware of the body means focusing breathing, using specific sanctions postures, comprehending, and also reflecting on the parts of the body that you do not like. Only by recognizing these aspects can the person realize that the defects in the body do not matter and then let them go. Dislike or negative attitudes toward the individual self is a major hindrance towards ever achieving nirvana. According to the teachings of the Buddha, it was only through the practice of deep meditation could these things be gained. However, meditation could not be sporadic; the individual would have to dedicate regular time in their life to meditation, often accompanied by physical action, yoga.

Western culture is embracing Buddhism in part because of immigration of Asian peoples into western nations, like the United States. The other part has to do with the fact that Buddhism is a fluid religion rather than a stagnant one. Gary Gach (2010) wrote, "At whatever shore the boat of the Dharma has docked, the teachings mingle with the local culture." By this he infers that Buddhism melds with the national culture at hand. Every Buddhist person alters the definition of the belief system and wherever those people happen to be from, they will infuse their beliefs with the rest of their culture.

Works Cited

Carus, Paul (1909). The Gospel of Buddha: Compiled… [END OF PREVIEW]

Buddhism in China Essay


Buddhism Is Distinct From Most Other Religions Essay


Buddhism: Changing and Adapting to Different Geographic Essay


Compare and Contrast Buddhism in Two Different Buddhist Countries Essay


Buddhism and Christianity Essay


View 1,000+ other related papers  >>

Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Buddhism I Have Admittedly Led.  (2013, May 8).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/buddhism-admittedly-led/5397168

MLA Format

"Buddhism I Have Admittedly Led."  8 May 2013.  Web.  16 October 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/buddhism-admittedly-led/5397168>.

Chicago Format

"Buddhism I Have Admittedly Led."  Essaytown.com.  May 8, 2013.  Accessed October 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/buddhism-admittedly-led/5397168.