For a long time, I struggled with religion and spirituality. I grew up “Christian,” (not quite because I didn’t go to church but I believed in the Bible), then agnostic, atheist, and now I am believe in God, and I am also Buddhist.
I have seen all sides of religion, from the theist side to the atheist side, and whenever I see them bicker, I usually never agree with one side. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen both sides so I know how both of them feel.
However, one day I found zenhabits.net from searching about vegetarianism, and I found out that the author was Buddhist. I began checking out books, researching, and finding the meaning of Buddhism. Buddhism helped me in many ways and aspects of my life. It made me realize the suffering in the world. It made me realize that I have the power to change. It made me realize that I do not need to participate in suffering. (Meat industry.) Buddhism made me go vegetarian, and eventually vegan, so I am so glad that I got to find out about this positive and warming lifestyle.
For those who don’t know, let’s first clarify what Buddhism is. Buddhism originated in 563 BC from a man who lived in Nepal, and not just any man, a rich prince. His name was Siddhartha Gautama. He was a prince born to the many treasures that many people couldn’t afford. He had never seen or heard of suffering before. He lived in a life full of paradise. After he went beyond the palace gates, he discovered the truth. He saw death, he saw sickness, and he saw suffering. He was shocked, and he wanted to find answers. After years of meditation and various ways of living, he became enlightened. After this, he became known as The Buddha, or the enlightened one.
Buddhism teaches a few main things. First, to lead a moral life, second, to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and lastly, to develop wisdom and understanding of the world around you. Buddhism is not a religion, it is a philosophy.
It can be called a religion, as some people do consider it one, but the definition of religion is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” The Buddha was not a god. He was a normal human. He is not worshipped, although Buddhists respect him.
The Buddha’s main teachings were the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. Here they are below:
Four Noble Truths
- Life is suffering. Life consists of pain, diseases, death, and negative feelings.
- Suffering is caused by craving and hate. Getting what you want, and desiring many things is impossible and it will never make you truly happy. You must find happiness within yourself.
- Suffering can be rid of and true happiness can be obtained. True happiness does not come from objects or desires, and if we lived by every moment, instead of dwelling on the past or relying on the future, we could see that.
- The Noble Eightfold path is the path that ends suffering.
The Eightfold Path
- Complete or Perfect Vision: right view or understanding
- Perfected Emotion: right thought or attitude. Act from love and compassion.
- Perfected or Whole Speech: clear, truthful, and uplifting communication.
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Complete effort, energy, or vitality: direct your energy towards healing
- Right mindfulness: be mindful of yourself, your feelings, your thoughts, your actions, and people
- Concentration or meditation of the mind
These are just translated, and if you want more details, you can go here: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/8foldpath.htm
I follow Buddhism because it is a philosophy that is positive, and promotes integrity and kindness.