ਸਿੱਖ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ

Buddhism

Buddhism is one of the oldest Religion founded by Buddha  in India during the late 6th century between 566 -480 B.C.E., and spread in most of the countries of Asia, and in rest of  countries and became the world 4th largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population.

 Buddhism is variously understood as a religion, a philosophy, or a set of beliefs and practices based on the teachings of the Buddha, or “Awakened One”—the title given to the Indian spiritual seeker Siddhartha Gautama after he attained enlightenment more than 2,600 years ago. Siddharth  Gautam renounced all his worldly possessions and set out on a quest to find liberation from suffering known as nirvana and spent time as a poor beggar, meditating and travelling but ultimately, remaining unsatisfied, settling on something called “the Middle Way.” This idea meant that neither extreme asceticism or extreme wealth were the path to enlightenment, but rather, a way of life between the two extremes.

 Philosophy and Teachings of Gautam Budha

Buddhists do not believe in any kind of deity or God, although there are supernatural figures who can help or hinder people on the path towards enlightenment. Buddhists believe that human life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth, but that if one achieves a state of enlightenment (nirvana), it is possible to escape this cycle forever. The four noble truths and the eightfold path in Buddhism , describe the nature of human suffering and a way to liberate oneself from the existential pain of living and achieve nirvana. These teachings spread from India throughout Asia and eventually the rest of the world.

Karma

 Buddhists believe in a wheel of rebirth, where souls are born again into different bodies depending on how they conducted themselves in their previous lives. This is connected to “karma,” which refers to how a person’s good or bad actions in the past or in their past lives can impact them in the future. Good actions, which involve either the absence of bad actions, or actual positive acts, such as generosity, righteousness, and meditation, bring about happiness in the long run. Bad actions, such as lying, stealing or killing, bring about unhappiness in the long run. The weight that actions carry is determined by five conditions: frequent, repetitive action; determined, intentional action; action performed without regret; action against extraordinary persons; and action toward those who have helped one in the past. Finally, there is also neutral karma, which derives from acts such as breathing, eating or sleeping. Neutral karma has no benefits or costs

The Cycle of Rebirth.

 There are six separate planes into which any living being can be reborn on the basis of their karmas- three fortunate realms, and three unfortunate realms. Those with favorable, positive karma are reborn into one of the fortunate realms: the realm of demigods, the realm of gods, and the realm of men. While the demigods and gods enjoy gratification unknown to men, they also suffer unceasing jealousy and envy. The realm of man is considered the highest realm of rebirth. Humanity lacks some of the extravagances of the demigods and gods, but is also free from their relentless conflict. Similarly, while inhabitants of the three unfortunate realms — of animals, ghosts and hell — suffer untold suffering, the suffering of the realm of man is far less.

 The Four Noble Truths

 The Buddha taught about Four Noble Truths. The first truth is called “Suffering (dukkha),” which teaches that everyone in life is suffering in some way. The second truth is “Origin of suffering (samudāya).” This states that all suffering comes from desire (tanhā). The third truth is “Cessation of suffering (nirodha),” and it says that it is possible to stop suffering and achieve enlightenment. The fourth truth, “Path to the cessation of suffering (magga)” is about the Middle Way, which are the steps to achieve enlightenment.

Noble Eightfold Path  

The Forth Noble Truth charts the method for attaining the end of the suffering known to Budhist as Noble Eightfold path. The steps of the Noble EIGHTFOLD Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livlihood, Right Right Efforts, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. there are three themes in which these are divided, good moral conduct (Understanding, Thought, Speech), meditation and Moral development (Action, Livlihood, Efforts) and wisdom or insight (Mindfulness and Concentration)

Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism.

There are two main groups of Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism (The Great Vehicle) and Theravada Buddhism (The School pf elders). Mahayana Buddhism is common in Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia. It emphasizes the role models of bodhisattvas (that have achieved enlightenment but return to teach humans). Theravada Buddhism is common in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar) which emphasizes a monastic lifestyle and meditation as the way to enlightenment.

 Zen is also a Mahayana tradition that emphasizes simplicity, zazen meditation, nonduality, and neoconceptual understanding. It is deep meditation undertaken while sitting upright with legs crossed .Mahayana Buddhism is common in Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia. It emphasizes the role models of bodhisattvas (beings that have achieved enlightenment but return to teach humans).

Theravada, like all other Buddhist schools, claims to adhere most closely to the original doctrines and practices taught by the Buddha. Theravada Buddhism is common in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar). It emphasizes a monastic lifestyle and meditation as the way to enlightenment.

Nirvana

Nirvana is a cessation of the kleshas and the attainment of nirvana (nibbāna), with which the cycle of rebirth ends, has been the primary and the soteriological goal of the Buddhist path for monastic life since the time of the Buddha. Nirvana literally means “blowing out, quenching, becoming extinguished”. In early Buddhist texts, it is the state of restraint and self-control that leads to the “blowing out” and the ending of the cycles of sufferings associated with rebirths and re-deaths.[
Many later Buddhist texts describe nirvana as identical with anatta with complete “emptiness, nothingness”.[
The nirvana state has been described in Buddhist texts partly in a manner similar to other Indian religions, as the state of complete liberation, enlightenment, highest happiness, bliss, fearlessness, freedom, permanence, non-dependent origination, unfathomable, and indescribable.While Buddhism considers the liberation from saṃsāra as the ultimate spiritual goal, in traditional practice, the primary focus of a vast majority of lay Buddhists has been to seek and accumulate merit through good deeds, donations to The monks and various Buddhist rituals in order to gain better rebirths rather than nirvana

The Dalai Lama of Tibet 

The Dalai Lama is the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and traditionally has been responsible for the governing of Tibet, until the Chinese government took control in 1959. Before 1959, his official residence was Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. He  belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet. There have been only 14 Dalai Lamas in the history of Buddhism, and the first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously.

Nichiren (6th April 1222-13 October 1282)

Nichiren was a Japanese Buddhist priest and philosopher of the Kamakura period.  He changed his name to Nichiren, an abbreviation of nichi (日, “Sun”) and ren ,(“Lotus”). Nichi represents both the light of truth and the sun goddess Amaterasu, symbolizing Japan itself. Ren signifies the Lotus Sutra. He was leading the Nichiren Buddhism -a Japanese Buddhist movement in the Mahayana tradition in Japan which was also popular in the West and has a fast growing membership in the UK. Nichiren declared that the Lotus Sutra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings suited for the people of the world. 

Nichiren Teaching for being Happy in every situation

      1, Be positive, negative thinking obstruct your ways of rising up

  1. A small heart (low thinking) gets to misery and becomes docile while great heart towers above misfortune.
  2. Have unflinching courage and conviction to fight against problems that comes in your way, brings peace and security in your present existence. To manage cause of present difficulties, you secure your future.
  3. Some religion says that people will be happy after death. Lotus Sutra does not teach this rather u should enjoy present and future(after death) as well.
  4. Develop a strong life force by chanting ‘diamoku’ which brings peace and security in present existence and good circumstances in future existence.
  5. Though world troubles may arise, never let them disturb you. No one can avoid problems not even sages or worthies.
  6. There is no true happiness for human being other than chanting, ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’
  7. Drink saka only at your home with your wife and chant ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’
  8. Sufferings and joy as a fact of life. Sutra is for all the people rich, poor, status holders, ordinary people
  9. Wealth and status don’t guarantee happiness. People with similar status are found one terribly miserable and other happy
  10. Develop your inner strength
  11. We must not swayed by whirlpools of emotions, going from elation one moment to dejection.
  12. Faith which invisibly moves everything with enormous patience and strength in best possible direction towards happiness and fullness of our wishes

Neo-Buddhism movements

A number of modern movements in Buddhism emerged during the second half of the 20th century. These new forms of Buddhism are diverse and significantly depart from traditional beliefs and practices. In India, B.R. Ambedkar launched the Navayana tradition – literally, “new vehicle”. Ambedkar’s Buddhism rejects the foundational doctrines and historic practices of traditional Theravada and Mahayana traditions. Ambedkar’s Navayana Buddhism considers these as superstitions and re-interprets the original Buddha .Ambedkar urged low caste Indian Dalits to convert to his Marxism-inspired reinterpretation called the Navayana Buddhism, also known as Bhimayana Buddhism.

Eradication of Indian-born Buddhism from India 

During the Maurya empire, the Indian culture and way of life were deeply influenced by Buddhism. Buddhism much appealed to people of lower castes because it emphasized individuals’ path to enlightenment and salvation, which could be attained in this life. But during Gupta period, 7-8 century which was considered  a golden Hindu period , disciples of  Gautam Buddha faced a strong opposition from brahmin- vad especially  under the leadership of shankacharya. Their voice against caste and creed, poonji-vad, and karam-kand  was a strong blow to the philosphy of  Brahmini Smaj . Regaining strength under the influence of Shankacharya ,leader of Brahman-wad,   numerous temples, stupas, monasteries and places of education including Nalanda were destroyed. Buddhists were relentlessly persecuted and forced to convert to Hinduism. Monks were slaughtered and nuns were forced into sexual servitude (devidasis). It is not a surprising  that India, the birthplace of Buddhism, has very few Buddhists.

The Hindu ruler, Pushyamitra Sunga, demolished over 30,000 stupas which had been built by Ashoka the Great. It was followed by the smashing of the Buddhist centers in Magadha. Thousands of Buddhist monks were mercilessly killed. King Jalaluka destroyed the Buddhist viharas within his jurisdiction on the ground that the chanting of the hymns by the Buddhist devotees disturbed his sleep. In Kashmir, King Kinnara demolished thousands of Viharas and captured the Buddhists villages to please the Brahmins.

A large number of Buddhist viharas were usurped by the Brahmins and converted into Hindu temples where so-called untouchables were given no entrance. Many Buddhist places were converted into Hindu temples. The important temples found at Tirupati, Ahoble, Undavalli, Ellora, Bengal, Puri, Badrinath, Mathura, Ayodhya, Sringeri, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Delhi, Nalanda, Gudiallam, Nagarjuna Konda, Srisailam and Sabarimala (Lord Ayyappa) in Kerala are some of the striking examples of Brahmanic usurpation of the Buddhist centres. At Nagarjunakonda, the Adi Sankaracharya  destroyed Buddhist statues and monuments.

The list goes on and on. Kerala, for one, had a rich Buddhist tradition which was decimated within  no time and most of the boddhies fled to China, Japan, Tibet and other countries of the world.

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               Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki fteh

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Nirmal Anand

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