Critical Analysis of Fundamental Buddhist Beliefs

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 14:28   /   Views: 569
Critical Analysis of Fundamental Buddhist Beliefs
Buddhists believe in Buddha’s teachings of the Four Noble Truths. These lead to there belief in following the Eightfold Path in order to reach nirvana. Their art consists of statues of the Buddha, each part having its own meaning. Their music was for the temple and they had their own special way of singing.

Buddhism admits no social class, no sex or race superiority. Most shrines are open to all. Buddhism is utterly tolerant, and seeks no converts. The Buddhist proclaims the Dharma to mankind. Anyone who wishes may accept and apply it - those who do not wish to do so pass with a blessing upon their way.

Buddhism is a teaching of the Buddha who was born a prince of Kapilavathu, at the part of the Himalaya mountains near the border of Nepal in 623 B.C. He married and had a son. Although, he was surrounded by all the Court's glamour and luxuries, the sights of a decrepit old man, sick man, dead man and beggar monk, these four signs left such a deep impression upon his mind. At the age of twenty-nine, he decided to leave his palace and enter "the homeless life" of a monk to seek the truth and find a way to salvation for all conscious and alive beings. In his search for salvation among the teachers, he surpassed them and found that their doctrines were insufficient, not leading to awakening, to extinction and to enlightenment and insight. He departed those teachers and turned to practice self-mastery for six years with great willingness and effort.

Buddha met five holy men who offered their services to him, and finally, the Buddha realized that the ascetic exercises were not the right way to attain salvation. He had practiced self-mastery to the limit of his endurance and felt very weakened without achieving anything. So, he partook of food, regained strength and began to practice meditation which finally led to His enlightenment under the Holy Bodi tree near the town of Uruvela, the present Buddha-Gaya when he was only thirty-five years old.

Beliefs of the religion of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The four parts to the Four Noble Truths are: (1) Life is suffering (Dukka). This recognizes that there is always suffering in life, may it be aging, death, sickness, grief, or separation from loved ones. (2) Desire causes suffering (Samudaya), because when you crave things, you become greedy, and can’t always get what you want. (3) Suffering can be ended (Nirodha), because once you stop craving things, you stop suffering. (4) Following the Eightfold Path leads to rejection of desire/suffering (Magga), and reaching nirvana, which is perfect peace. The Eightfold Path says that you have right: view and thought which is the quality of wisdom (panna); speech, action, and livelihood which is the quality of morality (sila); and effort, mindfulness, and concentration which is the quality of meditation (samadhi). All are important in order to reach nirvana.

In art, the Buddha is very special, and each part of it has a meaning. His hands are always in one of several positions (mudras). When his hand is on his knee (bhumisparsha), he is calling early beings to be witnesses for his Enlightenment. His hand in his lap represents the physical world. An open hand (abhaya) means blessing and protection, and when the pointer-finger is up, he is favor granting a position. Hands folded in his lap mean he is teaching. His "hair/brain" is representing his superior knowledge, and is in a top not, or wisdom bun (ushnisa). This was typical for a wandering ascetic. His long earlobes remind us of when the prince wore elaborate earrings, and his robe for when he gave up his property in search of Enlightenment. We recognize him for his long, straight toes, and sitting position (dyanasana).

Buddhist’s temple music is particularly renowned in the west for its two forms of polyphonic singing known as jok-kay (low tone) and bar-da (high tone). I consider this to be the main attraction of this religion. In both forms, each of the main chantmasters simultaneously intones three notes (each individually creating a complete chord). They are the only people on Earth that have this vocal ability. This tradition is also known as "overtone singing" because it is accomplished by means of learning to control the muscles of the vocal cavity and then re-shaping it while singing, thus intensifying the natural overtones of the voice. The body is therefore transformed into an effective overtone amplifier.

Growing interest in Asian culture and spiritual values in the West has led to the development of a number of societies devoted to the study and practice of Buddhism. As its influence in the West slowly grows, Buddhism is once again beginning to undergo a process of adaptation to its new environment. Although its influence in the U.S. is still small, apart from immigrant Japanese and Chinese communities, it seems that new, distinctively American forms of Buddhism may eventually develop.

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