Short and Long Essay on Buddhism for Children and Students
Among all the religions in the world, Buddhism is an important one. It is spread all over the world. There are many countries where Buddhists live in the majority like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, etc.
Fill Out the Form for Expert Academic Guidance!
Please indicate your interest Live Classes Books Test Series Self Learning
Verify OTP Code (required)
Fill complete details
Target Exam ---
Buddhism was founded in around the sixth century BCE by Gautama Buddha, son of king Shuddodana of Shakya. It is a major religion based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Apart from founding it, Gautama has worked on spreading it around the world. That’s why Buddhists worship him like a god.
Facts of Buddhism
Buddhists worship Gautama Buddha and follow his words. The places where Buddha spent his life have become a sacred place for them. Buddha had practiced meditation which has become an important thing for Buddhists. Tripitaka, Sutras, and The Book of the Dead are the three holy books in Buddhism.
Festivals of Buddhism
In Buddhism, there are mainly three festivals related to the Birth, enlightenment, and Death of Gautama Buddha. They also celebrate Buddha Purnima and Buddha New Year.
Buddhism is a religion of peace. It inspires people to work for achieving complete enlightenment. It wants a pure heart with a clear and selfless mind. Rising above the personal profit, thinking about social welfare is the objective of Buddhism.
Talk to our academic expert!
Language --- English Hindi Marathi Tamil Telugu Malayalam
Get access to free Mock Test and Master Class
Register to Get Free Mock Test and Study Material
Offer Ends in 5:00
Buddhism : Buddhism And Buddhism
Zen Buddhism isn’t exactly a “religion”, but a way of living. It creates peace within the human mind that allows one to grow, develop and look at the world more positively. Originating in China in 650 C.E., Zen Buddhism is a combination between Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. Mahayana Buddhism promotes bodhisattva, which is practicing the way of life in the direction of Buddha. Taoism is a religion developed by Lao-tzu, a Taoist philosopher, and focuses on obtaining long life and good fortune
Buddhism is a philosophy that is often viewed as a religion and dates back to approximately 6th century B.C.E. Buddhism originated in the Indian subcontinent by a man known as Siddhartha Gautama. The original language of Buddhism is often debated as some scholars believe that it was first practiced in Pali while other believe it was first spoken in Sanskrit. The practice of Buddhism first spread to China in the 2nd century A.C.E and was translated to Mandarin in 3rd century A.C.E. Today, there are
Buddhism, Buddhism And Buddhism
Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world that started in India. Later spreading to China,Burma,Japan , Tibet and other parts of southeast Asia. Buddhism is a religion that Is concentrated on spiritualism than religious teachings. Established by the buddha, one must obtain their own spiritual awakening, or nirvana through meditation. There are three main branches of Buddhism Theravada Buddhism , Mahayana Buddhism and Tantric Buddhism. About 2,500 years ago, Prince Siddhartha
Buddhism: An Introduction Of Buddhism And Buddhism
CONCEPTUAL INTODUCTION Historically, Buddhism begins with a man referred to as the Original Buddha in person of Siddhartha Gotama. The Peli Canon refers to many previous Budhas. The word” Buhda” means the “awakened” or “enlightened one”. Overwhelmed by the suffering and pain associated with life, Gotama began to seek after the understanding of the sufferings of life and how to overcome them. His earnest search resulted in his enlightenment, which brought to bear some discoveries. He basically extended
Buddhism And Buddhism : The Life Of Buddhism
created. I would argue that Buddhism is merely a way of approaching life from an uncharacteristic perspective. Therefore, I am suggesting that the Buddha created a philosophy and deserves a place among the great fathers of human thought such as Aristotle, Plato, and many others. Where Buddhism differentiates from the three major religions of the world, is the amazing techniques that Buddhists pursue every day to optimize their inner thinking within. The philosophies of Buddhism and new research in the
Buddhism: Buddhism And The Life Of Buddhism
The world’s fastest growing religion and the 4th largest religion in terms of the followers, followed by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, the “Buddhism”(1)(2). The word Buddhism is derived from the word “Buddha” which means ‘the awakened”. Siddhartha Gautama was born between the 5th and 6th century or according to some references 563 B.C.E( 3)(4). Buddha belonged to the royal family of Lumbini from the republic of Sakka in the foothills of Himalayas, now known as Nepal(5)(6). When Buddha
Buddhism And Buddhism: An Overview Of Buddhism
Buddhism Do you really know what Buddhism is? Or do you just pretend you know its definition, its beliefs, and its story? The founder of this “culture” or “life style” was Siddhartha Gautama, also referred as Buddha Shakyamuni. It all began with his enlightment, who, at the age of 35, awakened from the sleep of delusion that grips all beings in an endless vicious cycle of ignorance and unnecessary suffering. Then, he decided to “go against the current”. That’s when he funded this lovely and harmless
Buddhism : Buddhism And The Origin Of Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion found by Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism teaches people how to end their suffering by cutting out greed, hatred and ignorance. When people do bad things, they will get bad consequences. Siddhartha was about 5 days old when his father called a group of priests together for a feast and accented the fact that Siddhartha was quick to learn, thirsty for knowledge (Hesse, 2008). The Founder of Buddhism was the historical Buddha (which means the Fully Enlightened One), born in Nepal
Buddhism And Buddhism : The Core Values Of Buddhism
that first come to mind when the religion of Buddhism is mentioned. However, for Venerable Miao Lai, a practicing Mahayana Buddhist, her lived expression and practice runs much deeper than the material objects and is a faith that money cannot buy. The shaven head, robed, petite frame and humble mannerisms of Lai make her the very image of everything expected of a conventional Buddhist. Perhaps this stereotypical appearance and perception of Buddhism is what has driven society’s understanding so
Relics Of Buddhism And Buddhism
Relics are thought to be present in Buddhism since the 5th Century B.C.E, when the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was said to have lived, and Buddhism itself was a new religion. They continue today as sacred objects of worship. Relics that are as old as Buddhism itself are said to exist and still be worshipped. Although the idea of relics may seem contradictory to many of Buddhist beliefs, they actually do resonate with many ideals of Buddhist teachings and practices. To see whether relics
- Budget Cuts Essay
- Budget Deficit Essay
- Buffalo Soldiers Essay
- Bulimia Essay
- Bulimia Nervosa Essay
- Bull Run Essay
- Bully Essay
- Bullying Essay
- Bunker Hill Essay
- Bureaucracy Essay
Buddhism is one of biggest and influential religions. Buddhism has own teachings and ethics which are different from other religions. It also has traditional holidays which are still continued. Buddhism's source and Buddha’s story are interesting so it has many believers. The numbers of Buddhists are still increasing, and Buddhism grows bigger today. 2. What is Buddhism? There are 350 million Buddhists on the world. Many people study spirit of Buddhism, and Buddhism requires deep study. 2.1 Basic information of Buddhism Buddhism's basic emphasis is to practice meditation and to develop spirit. Buddhism teaches practical methods and gives a lot of example of answer that helps to solve human's problems in society. It emphasizes to find true purpose of human life and happiness and researches to understand deeply and psychologically about human mind. Buddhists also do not worship and study about any other God or divinities. They even do not worship Buddha who is creator of Buddhism. They sometimes go to a temple and bow down to a statue which has smiling. It is just an expression of thanks for the teaching of Buddha. Buddhists think Buddha is ideal person so try to resemble him. They always practice to get highest quality of personality and spirit like Buddha. 2.2 Meditation There are many different types of Buddhism, but all of that are based on practice of meditation. Meditation is major activity of Buddhists. It is a time to develop spirit and mind. When Buddhists meditate in a house or a temple, they believe that meditation helps to find peace in mind and gives positive energy and happiness. They have meditation time like a habit. The other goal of Buddhists is to understand reality of nature and the finish of suffering. ... ... middle of paper ... ...sm today Buddhism is one of suitable religion for modern people’s life. People want to be relaxed and have peaceful life in competition of society. It increases numbers of people who practice meditation and study Buddhism. Buddhists say that meditation gives happiness in suffering life. It makes many people try to practice meditation. There are also many Buddhist centers and meditation festivals. It is easy to find and experience Buddhism culture. Especially, South Korea has long history of Buddhism so there are many Buddhist architectures and arts which are highly acclaimed. Buddhism is effective religion, also it is artistic culture. 8. Conclusion Buddhism has a lot of study and teaching. Its teaching and culture are very unique. It also has different own views and ethics, so it is still continued. Buddha’s Buddhism is a history and deep-rooted religion.
In this essay, the author
- Explains that buddhism is one of the biggest and influential religions. it has its own teachings and ethics which are different from others.
- Explains that there are 350 million buddhists on the world, and buddhism requires deep study.
- Explains buddhism's basic emphasis is to practice meditation and develop spirit. it emphasizes to find true purpose of human life and happiness and researches deeply and psychologically about human mind.
- Explains that meditation is a major activity of buddhists. they believe meditation helps to find peace in mind and gives positive energy and happiness.
- Explains that buddhism was made by a human who name is buddha (563643).
- Explains that buddhists read and understand many kinds of teaching, such as the four noble truths and the eightfold path.
- Explains buddhism's four noble truths, namely suffering life and death, physical suffering, nirvana, and the eightfold path, which is guide to end of painful life.
- Explains that the noble eightfold path is more practical direction for buddhist's life. it shows right attitudes of human.
- Explains that buddhism has different views on ethics and it is distinct from other religions.
- Explains that there are three special holidays in buddhism. the first is buddha day, which celebrates buddha's enlightenment and the second is sangha day.
- Explains that buddhism is a suitable religion for modern people's life. people want to be relaxed and have peaceful life in competition of society.
- Explains that buddhism has a lot of study and teaching. its teaching and culture are very unique and has different views and ethics.
Click here to unlock this and over one million essays
What is Buddhism? What do we understand by Buddhism? It can be comprehended differently and can mean a variety of things to many people. For one it can be only an explanation of the life of the Buddha. To another, Buddhism means the massive doctrine recorded in the Buddhist literature, which is voluminous and comprise of several thousand pages recording the words of the Buddha. Moreover it is described as a very lofty, abstruse, complex and learned philosophy of life. However based on whatever the Buddha taught, there has grown a very rich culture, a culture which has extended to all parts of Asia for over 2500 years, and to which people from various walks of life with various backgrounds from all these countries have made a lasting contribution. Another definition of Buddhism is the kind of ritual that has grown around the doctrine of the Buddha, as a result of his teachings and the way of life preached by him. But to me Buddhism is the perfect combination of all these definitions. Buddhism has influenced my life by making me adopt the Eightfold Path known as the “Middle Path”, increased the practice of spirituality, comprehend law of impermanence and thus lead a righteous life. It’s mainly thought that Buddhism is a teaching for monks only, as it is sometimes wrongly conceived.
China And Seated Buddha Comparison
“Buddhism is the oldest worldwide religion. It is known to be a religion, a philosophy and a way of life.” The main idea, foundation and fundamentals of Buddhism were born 2,500 years ago in the foothills of India. Siddhartha Gautama was born into a royal family and raised as a prince in the Gupta period. He was always confined to the palace and was sheltered from the real world. As time went on, Siddhartha wanted to find out the meaning of life and his experiences through his journey created the practice of Buddhism. His first teaching as a Buddha was based on the doctrine of the four noble truths and along with the principle of the middle way, the eight fold path. Through oral tra...
Buddhism And Comparative Religions Similarities
Buddhism is a nontheistic religion, meaning that practitioners of the Buddhist religion do not recognize or worship a God. Instead, practicing Buddhists follow the teachings of a man named Siddhartha Gautama, who is more commonly known as Buddha. The term “Buddha” can be translated to mean “the awakened one”. Buddha’s followers recognize his as the enlightened teacher who would be able to help them let go of human wants, desires and ignorance to the goal of reaching a state of nirvana. The two different major branches of Buddhism are ...
Spread Of Buddhism And Japan
Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world with an estimated 500 million located in all corners of the globe. Although Buddhism is practiced all around the world, the majority of Buddhists are centered in the Eastern, Southern and Central parts of Asia. It was founded in India in approximately 525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, known to his followers as Buddha. Buddhism is divided into two main schools: the Theravada in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and the Mahayana in China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.
Buddhism is one of the worlds major religions with 300 million followers around the world. Buddhism has many beliefs, tradition, and practices based on teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. It is a religion that doesn't involve in having a belief in a God or Gods. many people believe Buddhism is a way of life or a philosophy. Buddhists believe that Buddha is not God and he didn't say he was God, but he was a man that taught people the path to enlightenment that he learned from his own experience. Many believe that Buddhists worship statues of the Buddha, but by bowing to the Buddha statue they are paying their respect and expressing their gratitude for his teachings. There are also different types of Buddhism because it changes from country to country do to different cultures and customs. Buddhism is believed to originate in northern India in 563 BC. It is also believed that the traditions of Buddhism was taught by Siddhartha Gautama also called the Buddha meaning the enlightened one or awakened. Siddhartha Gautama was born to a rich family in Lumbini India. When Siddhartha Gautama reac...
Evolution of Buddhism
Buddhism is quickly growing in popularity in the western world particularly with the younger generations. This is because it is the only religion that can be practiced not from a religious stand point. Buddhism can be embraced as spiritual adventure where the person focus’s mostly on nature. Buddhism is full interesting concepts and has the easiest religious text to read. Out of all the religions I have learned about throughout life. Buddhism is the best so far.
Jewish And Buddhist Culture And Religion
Buddhism is a nontheistic religion based on the teachings and life of Buddha Shakyamuni, who is known as the enlightened one. Buddhism emphasizes peace, loving kindness, and wisdom. Shakyamuni’s teachings deal with the ability to remove suffering and other delusions from the mind by ultimately reaching enlightenment and nirvana. The purpose of Buddhism is to remove the mind of its faults and limitations. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is a life without...
Buddhism And The Non-Western Philosophy Of Buddhism
Buddhism is a really big religion. I think that Buddhism is more of philosophy or ‘way of living life’. But it’s called a religion which contains about 300 million people around the world. The word Buddhism comes from ‘buddhi’ which means ‘to awaken’. Buddhism’s origins trace back to 2000-2500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, aka also known as the Buddha. It traces back to him because Siddharatha humself was awakened at age 35, and came out to know the reality of life. Buddhism goes beyond religion, it goes to become philosophy. Because philosophy means ‘love of wisdom’ and the Buddhist path can be summed up as: 1) lead a moral life 2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions as you go through in life 3) to develop wisdom and understanding of life. I think that Buddhism explains a purpose of life to the core. It teaches us the correct way to live life, with adopted wide variety of beliefs, practices, rituals, and customs. It explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world; it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness. But the essential teaching of Buddha was reading the underline differences between these said statements.
Buddhist Meditation Essay
Our present way of thinking; our perceptions, desires, feelings, and reactions control how we experience the world. Our minds are the core of our existence, everything we have thought is everything that we are, for everything is mind-made. If we are experiencing suffering, it is because our minds created it, and only our minds have the power of relieving it. Buddhist meditation is the practice of transforming the mind through the cultivation of mindfulness, concentration, detachment, insight, and objectivity. My background in psychology made me interested in discussing the concept of Buddhist mediation due its immense focus on mastering the mind. It has the crucial transformative effect on the mind that leads to new perspectives of oneself,
Buddhism is a philosophy of life, it was started by Siddhartha Gotma , who is more commonly known as Buddha. Buddha isn’t god to them however he is well respected for passing down knowledge of how to find true happiness. The Buddhists major aim in life is to find enlightenment (true happiness).Buddhist monks live by a strict moral code, in which they are given food, they live a life structured around the teachings of Buddha.
Buddhism : Buddhism And Buddhism
Buddhism prevailed as a religion indigenous to west India and comprises of varieties of traditions, beliefs and practices based on the teachings of Buddha. There are many reasons why Buddhism became so popular and entered into many civilizations. Buddhism began to be popular throughout Asia alongside India. Buddhism has blossomed in the contemporary world, especially in the West. It is an issue to wonder what Buddhism offers that other religions cannot and has become so significant worldwide. Buddhism has become an idea that is widespread and the teachings of Buddha have made a real difference in many civilizations like India, China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and surprisingly Buddhism has come to make a significant difference in American culture.
Judaism And Buddhism Similarities
Buddhism is a religion of the Buddhist. Buddhist are non theistic meaning they don't believe in or worship a God or Goddess. Buddhism originates from northern India between 1000 and 5000 years ago. As of today there are between 488 and 535 million Buddhist throughout the world.
Buddhism: Past and Present
Overtime many significant events have shaped history, from natural disasters, wars and the never ending feud of politics they have all played a significant role in history. But there is one that has had the most influential effect of all, religion. Throughout time there has been an abundance of different religions and practices formed over the years, from Christianity to Judaism, each of them having their own impacts on culture and society, one of the major religions that formed was Buddhism. Today we will discuss how Buddhism was founded, the practices of it, and how it has changed as it has entered a new area and interacted with a new people.
Buddhism Philosophy Essay
Buddhism is the philosophy of being awake and conscious in life. Siddhartha Gautama, or Buddha, shared his wisdom with the world and believed that the path to enlightenment was a process of elimination. These eliminations can be conquered through a process called Zen. He believe it was the only way to get rid of the burdens human’s carry of, ignorance, desire and suffering. Buddhism is almost the complete opposite of our western world because our society requires us to act a certain way in order to thrive or even survive.
Buddhism Reflection Paper
Buddhism is unlike any other religion I learned about throughout my time in this class. There is no god in Buddhism and Buddhist do not worship any supernatural being. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. His teachings, the Dharma, are a guide to follow to reach ultimate liberation. Understanding the four noble truths and following the noble eightfold path would lead to nirvana. As with any religion there are a few different types of Buddhism such as Theravada, Mahayana, and modern day Buddhist. Starting in Asia, Buddhism has spread to the west and all over the world. I hope to convey my thoughts on Buddhism’s past, present and future.
More about Buddhism Essay
- Gautama Buddha
- Four Noble Truths
Buddhism - Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas
Buddhism is a spiritual tradition and philosophy based on the teachings of Buddha. Essays could explore the basic tenets of Buddhism, its historical evolution, various schools of Buddhist thought, and its influence on culture and society. Comparisons between Buddhism and other religious or philosophical traditions could also provide a comprehensive understanding. A vast selection of complimentary essay illustrations pertaining to Buddhism you can find at Papersowl. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.
The Religion of Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama was numerous things. He was a ruler, an educator, the Buddha and later a divine being. He showed the religion of Buddhism. Moreover, he even affected Indian history until the end of time. Buddhism has spread to numerous nations including Thailand and Mongolia. The Buddha was conceived in sixth Century BCE. He was fundamentally secured up a castle for a large portion of his initial life in light of the fact that a prescience told that his family […]
Christianity Vs Buddhism
Because I was brought up in an extremely strict Pentecostal church does not imply that I will be conceded everlasting life in the Kingdom of Paradise. In fact, it means that my curiosity for other religions has always been peaked. I have always been interested as to fundamental standards, actualities, and demonstrated sciences behind every one of them. I was instructed to place confidence in that which can't be seen, to never scrutinize the Lord or his reasonings, and to […]
Buddha’s Lost Children
This paper is devoted to one remarkable documentary made by director Mark Verkerk in 2006 called Buddha’s Lost Children (Buddha Elveszett Gyermekei). Buddha’s Lost Children is about one remarkable Buddhist monk called Abbot Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto, who has devoted himself to the orphaned and abandoned children came from poor and problematic families of remote villages in Northern Thailand. Khru Bah used to be a Thai boxer, later he became a Buddhist monk. I would like to talk about […]
An Analysis of Buddhism on the Hermann Hesse’s Siddh?rtha
Siddhartha is a novel written by Herman Hesse. It is about a young man named Siddhartha who is the son of Brahmin. Everyone thinks that Siddhartha should follow in his father's footsteps, but Siddhartha thinks otherwise. Siddhartha practices all of the religion rituals, but he is not satisfied. He feels something is missing. He wants to find enlightenment as a munk. So he goes on a journey with his friend named Govinda and does just that. One day a group […]
The Four Noble Truths
The Four noble truths are one of the stories covered in the book "World views: Classic and contemporary readings" by Elizabeth Hair, Mike Krist, Richard Harnett and Roger West. The four noble truths are the teaching of the Buddhist path and is a summary of the awakening path. They are the key components that helps one understand Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha. It is often defined in four interdependent and logical steps. The truths have been defined differently by […]
We will write an essay sample crafted to your needs.
“4 C’s” in Buddhism
Every religion is different. They all do the things they do for different reasons. Buddhism is no exception to this. Catherine Albanese's definition of religion is "A system of symbols (creed, code, cults) and by means of which people (community) orient themselves in the world with reference to both ordinary and extra ordinary values, powers, and meanings". This definition is known as the "4 C's". The "creed" are the beliefs within the religion. The "Four Noble Truths" is the core […]
Buddhism in Society
With approximately 400 million people practicing Buddhism, it is one of the largest religions in the world. Buddhism encompasses a variety of beliefs, traditions and spiritual practices that are attributed to the teachings of the Buddha. These teachings focus on spiritual personal development. The teachings and scriptures of Buddhism reiterate that violence is not a good thing and that being peaceful will lead to a better life on earth and a chance to reach nirvana. Even though Buddhism has a […]
The Fictional Character Siddhartha and Buddha
Siddhartha is a fictional character created by Herman Hesse, but that name is also the name of Buddha before he became enlightened. Siddhartha was known as a rich, intelligent and good-looking man in town he lived in. Despite being seen as someone with intellectual prowess he left home because he was not content with what he was being taught. He believed the knowledge he was learning with his father was true and wise, yet he believed there was more for […]
Buddhism in Myanmar
Buddhism in Myanmar was very early spread into Myanmar. Buddhist missionaries from Gangetic India who reached Upper Burma through Bengal and Manipur. Others, amongst whom is Rhys Davids, supposed that Buddhism was introduced from China. It is not unlikely, however, that the Burmese obtained both their religion and their alphabet through the Talaings. The Burmese alphabet is almost the same as the Talaing, and the circular form of both strongly indicates the influence of the Singalese, or the Tamulic type […]
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is one of the most privilege religions, spread throughout Vietnam, China, Japan and most parts of Asia. Buddhism has opened a door for many people to practice mindfulness especially the right way to meditate to relieve the stress and help them forgive that past or things that shouldn't be on their mind. Buddha has taught people many things that people can apply to daily life, and also bring a good environment to other people surrounding them. "There is no […]
History of Meditation
The Axial Age: the earliest written records of meditation come from the Hindu tradition of Vedantism around 1500 B.C.E. The Vedas discussed the ancient traditions of meditation which came from India. In the fifth and sixth century, B.C.E. meditation seems to develop other forms in Taoist China and Buddhist India. Dyhana in early Buddhism takes effect in Vedanta somewhere around century B.C.E. Buddhist meditation exact organs are still under debate by most scholars. Multilevel of meditation are seen in Buddhism’s […]
Christianity and Buddhism
Christianity originated during the 1st-century in Israel, starting with the birth of Jesus Christ, while Buddhism originated in the 6th-century India from the birth and life of Siddhartha, Buddha. While Buddhism and Christianity began with a single founder who sacrificed their lives for the suffering of humans, they did not share the same views on God. Christians put their faith in God while Buddhists ignored the widespread religious belief in a controlling higher power other religions adapted to. Built on […]
What are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism?
According to The Register and InfoPlease, Buddhism has become one of the top five religions of the world while being one of the top three most practiced. Buddhism originated in eastern central Asia and it encompasses the idea of reaching enlightenment by following the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism has increased in popularity over the centuries because of its stance as not only a religion, but as a philosophy. Buddhism focuses on compassion and does not preach about reaching the […]
Buddhism – the Four Noble Truths
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" –Buddha. Suffering is something that all human beings in society must endure over the course of their lifetime. It is perceived to be a negative part of life and something that cannot be avoided. However, has one ever dug deeper into the roots of suffering? Why do humans suffer? Is it something that can be further understood and better overcome? Buddhism explores the notion of suffering through its path to enlightenment by practicing such […]
Buddhism in my Life
The foundations of Buddhism are built upon the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are a summary of the things that the Buddha witnessed and examined in his life, such as Dukkha or suffering, Dukkha is the result of tanha or selfish desire, the cure is get rid of tanha and to get rid of tanha you must follow the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path involves eight steps to reach nirvana, including right knowledge, right […]
“Three Legged Buddha”
The "Three Legged Buddha" is a structure influenced by the Buddhist philosophy and ideas. The creator Zhang Huan was greatly inspired by the catastrophe of ruins and destroyed monasteries from the time of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet. Zhang collected copper and steel from the leftover fragments of Buddhist sculptures in Tibet to construct the "Three Legged Buddha". The sculpture was created in 2007 and stands at the height of twenty-eight feet tall and forty-eight feet wide. The sculpture, given […]
Rituals in Buddhism
In Buddhism, rites and rituals expressed by human condition, including our relationships to others and to our spiritual life. As ways of being mindful, rites and rituals can bring a heightened awareness of the interpretation of life and humanity. Through both mental and physical trainings, rites and rituals set followers onto the passage toward their personal goals. Spreading world-wide in all directions and into numerous languages since around 2,500 years ago, Buddhism teachings have developed into many brunches. Among all […]
Buddhism and Islam Worlds Apart
Buddhism and Islam are both major religions of the world. World religions are divided into two areas Eastern and Western. Buddhism is an eastern religion and Islam is a western religion. In this paper, I plan to showcase the similarities as well as differences in the two religions. Buddhism and Islam seem on the surface worlds apart. While some major differences do exist the core teachings and beliefs are essentially the same. Both Buddhism and Islam have dealt with stereotypes […]
Buddhism in Thailand
Introduction Religion system is one of the fundamental parts of any society, which is the practice of that connected to supernatural beings and forces. This practice modifies human's attitudes and beliefs that fulfills several social and psychological needs. Buddhism, one of the most worldwide popular religion, is a religious tradition that emphasizes spiritual growth at a personal level and focusses on the study of the nature of life. History of Buddhism can be traced back to the 6th century BC […]
History and Comparison of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam
What is Religion? For a long time, people has been asking question about it, but no one has corrected answer whether one religion is right, or another religion is wrong. Every person explains religion in different way. Religion is a cultural system for group of people who have shared same beliefs. As any person can remember religion has been part of history for long time. There are nearly 10,000 religious where people are born into or they can choose which […]
Representation of Religion in Asian Buddha Statues
Artistic concepts are broad. Art may be interpreted either literally or symbolically depending on a person's insights. It goes a long way in the depiction of reality or imaginary insinuation, be it a person or a place. However, the study of artistic features gives more profound meaning and relates each work of art to the subjects under study for example religion. Eliade Mircea once said that the Buddha's iconography had been changed to spiritual existence from human nature. Considering the […]
The Rising of Christianity and the Fall of Buddhism
Christianity is considered to be the world's largest religion today, there are more than two billion Christians worldwide. Christianity began to grow in the 1st-century from a Jewish following. Christianity has been spread and adopted throughout the nation and it became and still is a successful spiritual mission that is changing people's lives across the globe. The Christian belief is centered around the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians are monotheistic, which means that they only believe in […]
How Buddhism Agrees with Science
Compatibility is defined as the degree of agreement between two separate ideas. In relation to the Dalai Lama's discussions of modern physics and evolutionary biology as well as the article "Cosmology and Meditation" by Rupert Gethin, we can find several similarities and differences between Buddhism and scientific realism. Also, it would be appropriate to argue the compatibility between these two like-minded concepts. Buddhism is very simple in its teachings. The essence of this school of thought promotes a way of […]
Development of Buddhism under Siddhartha Gautama and Ashoka
The pioneer, innovator, and/or originator of Buddhism is said to be Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha was born into a wealthy royal family in Nepal, India. He lived a secluded life away from the world’s sadness, poverty, and pain. Even though his life did not have these particular challenges, he left home at 29 to explore. At that time, India was in an intellectual decay of the old Brahmanic orthodoxy. There was a strong skepticism and moral vacuum which was being filled […]
This semester I took History of far Eastern Art, as a project assignment we had to visit a museum, I chose the freer gallery of art in Washington D,C. I visited the section " Encountering the buddha, Art and practice across Asia." In this section you found "collections of Buddhist art from Afghanistan, India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan(web)." My experience at freer gallery of art was great, I was able to learn a lot more from the Asian art […]
Essay about the Matrix and Buddhism
The enemy in The Matrix is ignorance, a trait that is embedded in everyone and is difficult to overcome. Although the he violence and bullets within the movie is the opposite of what buddhist believe in - they believe in peace and do not believe in violence, it can be viewed metaphorically in which it is used to show the struggle to overcome and defeat one’s ignorance and illusion of reality. However, although there are different levels of enlightenment or […]
Buddhism Meets Christanity
When you think of Christianity and Buddhism they both may appear very different from one another, but in fact, in some ways they really are very similar. The religions they have certain beliefs, and traditions that they value. Christianity and Buddhism are both the world's most significant and influential religions. A Spiritual Master that was seeking a path to salvation founded them both. They have a strong resemblance between Jesus and Buddha, with their lives and teachings. In both Christianity […]
Buddhism Vs Christianity
Religion is one of the most valued things in human society. It is what constitutes a country, group or society of individuals together. Although, in other cases it brings up problems and destroys unity between people. Religion is the belief that humans have in a divine entity which controls the Universe. In multiple religions, there is more than one of these godlike entities. Every religion has differences between each other, but the most part of them look for right morals […]
About Siddhartha Gautama
Buddha is not a name but a title which is a Sanskrit word for "Enlightened one." Siddhartha Gautama was born in 567 B.C.E. in the Himalayan region of Kapilavastu, Shakya which is now a modern Lumbini, Nepal. He born to the King Sudhodhana, who rule Kapilavastu in ancient Bharata Khanda, And Queen Maya. When he was born a Brahmin guru prophesize that young Gautama would either become an Emperor of Bharata Khanda or a very holy man, which worried his […]
Religious Perspectives on Euthanasia
Death is one of the most important things that religions deal with. All faiths offer meaning and explanations for death and dying; all faiths try to find a place for death and dying within human experience. Most religions disapprove of euthanasia. Some of them absolutely forbid it. Virtually all religions state that those who become vulnerable through illness or disability deserve special care and protection and that proper end of life care is a much better thing than euthanasia. Religions […]
Additional example essays.
- Euthanasia and the Catholic Church: An Ethical Conundrum
- Arguments For and Against Euthanasia
- Persuasive Essay on Physician-Assisted Suicide: Choosing the Right to Die
- Is Euthanasia Morally Right? An Examination of Personal and Social Moral Values
- Legalizing Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia for a Dignified End
- Economic Benefits Of Euthanasia
- Physician-assisted Suicide Debate
- Ethics Behind Physician-Assisted Suicide
- Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion: Understanding the Challenges and Consequences
- Women in WWII
- Childhood obesity parents are the blame
- Importance of Mental Health
1. Tell Us Your Requirements
2. Pick your perfect writer
3. Get Your Paper and Pay
+61 272 520 888
15% discount on first order.
Research essay on buddhism and its beliefs.
Buddhism is one of the major philosophical practices in Asia and originated in India. Buddhism has assumed many different forms over time but the basis for each, no matter the changes people make, is the life of Buddha. Buddha – also known as the Awakened One – is the central figure of the philosophical practice or religion of Buddhism. Buddhism focuses on inner peace, philosophy, discipline, and one’s purpose in life. This descriptive essay will focus on the world’s fourth largest religion, Buddhism.
Origin of Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion or a philosophical way of life established by the Hindu prince, Siddhartha Gautama more than 2500 years ago. Siddhartha Gautama is often referred to as Buddha or the Enlightened One. Siddhartha Gautama being Buddha is one of the characteristics which differ Buddhism from other religions as Buddhists do not believe in a god who is responsible for the creation of everything.
Siddhartha Gautama was born into a wealthy family but upon witnessing the suffering of the people, he decided to commit to giving up his wealth and lavish lifestyle. Siddhartha Gautama lived a poor life but he did not feel fulfilled. Because of that, he again decided to live in the middle – instead of choosing wealth and poverty over the other. He started to live a life not depriving himself of anything but he makes sure to stay in the middle of the two extremes. Years after, Siddhartha Gautama finally achieved Enlightenment and was since known as Buddha.
To shed light on Siddhartha Gautama’s change, there is a story of him encountering what is known to be the Four Signs. One day, as Siddhartha Gautama was exposed to life outside the place he grew up in, he encountered 4 men. The first three men that he saw comprised an aged man, a sick man, and a dead man. As he was shielded from the trials of life by his father, the king, Siddhartha Gautama had no idea that these fates would one day befall him too and that he and everyone he knows and loves would be lost someday.
After encountering the three men and realizing that he too shall perish, he saw an ascetic man – one who practices extreme self-discipline and rids himself of indulging in anything – who is smiling. This puzzled him as all the previous men he had encountered is suffering. When Siddhartha Gautama asked the ascetic man why is he different from the previous men that he encountered, the man answered that it is due to him leading a peaceful life secluded from the world and full of compassion and reflection. It was then that Siddhartha Gautama decided to pursue a different path in his life.
After Siddhartha Gautama became the Enlightened One, he gained followers and became a teacher. His disciples had spread philosophical teachings and beliefs across Northern India. However, it was not until the reign of Ashoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire that Buddhism was recognized as a religion and ceased to be known as a minor school of thought. And so from the land of India, Buddhism spread throughout Asia.
As Buddhism is a religion leaning towards philosophical beliefs and practices, Buddhists tend to understand things a little differently from one another. Their different interpretations of the life and teachings of Buddha gave way to new thoughts and philosophies emerging. Although, those are still deeply rooted in Buddha and his life. Many Buddhist temples were destroyed by the Huns when they invaded India but the religion still managed to endure up to this day.
Buddhism Schools of Thought and Practices
As mentioned earlier, Buddhists have created different forms of Buddhism as they interpret Buddha’s teachings differently from one another. Given that, there are also some forms of Buddhism that have incorporated other religions’ beliefs and philosophies. Buddhism has become mixed as time passed by but what is important for Buddhists is that the essence of the teachings of Buddha is not lost and is still revered no matter what form it takes. The three schools of thought mentioned below adhere to the sacred beliefs and teachings of Buddha. The schools of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism all follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which will be discussed later.
1. Theravada Buddhism (The School of the Elders)
Theravada Buddhism is known as The School of Elders but Hinayana Buddhists refer to it as “little vehicle” that practices Buddhism in accordance with the teaching of Buddha in their sacred text Tipitaka which means Three Little Baskets. They use Pali as the language in the teachings that they follow. Theravada Buddhism is highly focused on reaching individual enlightenment.
Theravada Buddhists have two forms of meditation one of which is closely related to yoga, which is a Hindu practice, and the other requires a more intense concentration. The first one involves the Theravada Buddhist meditating to isolate themselves from earthly desires in order to reach joy and the second one allows progression toward Nirvana.
Theravada Buddhism is the school of thought which follows the most traditional way of life of Buddhists out of the three. Today, Theravada Buddhism is common in the countries Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma.
2. Mahayana Buddhism (The Great Vehicle)
Mahayana Buddhism follows the traditional teachings of Buddha but it also deals with a system of metaphysics that helps them understand how a person can achieve Enlightenment. Unlike Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism does not purely focus on Buddha’s teachings but instead, it incorporated another element into the belief. They use the language of Sanskrit in their teachings and are inclined towards reaching the essence of Enlightenment.
In Mahayana Buddhism, neither their belief in the self and Dharma exists. In their quest to reach the essence of Enlightenment, they put off Nirvana in order to help other people and let them experience the same enlightenment that they have achieved. Mahayana Buddhists put their love for all creatures above all else and are encouraged to do good deeds.
Mahayana Buddhism is the most popular school of thought being practiced up to this day. Mahayana Buddhism is prevalent in the countries China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.
3. Vajrayana Buddhism (The Way of the Diamond)
Vajrayana Buddhism, also called Tibetan Buddhism, deals with the existential crisis one faces once an individual reaches their highest goal. Vajrayana Buddhism teaches that all individuals have already reached Enlightenment and only have to realize it. And so, one does not need to separate himself from earthly desires, one only needs to continue walking along the path until his earthly desires begin to dissipate. Vajrayana Buddhism is more popular in the countries Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, and parts of Russia and northern India.
Buddhism Teachings and Beliefs
Buddhism’s ultimate goal is to attain Enlightenment or Nirvana in order to be free from reincarnation and end the cycle of suffering. This is to be done by giving up and detaching oneself to their earthly desires and extremely disciplining himself as these are the ways to achieve peace and happiness. Buddhists promote peace and is widely popular among those who desire to get in touch with their spirituality and experience peace. Buddhism has a number of teachings and beliefs that have been carried in its schools of thought.
- Dharma Dharma is Buddha’s teachings which share that the most important virtues a man can have are: compassion, wisdom, patience, kindness, and generosity. Furthermore, Buddhists are prohibited to lie, steal, commit sexual misconduct, taking dangerous substances, and killing any living thing.
- Karma The doctrine of Karma states that one’s deeds will dictate what becomes of him in the future. So, if a person has committed good deeds, he can expect that the good things he did will be returned to him even in some other form. However, committing bad deeds will result in misfortunes and will cause one to stray far from achieving Enlightenment or Nirvana. According to Buddhists’ beliefs, Karma can befall a person in the life they are living at the moment or the karmic acts will be brought forth into that individual’s next life.
- Four Noble Truths The Four Noble truths explain why humans suffer and are also guiding principles that Buddhists should follow to end their suffering. The Four Noble Truths in Buddhism teach about the truth of suffering in life, that the true cause of suffering is desire, that ending earthly desire leads to ending suffering, and that once one stops ceases to have the earthly desire, so shall their suffering end.
- Eightfold Path And in order to achieve what is stated in the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path is to be followed. The Eightfold Path teaches what should be done in order to achieve wisdom, ethical conduct, and proper mental discipline. It comprises of right understanding, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right source of living, right effort, right mindfulness, and right Samadhi or concentration which is the equivalent of meditation for Buddhists. Following the Eightfold path frees an individual from the endless cycle of reincarnation and suffering, which they call samsara. The Noble Eightfold Path should not be thought of as a set of eight sequential steps, with perfection at one step required before advancing to the next. Rather, these eight components of the path should be thought of as guiding norms of right living that should be followed more or less simultaneously, for the aim of the path is to achieve a completely integrated life of the highest order (Koller, 2007).
- Nirvana Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhists, the state that they wish to achieve. Nirvana is experienced when a person is released from samsara and thus is feeling peace and happiness as he is released from all human sufferings. It is the religious enlightenment that Buddhists are aiming for.
Buddhism, as old as it is, is an extremely complex philosophical belief or religion that inspires even those who do not believe in a divine being to learn about the ways of life that Buddhism offers. Even though the number of Buddhist followers has dwindled over the years because of Christianity and Islam, Buddhism is still considered a powerful religion simply because it holds the fourth place of being the most widely practiced religion in the world.
The beliefs and practices of Buddhism can surely influence and make people reflect upon themselves especially when they encounter the Buddhist belief in Karma. Not a single person would want every bad deed he has done in his life to be given back to him, sometimes even a hundredfold worse. Apart from that, peace and happiness are some of the things humans innately crave, and the desire for life is full of suffering.
The schools of thought and teachings of Buddhism are interesting subjects to write about in your next philosophy paper . Buddhism is considered to be a minefield when a person becomes curious about exploring oneself in search of enlightenment – which is to say peace and happiness. So, if you have ever suffered because you have no idea how to choose an excellent college essay topic , then why not give the subject of Buddhism a try and discover a culture and way of thinking that is new to you? If you still do not know how to start with your paper, then hire a professional writer from us here at CustomEssayMeister where you are reassured to receive a high-quality paper that will wow your teacher.
Need an essay? I can help!
History.com Editors. (2020, July 22). Buddhism . HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/religion/buddhism
Koller, J. M. (2007). Asian Philosophies . Prentice Hall.
Mark, J. J. (2020, September 25). Buddhism . World History Encyclopedia. https://www.worldhistory.org/buddhism/
The history of Buddhism (article) . (n.d.). Khan Academy. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/ancient-medieval/early-indian-empires/a/buddhism-in-indian-culture
Tucci, G. , Kitagawa, . Joseph M. , Snellgrove, . David Llewelyn , Lopez, . Donald S. , Reynolds, . Frank E. and Nakamura, . Hajime (2020, October 30). Buddhism. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism
Vail, L. (n.d.). The Origins of Buddhism . Asia Society. https://asiasociety.org/education/origins-buddhism
more in Research Paper / Religion
- Sample Argumentative Essay: Should Parents Impose Religion On Their Children?
- Sample Expository Essay: Religion and Social Integration
- Sample Argumentative Essay: The Separation of Church and State
- Sample Compare and Contrast Essay: Difference of Agnosticism and Atheism
Let’s get your assignment done!
Buddhism is a religion that began in India over 2,500 years ago, and remains the dominant world religion in the east to this day. Worldwide, there are over 360 million Buddhists, and over one million Buddhists currently living in America. Buddhist culture has been influential to the west, generally in the areas of meditation and nonviolence. Buddhism is based on the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhists believe that suffering is inevitable, but there are ways to end it. Though Buddhism has many different forms with different beliefs, they all share the same core concepts and respect the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism is based on the teachings of an Indian prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who lived around 500 BCE. According to Buddhist tradition,…
Comparison Of Buddhism And Mahayana Buddhism
Christianity, but the one of the oldest and most interesting is Buddhism. Buddhism was founded by Buddha Shakyamuni. He was born as a royal prince in 634 B.C. in what is now Nepal and was given the name Siddhartha. While reliable information is scarce, it is believed that when he was born a holy man prophesied that Siddhartha would either be a great king, a military leader, or a spiritual leader. He was raised in solitude so that he would not see the hardships and pain of the world so that his…
Comparing Theravada Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism And Zen Buddhism
Buddhism can be broken down into main schools all have their own teachings and purposes. The school are Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism and Zen Buddhism I will discuss the similarities and differences. Theravada Buddhism,it is considered the most conservative branch of Buddhism. It is known to be a monastic branch and is very strict, Thereavada is known for sticking to the original teachings of Buddha. According to Theravada Buddhism, one must live ethically, meditate,…
Similarities Between Buddhism And Buddhism
Buddhism and Buddhist practice originated in India and although the idea of the Shakyamuni Buddha were foreign to China, this figure can be distinguished as a Chinese piece of art during the Mid Tang Dynasty through its clothing, patterns and unique medium. Currently found in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Probably Shakyamuni, the Historic Buddha is lifted and sits on top of an elaborately detailed base. The figure sits on a cloth that drapes down and flows over the supporting base. The…
Comparison Of Theravada Buddhism And Mahayana Buddhism
subject that many people talk about and have their own way of thinking. Buddhism and Hinduism are the most two biggest religions in the Eastern world. There are many things to these religions that are important. Loren Eiseley had his own way of thinking. He made books and was into the history of science. He admires and believed in the work of Charles Darwin, so Eiseley believed in the science of things. Buddhism first emerged in the 5th century BCE, and is thought to have been developed by a…
Comparing Buddhism And Middle Road In Buddhism
In Buddhism, people should ignore the suffering and achieve the happiness in spiritual instead. “Middle Road” is the unique Buddhism teaching which is different than other religions. In addition, middle can be describing as upright and neutral attitude in Buddhism. In the process of solving problems, one should always position oneself in the middle road, and make the conclusion by finding the truth. Moreover, “Middle Road” in Buddhism also represents a unique theory and moral value. From my…
The Spread Of Buddhism
Buddhism spans over 2,500 years and is filled with many interesting and different stories. Over it’s history, Buddhism has grown into a range of forms varying from an emphasis on religious rituals and the worship of deities, to rejection of both rituals and deities in favor of pure meditation. All forms of Buddhism share reverence for the teachings of the Buddha, the goal of ending suffering and the cycle of rebirth. Beginning in India, Buddhism flourished, and still remains the dominant…
What Is Buddhism?
The basic belief system of Buddhism revolves around the Four Noble Truths (Jacob’s lecture). The First Noble Truths is that life is marked by suffering. In Hinduism, suffering is known as “dukkha” (Prothero, 177). Prothero expands this meaning by saying “Yet each of us, no matter how rich or poor or powerful or weak, is going to get sick, grow old, and die” (182). The Second Noble Truth is that suffering has an origin (Jacob’s lecture). That origin is the human themselves (Jacob’s lecture).…
Spread Of Buddhism
cultures. As religions transcend in many occasions from there place of origin and take deep roots in another area of the globe. Buddhism is one of those religions that were created in order to deliver a spiritual message and gather a following of individuals to view the faith as the one and only truth. Buddhism began when a man of noble upbringing named Siddhartha Gautama abandoned his luxurious up bringing for a life of teachings and spirituality. From the day he was born a for sear…
Although lower classed people supported and defended Buddhism in China, others with higher social status and elites took a xenophobic position on Buddhism and attempted to eradicate it by pointing out various flaws. As Buddhism spread though China people began to react differently to the new forms of teaching. People who were in lower positions of social hierarchy however, openly accepted Buddhism as a teaching and as a religion. Zhi Dun, states “He will behold the Buddha and be enlightened in…
- Four Noble Truths
- Gautama Buddha
- Noble Eightfold Path
Ready To Get Started?
- Create Flashcards
- Mobile apps
- Cookie Settings
Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices Essay
According to Karen (187), Buddhism is one of the religions that are most prevalent in the Asian subcontinent. It encompasses various traditions and practices, as well as a system of beliefs that are based on the teachings of its founder. The founder of this religion is Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who forsook the throne to be a spiritual leader.
This prince is famously known as the Buddha, which is a Pali or Sanskrit word for “the awakened one” (Lama 22). This is a man who was born into a community that was peripheral to the Asian continent, both in terms of its culture and geographical location. He lived and taught, according to scholars such as Kasulis (49), in the northeastern part of India. The scholars approximate that he lived and taught between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.
Two main classes of this religion are recognized and practiced both in the Indian subcontinent and other parts of the world. The first is what Wynne (73) refers to as the Theravada, or “The School of the Elders”, which is common in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Lama 31).
The second is Mahayana, or “The Great Vehicle”, which is mostly practiced throughout East Asia. It is made up of several traditions, such as the Pure Land, Zen, and Tiantai among others. Some scholars also recognize Vajrayana, which is mostly found in Tibet and Mongolia regions, as another class of Buddhism. However, others conceptualize it as a sub-branch of Mahayana (Wallace 29).
In this paper, the author is going to discuss Buddhism as a religion. Several aspects of the religion will be analyzed to this end. This includes the name of the religion followers, the history and origins of the religion including the founders, the name of the Supreme Being or God, as well as the name of the place of worship for followers of this religion.
Four major beliefs of Buddhism will also be analyzed, as well as two of the most important rituals or observances. Symbols used in the religion will also be highlighted, including their meaning and why they are used. Finally, the researcher will look at 10 key words found in Buddhism and try to define them as accurately as possible.
Name of the Religion’s Followers
A person who practices Buddhism is referred to as a Buddhist. It is noted that to be a Buddhist is to go beyond the mere practicing of the rituals and other activities that goes with religion (Kasulis 55). It is embracing, and being guided by, a set of philosophies that define the way of life. Philosophy can be taken as the “love of wisdom” (Lama 33), and seeing that a Buddhist is always seeking wisdom and enlightenment, Buddhism can then be taken as a philosophy.
A Buddhist is a person who aspires to live by the philosophies of the religion as indicated above. Wynne (73) sums up these philosophies into three. The first involves leading a moral life, which means not prioritizing pleasure in this life. The second philosophy is being mindful and aware of one’s thoughts and actions, or karma, and finally, to seek and develop wisdom and understanding (Wynne 73).
According to Wallace (30), Buddhism is regarded as the fourth largest religion of the world, following Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It is estimated that today, 376 million people around the world are Buddhists. This is a major fete considering the humble beginnings of Buddha, the founder of the religion.
Origins of Buddhism
Like other religions such as Christianity and Islam, the origins of Buddhism can be traced back to a single individual. A discourse on the origins of Buddhism that fails to mention the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, can be taken as an incomplete account of the religion.
Buddha, as indicated in the introductory part of this paper, was born as a prince. His father was the king of the Sakya tribe in latter day’s Nepal, and Buddha was born circa 566 BC (Karen 190). He left his father’s palace at the age of 29, and went to seek out spiritual enlightenment. He became the Buddha after he was enlightened following a long period of meditation.
For almost half a century, Buddha went around the plains of northeastern India teaching people the path or “Dharma” (Kasulis 56) as it was revealed to him during his enlightenment. He developed a band of followers, known as Sangha, which was made up of monks and nuns who came from all the tribes and castes in India. He died at the age of 80 years, leaving behind his followers to continue the teachings. This is the origin of what is today known as Buddhism.
The Name of the Supreme Being
Islam has Allah, Christians have God, and Hindus have Brahma, but what about Buddhists? According to Wallace (33), it is noted that Buddhists, unlike their counterparts in other religions such as Christianity and Islam, have no recognizable Supreme Being or God that they supplicate to.
Buddha, the father of the religion, is not worshipped how Christians worship Christ or Muslims worship Mohammed. In fact, Buddhism scholars acknowledge that Buddha was not a God, and he never made claims to the contrary. He taught his followers on how to identify and follow the path to enlightenment, and this was based on his own experience, as opposed to spiritual revelations (Wynne 55).
Buddhists are not known to pay homage to idols or images representing gods. Buddhist respect images of the Buddha, but it should be noted that it is not in worship or requests for favors (Wynne 55). When a Buddhist bows to a statue of the Buddha, it is not in worship; rather, it is a way of showing their gratitude for the teachings of the enlightened one.
Sacred or Holy Texts of the Buddhist
There are various scriptures and texts that are to be found in this religion. The different schools identified earlier in this paper attach varying levels of importance to these various scriptures.
Most of the texts are written in Pali, Tibetan, Mongolian or Chinese, while others are in the traditional language of Sanskrit (Kasulis 55). There is no single text or scripture that is universal to all Buddhists in the world. Some of the scriptures which are highly revered are the Vinaya Pitaka as well as the first four Nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka, which are common to most adherents of this faith (Kasulis 55).
Place of Worship for the Buddhist
Like their Hindu counterparts, Buddhist worship mainly in a temple. For example, Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya India is built near the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha acquired Nirvana or enlightenment. The Buddhist also practices pilgrimage as a way of following the path.
4 Major Beliefs of Buddhism
This is one of the beliefs of a Buddhist, which is a Sanskrit word for “action or work” (Lama 31). They believe that karma is the force that propels samsara, or the cycle or suffering and rebirth that attends every being on earth.
Buddhist believes that beings go through a process involving succession of lifetimes which takes various forms of “sentient life”, according to Kasulis (55). This is what they refer to as rebirth, where each rebirth process runs through conception to death.
Buddhists also believes that human beings, who falls under the sentient beings classification, seek out pleasure while avoiding pain as they transit from birth to death (Kasulis 43). Samsara refers to the cycle of conditioned existence and suffering that is brought about by the seeking out of pleasure while avoiding pain.
The Four Noble Truths
They also believe in the four noble truths, which are “suffering, the arising of suffering, the end of suffering and the way leading to the end of suffering” (Lama 27).
Rituals and Observances in Buddhism
This is one of the major rituals and practices in Buddhism. It involves a state of meditation, where the Buddhist tries to attain some level of “mindful” awareness.
Refuge in the Three Jewels
This is one of the first steps that a Buddhist is taught in order to be grounded in the faith. The first jewel is the Buddha, who is an individual who has attained nirvana; the second is dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha Gautama, and the Sangha, who are the individuals who have successfully gone through any of the four stages of enlightenment.
Symbols of Buddhism
One of the symbols in Buddhism is the Dharmachakra wheel, which is a representation of the Noble Eightfold Path (Kasulis 55). The other is the wheel of life, which has six realms (Wynne 77). In traditional Tibetan Buddhism, this is represented in a Thangka.
10 Key Words used in Buddhism and their Definition
This is, as earlier explained, action or work
It is a state of enlightenment
This is the wisdom that purifies that mind (Wynne 100), which helps the practitioner to gain spiritual insight into the true nature of all things in the world
This is ethics or morality, avoidance of unwholesome deeds
This refers to speaking the truth and in a non-hurtful manner (Wynne 100)
This is non-harmful way of living
This is the mental discipline that is needed by a Buddhist to acquire mastery over their mind
This is the ability to see things for what they really are, and with a lucid consciousness
Impermanence, meaning that all things are not permanent
Karen, Armstrong. Buddha. London: Penguin Books, 2004.
Kasulis, Titus. Zen as a Social Ethics of Responsiveness. Journal of Buddist Ethics, 22(3), 2009.
Lama, Dalai. The Middle Way. New York: Wisdom Publications, 2009.
Wallace, Griffiths. Buddhism in the World Today. New York: Free Press, 2007.
Wynne, Alexander. The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. London: Routledge, 2007.
- Chicago (A-D)
- Chicago (N-B)
IvyPanda. (2019, May 12). Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-analysis-of-the-religions-faith-and-practices/
"Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices." IvyPanda , 12 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-analysis-of-the-religions-faith-and-practices/.
IvyPanda . (2019) 'Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices'. 12 May.
IvyPanda . 2019. "Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices." May 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-analysis-of-the-religions-faith-and-practices/.
1. IvyPanda . "Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices." May 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-analysis-of-the-religions-faith-and-practices/.
IvyPanda . "Buddhism: Analysis of the Religion’s Faith and Practices." May 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-analysis-of-the-religions-faith-and-practices/.
- Buddhism: Religion or Philosophy
- Religious Studies: Hinduism and Buddhism
- World Religions. Buddhism and Its Teaching
- Karma and Other Concepts in Buddhism
- Buddhism and Hinduism: A Comparative Study
- Karma, Merit, and Rebirth through a Gender Lens
- Buddhism and Hinduism
- Exploring Buddhism: An Introduction to the Chinese Philosophy. In Search for the Enlightenment
- Hinduism and Buddhism: Comparative Analysis
- An Introduction to Buddhism
- Abrahamic Religions: Islam and Judaism
- Difference between Islam and Christianity Essay
- Christianity versus Judaism
- Core Beliefs and Practices of Islam
- Smith, Huston. The Religions of Man
Essay on Buddhism
Students are often asked to write an essay on Buddhism in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.
Let’s take a look…
100 Words Essay on Buddhism
Introduction to buddhism.
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy that emerged from the teachings of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) around 2,500 years ago in India. It emphasizes personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life.
Key Beliefs of Buddhism
Buddhism’s main beliefs include the Four Noble Truths, which explain suffering and how to overcome it, and the Noble Eightfold Path, a guide to moral and mindful living.
Buddhist practices like meditation and mindfulness help followers to understand themselves and the world. It encourages love, kindness, and compassion towards all beings.
Impact of Buddhism
Buddhism has greatly influenced cultures worldwide, promoting peace, non-violence, and harmony. It’s a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of reality.
A collection of top essays on
- great personalities
- science & technology
- society & social issues
- sports & education
- environment, ecology & climate
250 Words Essay on Buddhism
Buddhism, a major world religion, emerged from the profound teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, a prince from the Indian subcontinent, around the 5th century BCE. It is not merely a religion but a philosophy and a way of life, focusing on the alleviation of suffering.
The Four Noble Truths
At the heart of Buddhism lie the Four Noble Truths. The first truth recognizes the existence of suffering (Dukkha). The second identifies the cause of suffering, primarily desire or attachment (Samudaya). The third truth, cessation (Nirodha), asserts that ending this desire eliminates suffering. The fourth, the path (Magga), outlines the Eightfold Path as a guide to achieve this cessation.
The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path, as prescribed by Buddha, is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing individuals from attachments and delusions; ultimately leading to understanding, compassion, and enlightenment (Nirvana). The path includes Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
Buddhists practice meditation and mindfulness to achieve clarity and tranquility of mind. They follow the Five Precepts, basic ethical guidelines to refrain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication.
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of reality. It encourages individuals to lead a moral life, be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and to develop wisdom and understanding. The ultimate goal is the attainment of enlightenment and liberation from the cycle of rebirth and death.
Packed in 152 Informative Pages
500 Words Essay on Buddhism
Buddhism, a religion and philosophy that emerged from the teachings of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), has become a spiritual path followed by millions worldwide. It is a system of thought that offers practical methodologies and profound insights into the nature of existence.
The Life of Buddha
The Buddha, born in the 5th century BCE in Lumbini (present-day Nepal), was a prince who renounced his royal comforts in search of truth. After years of rigorous ascetic practices and meditation, he attained ‘Enlightenment’ under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. His teachings, known as ‘Dhamma,’ are centered around the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, providing a roadmap to end suffering and achieve Nirvana.
The Four Noble Truths are the cornerstone of Buddhism. They outline the nature of suffering (Dukkha), its origin (Samudaya), its cessation (Nirodha), and the path leading to its cessation (Magga). These truths present a pragmatic approach, asserting that suffering is an inherent part of existence, but it can be overcome by following the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path, as taught by Buddha, is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing individuals from attachments and delusions, ultimately leading to understanding, compassion, and enlightenment. It includes Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
Buddhist Schools of Thought
Buddhism evolved into various schools of thought, each interpreting Buddha’s teachings differently. The two main branches are Theravada, often considered the closest to the original teachings, and Mahayana, which includes Zen, Pure Land, and Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayana, often considered part of Mahayana, incorporates esoteric practices and is dominant in Tibet.
Buddhism and Modern Science
The compatibility of Buddhism with modern science has been a topic of interest in recent years. Concepts like impermanence, interconnectedness, and the nature of consciousness in Buddhism resonate with findings in quantum physics, neuroscience, and psychology. This convergence has led to the development of fields like neurodharma and contemplative science, exploring the impact of meditation and mindfulness on the human brain.
Buddhism, with its profound philosophical insights and practical methodologies, continues to influence millions of people worldwide. Its teachings provide a framework for understanding the nature of existence, leading to compassion, wisdom, and ultimately, liberation. As we delve deeper into the realms of modern science, the Buddhist worldview continues to offer valuable perspectives, underscoring its enduring relevance in our contemporary world.
That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.
If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:
- Essay on Books
- Essay on Bipolar Disorder
- Essay on Biology
Apart from these, you can look at all the essays by clicking here .
Easy to understand thank u😍😍🙏🙏🙏
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
- Email Signup
Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology
Buddhism: A Mixed Dharmic Bag: Debates about Buddhism and Ecology
Christopher Ives , Stonehill College
Originally published in the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology
See also “Buddhism and Ecology: Theory and Practice” by Les Sponsel
In recent decades Buddhists have started formulating responses to the climate crisis and other environmental problems. In the months leading up to the 2015 climate conference in Paris, for example, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and other Buddhist leaders signed the “Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders.” In 2009 several eco-Buddhists published an edited volume, A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency , which lead to the formulation of an organization, Ecological Buddhism, and a declaration, “The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change.” Another group of Buddhists, many of whom are connected to Spirit Rock Meditation Center, founded in 2013 the Dharma Teachers International Collaborative on Climate Change and issued a declaration of their own: “The Earth is My Witness.” A third recently-formed organization, One Earth Sangha, takes as its mission “expressing a Buddhist response to climate change and other threats to our home.” A range of other Buddhist organizations and institutions have been offering additional responses to the eco-crisis, including the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (led by Thai Buddhist Sulak Sivaraksa), the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Ordinary Dharma, Green Sangha, the Green Gulch Zen Center north of San Francisco, and the Zen Environmental Studies Institute at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York State, as well as the Boston Research Center for the 21 st Century, Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in New Hampshire, the Sarvodaya Movement in Sri Lanka, the Tesi Environmental Awareness Movement in Tibet (also known as Eco-Tibet), and the headquarters of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Japan. Parallel to the praxis of these groups, eco-Buddhists have published monographs, anthologies, and articles in journals and popular Buddhist publications. What we are seeing in these writings is the emergence of a new theoretical dimension of the Buddhist tradition: environmental ethics.
In this “greening” of Buddhism, eco-Buddhists have tapped an array of sources: texts, doctrines, ethical values, and ritual practices. The arguments and activism of these Buddhists, however, are not without controversy. Critics have claimed, for example, that Buddhism has not been as ecological as some have made it out to be, and that eco-Buddhists are engaging in acts of eisegesis by looking selectively in Buddhist sources to support the environmental ethic they brought to their practice of Buddhism in the first place.
It is important to note that eco-Buddhists are generally focused more on continuing their activism than on responding to the skeptics. In this respect, there is no ongoing debate per se, though several eco-Buddhists have responded to the main criticisms, which concern “interdependence,” identification with nature, Buddhist views of nature, the status of animals, Buddhism in relation to core constructs in Environmental Ethics, and adapted ritual practices.
interdependence and identification
Much of the debate about Buddhism and ecology has centered on interpretations of paṭicca-samuppāda (Skt. pratītya-samutpāda ), which eco-Buddhists often translate as “interdependence” but can be more accurately translated as “dependent origination.” The Buddha reportedly expressed this doctrine as a broad principle: “When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.”  Eco-Buddhists frequently lift up this doctrine in support of their arguments that Buddhism, based on this notion of radical interconnectedness, is ecological and that Buddhist practice fosters a strong awarenss of this interconnection as well as intimacy if not identity with nature. According to leading eco-Buddhist Joanna Macy, the egotistical self is “replaced by wider constructs of identity and self-interest—by what you might call the ecological self or the eco-self, co-extensive with other beings and the life of our planet” (Macy 1990, 53); and this shift “puts one into the world with a livelier, more caring sense of social engagement” (Macy 1991, 190).
Critics have questioned whether recent discourse on “interdependence” accurately represents the Buddhist tradition. According to David McMahan, “The monks and ascetics who developed the concept of dependent origination and its implications saw the phenomenal world as a binding chain, a web of entanglement, not a web of wonderment” (2008, 153), and early Buddhist texts advocate not engagement but “ disengagement from all entanglement in this web” (154). Mark Blum writes that early Buddhists were motivated not “to embrace, revere, or ordain nature, but to remove any and all personal craving for and attachment to nature within themselves so as to become aloof or indifferent ( upekṣa )” (2009, 215). Critics also question claims that awakening to paṭicca-samuppāda leads us automatically to value and care for the world. Christopher Gowans writes, “…why should the realization that we human beings are interdependent parts of the natural world give us reason to value other parts of that world? That all things are interdependent would not seem to establish, all by itself, that these things have some kind of value that we should care about, appreciate or respect” (2015, 287).
The debate about early Buddhist views of the world, however, is not settled. Some have argued that the main thing that early Buddhists were rejecting was not the world or nature per se but certain ways of viewing it, responding to it, and living in it. Gowans writes, “It may be said…that in early Buddhism suffering is not an essential feature of the natural world as such, but of our unenlightened way of experiencing the world. Moreover, enlightenment is not an escape from the natural world, but a non-attached way of living in it (as exemplified by the life of the Buddha)” (2015, 284). From this perspective, nirvana is less a separate, unconditioned realm realized after one steps back from the conditioned world of samsara than a mental state attained when one frees oneself from the “three poisons” of greed, ill-will, and ignorance. This facet of Buddhist thought becomes more pronounced in the emergence of Mahāyāna Buddhism, in which philosophers like Nāgārjuna, with their critique of the distinction between nirvana and samsara, shift the focus from “transcending samsara” to living an “awakened life in the midst of the world” (McMahan 2008, 158). (As we will see, Mahāyāna Buddhists view the conditioned world (of nature) described by the doctrine of paṭicca-samuppāda more positively than early Buddhists did, and it is generally out of this Mahāyāna perspective that eco-Buddhists marshal their arguments.) In short, although the monks who formulated the doctrine of paṭicca-samuppāda may have seen the world as a trap, this does not mean that the doctrine constitutes a negative view of the world.
Rendering paṭicca-samuppāda as “interdependence” has generated derivative statements that have prompted other criticisms. As I have outlined elsewhere (Ives 2009), eco-Buddhist discourse includes claims like “everything, including us, is dependent on everything else” (Loy 2003, 85); “in an undivided world everything miraculously supports everything else” (Batchelor 1992, 35); and “We are born into a world in which all things nurture us” (Aitken 2000, 426). Some eco-Buddhists have also derived from paṭicca-samuppāda a notion of responsibility, making claims like “in being aware of interdependence we also assume responsibility for all that occurs” (Deicke 1990, 166).
We can criticize such claims as these by noting that although things may affect each other, it is not necessarily the case that I depend on everything else or that all things support and nurture me: while I am affected by the destroyed nuclear reactors in Fukushima, they do not support or nurture me and my well-being does not depend on them but depends on my becoming physically in dependent of them. Nor in any intelligible ethical sense do we all have to assume responsibility for everything that happens: Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto did not bear any responsibility for the Holocaust.
Buddhist views of nature
Some eco-Buddhists lift up passages from suttas to claim that from the start Buddhism has valued nature. For example, they point out that early canonical sources celebrate wild places—with their solitude, silence, and abundant examples of impermanence—as good locations for meditative practice. Critics have pointed out, however, that the Pali canon also portrays them as dangerous, for it is there that one encounters large predators like tigers, poisonous snakes and insects, bandits, and others who would do one harm. The preferred nature is a garden or groomed park, and the Cakkavatti-sīhanāda-sutta portrays a future utopia that is more urban than wild, as noted by Ian Harris: “In Jambudvīpa cities and towns are so close to one another that a cock can comfortably fly from one to the next. In this perfect world only urban and suburban environments are left” (Harris 1991, 108). This celebration of groomed gardens and urban utopias amounts to what Lawrence Schmithausen terms the “pro-civilization strand” of early Buddhism (1991, 14-17).
At the very least, however, early Buddhists did not see nature in stark instrumentalist terms as something to be exploited for the sake of building human cities and civilization. David Eckel writes, “one does not attempt to dominate or destroy nature (in the form of either animals or plants) in order to seek a human good” (1997, 337). “But,” Eckel continues, “neither is the wild and untamed aspect of nature to be encouraged or cultivated. The natural world functions as a locus and an example of the impermanence and unsatisfactoriness of death and rebirth. The goal to be cultivated is not wildness in its own right but a state of awareness in which the practitioner can let go of the ‘natural’—of all that is impermanent and unsatisfactory—and achieve the sense of peace and freedom that is represented by the state of nirvāṇa . One might say that nature is not to be dominated but to be relinquished in order to become free” (337).
This view of nature, however, is found mainly in early Buddhism rather than in the frameworks from which many eco-Buddhists are operating: Mahāyāna texts and East Asian Buddhism. These strands of Buddhism offer a view of nature that differs from what we have sketched thus far. The Avataṃsaka -s ūtra , for example, formulates a notion of interconnection through the metaphor of Indra’s Net and lifts up the seeker Sudhana, who has “a vision of the entire cosmos within the body of the Buddha Mahāvairocana,” becomes one with that cosmic buddha, and thereby stands as the prime example of “the identification of a person with a being who is the universe itself or with the underlying reality of things.” (McMahan 2008, 158). This interpretation of dependent origination, more positive view of the world, and advocacy of identification with the world helped shape Zen Buddhism and, by extension, Thich Nhat Hanh’s argumentation about “interbeing” as foundation for ecological awareness and compassionate responsiveness to suffering.
Eco-Buddhists also draw upon such East Asian resources as hermitage traditions, the celebration of nature in arts influenced by Buddhism, and discourse on the Zen-inspired love of nature ostensibly felt by the Japanese.  Also, as is the case with early Buddhism, many East Asian Buddhists value natural settings as good places for contemplative practice and as a bountiful source of symbols for Buddhist teachings like impermanence. Granted, this is, strictly speaking, a kind of instrumental value rather than intrinsic value, but nature is indeed being valued and the view of the natural world as dangerous, ensnaring, or unsatisfactory has dropped largely out of the picture.
the status of animals
Eco-Buddhists have lifted up the Jātaka Tales , with an array of virtuous animals, as granting value and dignity to non-human species. They have also cited Buddhist texts that establish a kinship between humans and animals; the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra , for example, in admonishing Buddhists not to eat meat, includes the passage, “In the long course of rebirth there is not one among living beings with form who has not been mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter, or some other relative. Being connected with the process of taking birth, one is kin to all wild and domestic animals, birds, and beings born from the womb” (Swearer 2001, 227). Eco-Buddhists have argued that this intimate karmic connection between humans and animals provides a basis for valuing animals.
Scholars have pointed out, however, that in most Buddhist texts animals are portrayed as intellectually and morally inferior to humans and exist as one of the three “unfortunate” types of rebirth; they do not restrain their desires, they can be malevolent when they prey on other animals, and they lead an unhappy existence (Schmithausen 1991, 16). As such, Ian Harris writes, “beyond the fact that they appear to be beings destined for final enlightenment, they have no intrinsic value in their present form” (1995, 107). In response, Donald Swearer has argued that Harris’s “position is founded on too narrow a construction of the Buddhist view of nature and animals based on a selective reading of particular texts and traditions” and that Harris needs to take into account the Jātaka Tales , which do value animals (1997, 39). Gowans and Harris point out, however, that the animals in these stories are anthropomorphized and function to motivate humans to cultivate virtues like compassion. Gowans comments that these tales use the device of “depicting various living beings as proxies for human beings,” and “These are mainly morality tales about human beings…” (2015, 282). Harris claims that “the often highly anthropomorphic character of the essentially pre-Buddhist folk-tradition of the Jātakas may be said to empty the stories of any ‘naturalistic’ content, thus defeating the intention of those who bring them forward as evidence in support of an authentic Buddhist environmentalist ethic” (2000, 121). Moreover, “in the Jātaka context the animals are not animals at all in any accepted sense of the term, for at the end of each story the Buddha reveals that the central character was none other than himself, the bodhisattva , in a former life” (Harris 2000, 121).
Even so, one might respond, animals are viewed there not as mere objects but as sentient beings with at least some value, even if the tradition did not—until recently—build on this to argue in a systematic way for the protection, moral standing, or rights of animals.
Buddhism in relation to Environmental Ethics
Overlapping with the debate about the proper connotation and denotation of core Buddhist doctrines like paṭicca-samuppāda has been a debate about Buddhism and Environmental Ethics in the formal sense. Some critics have argued that Buddhism is ill-equipped to argue for the sorts of things that typically appear as cornerstones of philosophical and religious formulations of environmental ethics, whether rights, intrinsic value, or the sanctity of nature.
Some Buddhist writers have made claims about animal rights. Philip Kapleau, for example, has written, about the rights animals “undeniably have” (1986, 13). Critics have raised the issue of what might be a legitimate Buddhist basis for claims about the possession of rights, given the Buddhist rejection of the soul and any other sort of separate, atomistic existence apart from the web of changing relationships that constitute things. In response, eco-Buddhists have argued that intrinsic value and moral standing derive from sentience, especially the ability to feel pain and suffer in a significant sense. Others have looked to buddha-nature, but Buddhists do not agree on the connotation and scope of this construct. Some think of it as the potential to become awakened while others see it as an inherent awakening. Early Buddhists ascribed it only to (sentient) animals, not to (insentient) plants, while some in East Asia extended the scope to plants and even to inorganic things like rocks and waters. Some eco-Buddhists have celebrated this broad attribution of buddha-nature as a powerful ethical resource, but in terms of the doctrine’s usefulness for environmental ethics, we must address the issue of what “the view of the presence of Buddha-Nature even in plants, mountains, and rivers entails for practical behavior” (Schmithausen 1991, 24).
Entering this debate, one can argue that rather than forcing Buddhism to fit into received categories and frameworks in environmental ethics (or Western philosophical ethics more broadly), eco-Buddhists might remain true to their tradition and still construct a viable environmental ethic by taking as their primary focus the alleviation of suffering of humans and other sentient beings, or in positive terms, the promotion of their sustained well-being, which is contingent upon certain types of ecosystems.
Of course, focusing on humans and other sentient beings lands us in the arena of the debate about the respective values of individuals and the wholes of which they are part, that is to say, the ongoing debate in Environmental Ethics between individualism and holism. In large part Buddhist ethical concern—expressed through such doctrines as non-harming, loving-kindness, compassion, and the bodhisattva ideal—is directed toward individual suffering beings, not groups, species, or wholes like ecosystems.
In general, however, while they may not agree on whether the main Buddhist ethic is a virtue ethic or a form of utilitarianism, scholars and Buddhists tend agree that central Buddhist virtues—or to put it in a way that is more faithful to Buddhism, wholesome mental states—do offer resources for environmental ethics in several senses, especially the informal sense of “sets of beliefs, values, and guidelines that get put into practice in attempts to live in an ecological manner” (Ives 2013, 544). As I have outlined elsewhere (2013), Buddhism offers a view of flourishing that is based on the cultivation of an array of “wholesome” mental states and values with clear environmental ramifications: generosity, non-acquisitiveness, simplicity, frugality, restraint, contentment, loving-kindness, non-harming, and mindfulness.
Simply put, as humanity faces the eco-crisis, Buddhism offers a value system and way of living that not only lead to greater fulfillment than materialist and consumerist living does but also prove useful for mitigating such problems as global warming and adapting to a new world in which we will all be forced to live more simply. That being said, Stephanie Kaza has laid the groundwork for an important debate with a remark about one of the Buddhist values often lifted up in eco-Buddhist discourse: “The practice of detachment to hobble the power of desire could actually work against such environmental values as ‘sense of place’ and ‘ecological identity’” (2006, 201).
While the de facto virtue ethic of Buddhism does offer resources for ecological living, the discipline of Ethics features an ongoing debate about the limitations of virtue ethics—Buddhist or otherwise—in responding to urgent problems like the climate crisis. Though the cultivation of a virtuous character over the course of a lifetime may very well lead to a more sustainable way of being, it does not readily prompt the kind of immediate response that the climate crisis calls for, nor does it offer much help in making decisions about what might be most effective response to the climate crisis and other environmental problems.
adapted ritual practices
In addition to tapping Buddhist metaphysical constructs, texts, and values, eco-Buddhists have reformulated ritual practices, invented new practices, or simply engaged in activism in response to environmental problems,  and these efforts have spawned debates as well. Buddhists in Thailand have been debating the practice of ordaining trees as a way to protect them from logging and protect rural farming communities that depend on forests. This practice, originating in the 1980s, immediately caused backlash from developers and government officials whose profits, power, and agendas were threatened by the practice. Critics among the laity and the sangha administration have claimed that the environmentalist monks performing the rituals cannot ordain trees, for ordination rituals can be done only for humans (Darlington 2012), and that political and economic activism is inappropriate for monks and reduces their purity. In particular, as Sue Darlington points out, the ordinations “challenge what people consider sacred—placing trees on the same level as monks goes against the sacred and social hierarchy in place” (2012, 23).
This debate in Thailand is part of a larger debate about the appropriateness of Buddhist activism. Over the years this author has heard Zen masters and other Buddhist teachers advocate that their students devote their efforts to intensive meditative practice and defer social activism until after they have woken up or at least reach advanced stages on the Buddhist path. Some have even said that if one tries to save the world before extricating oneself from the self-centered ego, one will only end up making things worse. As part of a critique of broader “Engaged Buddhism,” some have also argued that eco-Buddhism is a watering down of Buddhism insofar as it draws attention away from sustained wrestling with existential suffering and directs it to political agitation.
An eco-Buddhist might respond to this criticism by noting that existential suffering is not the only form of suffering that the Buddha took seriously, and working to reduce social, economic, and other forms of suffering through activism falls within the scope of the foundation Buddhist commitment to reduce suffering in all of its forms.
Perhaps the harshest criticism to date in the debate about Buddhism and ecology has come from Ian Harris, who once wrote that eco-Buddhism consists primarily of “exogenous elements somehow tacked on to a traditional Buddhist core which is incapable, without modification, of responding to the present environmental crisis” (1995, 206). Granted, some eco-Buddhists may be misconstruing doctrines, but most are simply reinterpreting them in response to the eco-crisis, and this hermeneutic should not be dismissed out of hand. In some respects they are doing the “modification” that Harris mentions, and in most cases what we are seeing are reinterpretations of doctrines and practices in ways that at the very least do not contravene the overall Buddhist worldview and may actually be drawing out its ecological ramifications in a legitimate exegetical manner. In this respect eco-Buddhists are engaging in the sort of intellectual labor that, for example, biblical theologians have been doing for centuries as they look selectively in the Bible for passages that support the constructive argument they are making (and defending as consistent with what they take to be the core principles of Judaism or Christianity) in response to challenges they have faced in their particular historical situations. For example, many sections of the Bible accept—or at least do not reject—slavery, but this does not mean that anti-slavery arguments that have tapped other parts of the Bible are illegitimate. Likewise, the presence of negative views of wild nature and animals in early Buddhist texts does not in and of itself delegitimize theorizing that draws from other resources in those—or other—Buddhist texts (though it does undermine broad claims like “Buddhism is an ecological religion” or “Buddhists have always revered nature”).
Like other religious traditions, then, Buddhism has continuously changed as its beliefs and practices have been reinterpreted in different cultural contexts and historical moments. So as David McMahan points out,
Simply to dismiss the current environmental and ethical discourse of Buddhist interdependence as an inadequate representation of traditional Buddhism…would fail to take seriously the process of modernity as it manifests itself on the ground…. Like virtually all normative religious reflection, this discourse is practitioners’ constructive response to an unprecedented situation, not a historiographical endeavor. Pointing out the incongruities between ancient and modern cosmologies, while crucial, is not more historically important than showing how the often radical reconstitution of doctrine in terms of present circumstances has attempted to bridge these incongruities. The history of religions is precisely the history of such reconstitutions of doctrine and practice, which are themselves reconstitutions of prior versions (2008, 180)
It is also important to note that some of the most important eco-Buddhists doing this modification and reinterpretation are not convert Buddhists who might be bringing exogenous elements from their Christian, Jewish, or leftist roots to bear on Buddhism but rather renowned Asian Buddhists who were brought up in the Buddhist tradition, such as the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhadasa, and Sulak Sivaraksa. Harris seems to assume that eco-Buddhists are all Western converts or simply people approaching Buddhism from typically Western perspectives, but this is clearly not the case (even allowing for some degree of Western influence on Asian eco-Buddhists). For this reason, the argument that “much that masquerades under the label of eco-Buddhism…on analysis, turns out to be an uneasy partnership between Spinozism, New Age religiosity and highly selective Buddhism” (2000, 132) does not do justice to the full scope of eco-Buddhism.
At the same time, eco-Buddhists, or at least those focused on theory more than praxis, have much intellectual labor to do. For example, work needs to be done to clarify the exact resources that the doctrine of dependent origination offers. As a metaphysical construct, it does highlight how we are all embedded in nature and our actions affect everything around us and everything affects us, but, this process of interrelating or “interbeing” pertains to all configurations of reality, whether a relatively pristine wilderness area or a nuclear reactor that is melting down. For this reason, if we are to avoid the naturalistic fallacy of conflating the “is” and the “ought,” and if we are to make wise decisions, we need to make distinctions between various configurations (such as the pristine wilderness area, the lethal reactor, this or that economic system, this or that way of living) by considering which are desirable or optimal and which are to be mitigated or eliminated. Some eco-Buddhists have begun addressing this question (Jones 1993, 2003; Loy 2003; Kaza 2008; Ives 2000, 2011), and as their formulations become more systematic we can expect further debates.
Aitken, Robert (2000). “Envisioning the Future.” In Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism , edited by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft, 423-438. Boston: Shambhala.
Batchelor, Stephen (1992). “The Sands of the Ganges: Notes towards a Buddhist Ecological Philosophy.” In Buddhism and Ecology , edited by Martine Batchelor and Kerry Brown, 31-49. New York: Cassell Publishers.
Blum, Mark. “The Transcendentalist Ghost in EcoBuddhism.” In TransBuddhism: Transmission, Translation, Transformation , edited by Nalini Bhushan, Jay Garfield, and Abraham Zablocki, 209-238. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.
Darlington, Susan M. (2012). The Ordination of a Tree: The Thai Buddhist Environmental Movement . Albany: State University of New York Press.
Deicke, Carla. “Women and Ecocentricity.” In Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism and Ecology , edited by Alan Hunt Badiner, 165-68. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1990.
de Silva, Lily (2000). “Early Buddhist Attitudes toward Nature.” In Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism , edited by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft, 91-103. Boston: Shambhala Publications.
Eckel, Malcolm David (1997). “Is There a Buddhist Philosophy of Nature.” In Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds , edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryūken Williams, 327-349. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Gowans, Christopher W. (2015). Buddhist Moral Philosophy: An Introduction . New York: Routledge.
Harris, Ian (2000). “Buddhism and Ecology.” In Contemporary Buddhist Ethics , edited by Damien Keown, 113-135. London: Curzon Press.
_____ (1995). “Buddhist Environmental Ethics and Detraditionalisation: The Case of Eco-Buddhism.” Religion 25, no. 3 (July 1995): 199-211.
_____ (1991). “How Environmentalist is Buddhism?” Religion 21: 101-114.
Ives, Christopher. (2009). “In Search of a Green Dharma: Philosophical Issues in Buddhist Environmental Ethics.” In Destroying Mara Forever: Buddhist Ethics Essays in Honor of Damien Keown , edited by Charles Prebish and John Powers, 165-185. Ithaca NY: Snow Lion Publications.
_____ (2005). “Japanese Love of Nature.” In The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature , vol. 1, edited by Bron R. Taylor, 899-900. New York: Thoemmes Continuum.
_____ (2011). “Liberation from Economic Dukkha: A Buddhist Critique of the Gospels of Growth and Globalization in Dialogue with John Cobb.” In The World Market and Interreligious Dialogue , edited by Catherine Cornille and Glenn Willis, 107-127. Eugene OR: Cascade Books.
_____ (2013). “Resources for Buddhist Environmental Ethics.” Journal of Buddhist Ethics 20: 541-571.
_____ (1992). Zen Awakening and Society . London and Honolulu: Macmillan and the University of Hawai’i Press.
Jones, Ken (1993). Beyond Optimism: A Buddhist Political Ecology . Oxford: Jon Carpenter Publishing.
_____ (2003). The New Social Face of Buddhism: A Call to Action . Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Kapleau, Philip (1986). To Cherish All Life: A Buddhist Case for Becoming Vegetarian. Rochester: Rochester Zen Center.
Kaza, Stephanie (2006). “The Greening of Buddhism: Promise and Perils.” In The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology , edited by Roger S. Gottlieb, 184-206. New York: Oxford University Press.
_____ (2008). Mindfully Green: A Personal and Spiritual Guide to Whole Earth Thinking . Boston: Shambhala.
Loy, David R. (2003). The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory . Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Macy, Joanna (1990). “The Greening of the Self.” In Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism and Ecology , edited by Allan Hunt Badiner, 53-63. Berkeley: Parallax Press.
_____ (1991). World as Lover, World as Self . Berkeley: Parallax Press.
McMahan, David L. (2008). The Making of Buddhist Modernism . New York: Oxford University Press.
Schmithausen, Lambert (1991). Buddhism and Nature . Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies.
Swearer, Donald K. (1997). “The Hermeneutics of Buddhist Ecology in Contemporary Thailand: Buddhadāsa and Dhammapiṭaka.” In Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds , edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryūken Williams, 21-44. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
_____ (2001). “Principles and Poetry, Places and Stories: The Resources of Buddhist Ecology.” Daedalus 130, no. 4 (Fall 2001): 225-241.
 This appears, for example, in the eleventh section of the Bahudhātuka Sutta in the Majjhima Nikākaya . Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trs. (2001), The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya (Boston: Wisdom Publications), 927.
 Technically, as several of us have pointed out, in Japan the nature that is valued and loved most is a tamed, distilled, miniaturized, and stylized nature, not wild creatures, ecosystems, or the wilderness (Ives 2005, 900).
 For example, see Kaza 2000 and Swearer 1997 and 2001.
Header photo : Paro Taktsang Buddhist Monastery, Paro Valley, Bhutan