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Buddhism is a religion which is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the son of a wealthy
landowner born in northern India around 560 B.C. In order to achieve siritual eace, Gautama
renounced his worldly advantages and became !nown as Buddha, or "the enlightened one". #e reached
his religious views his entire life throughout South $sia.
%he story of Gautama&s ath to enlightenment has mythological 'uality. %he son of a ruler, a rohecy at
the time of his birth said that he would be a great !ing if he stayed at home, but would become a
saviour for man!ind if he were to leave home. %herefore, his father !et him at home and surrounded
him with all the worldly leasures a boy could want, and !et all ainful and ugly things out of his sight.
Gautama eventually married and fathered a son, but still had not left his father&s alace. (ne day, he
told his father that he wished to see the world. %his e)cursion would change his life, for during this
*ourney, he saw the "four assing sights". +ven though his father had ordered the streets to be cleaned
and decorated and all elderly or infirmed eole hidden, some eole did not listen. Gautama saw a
decreit old man, and learned for the first time that everyone someday becomes old. ,e)t, he met a
sic! man, who taught him that eole are liable to sic!ness and suffering. #e saw a funeral rocession
which taught him that eole die. -astly, he saw a mon! begging for food. #e longed for the tran'uillity
which he saw on the mon!&s face and decided this was the lifestyle for him. #e left his father, wife, and
son to live on the streets and meditate.
.hile in meditation, he reached the highest degree of God/consciousness, nirvana. #e stayed under a fig
tree which was later called the bodhi or bo tree 0the tree of wisdom1 for seven days. 2uring this time,
he learned truths which he, Buddha, would imart to the world until his death at age 30.
Buddhism became a strong force in India before Buddha&s death. %he diffusion of Buddhism, however,
was limited until the Indian emeror $so!a became a convert and suorted missionary activities. Soon,
Buddhism became established in China, 4aan, 5orea, and Southeast $sia, where it is most racticed
today. #induism is now the redominant Indian religion.
6. %he 7irst ,oble %ruth
%he 7irst ,oble %ruth is the e)istence of suffering. Birth is ainful and death is ainful8 disease and old
age are ainful. ,ot having what we desire is ainful and having what we do not desire is also ainful.
9. %he Second ,oble %ruth
%he Second ,oble %ruth is the cause of suffering. It is the craving desire for the leasures of the senses,
which see!s satisfaction now here, now there8 the craving for hainess and roserity in this life and in
future lives.
:. %he %hird ,oble %ruth
%he %hird ,oble %ruth is the ending of suffering. %o be free of suffering one must give u, get rid of8
e)tinguish this very craving, so that no assion and no desire remain.
;. %he 7ourth ,oble %ruth
%he 7ourth ,oble %ruth leads to the ending of all ain by way of the +ightfold <ath.
=eligion Studies //////// Buddhism +mily >eers 9005
6. =ight ?iews@ Aou must accet the 7our ,oble %ruths and the +ightfold <ath.
9. =ight =esolve@ Aou must renounce the leasures of the senses8 you must harbour no ill will toward
anyone and harm no living creature.
:. =ight Seech@ 2o not lie8 do not slander or abuse anyone. 2o not indulge in idle tal!.
;. =ight Behaviour@ 2o not destroy any living creature8 ta!e only what is given to you8 do not commit
any unlawful se)ual act.
5. =ight (ccuation@ Aou must earn your livelihood in a way that will harm no one.
6. =ight +ffort@ Aou must resolve and strive heroically to revent any evil 'ualities from arising in you
and to abandon any evil 'ualities that you may ossess. Strive to ac'uire good 'ualities and
encourage those you do ossess to grow, increase, and be erfected.
B. =ight Contemlation@ Be observant, strenuous, alert, contemlative, and free of desire and of
3. =ight >editation@ .hen you have abandoned all sensuous leasures, all evil 'ualities, both *oy and
sorrow, you must then enter the four degrees of meditation, which are roduced by concentration.
6. 5ill no living thing
9. 2o not steal
:. 2o not commit adultery
;. %ell no lies
5. 2o not drin! into)icants or ta!e drug
6. +at moderately and only at the aointed time
9. $void that which e)cites the senses
:. 2o not wear adornments
;. 2o not slee in lu)urious beds
5. $ccet no silver or gold
=eligion Studies //////// Buddhism +mily >eers 9005