Religion Essay Example: Tenets of Buddhism

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Buddhism refers to a religion of Eastern and Central Asia based on the principle teachings of Siddhartha Gautama that suffering is essential in life and can only get freed from it by instilling concentration, wisdom, and virtue. Tenets of Buddhism refer to the basic principles, teachings or beliefs about Buddhism that are held to be true. Siddhartha Gautama which got later called Buddha' meaning awakened one' after he came to terms with the nature of life, existence, and death. The common threads of Buddhism compose of the three jewels, for example, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and also the goal of nirvana. Dharma is a word with different definitions in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. In Buddhism, Dharma refers to truth and get held in high regard as one of the three jewels. Nirvana refers to the spiritual enlightenment and release from human anger, suffering, and lust. One way to nirvana is following the 8-fold path as all the eight paths show the right direction and also the 8-fold path is one of Buddha's four noble truths. (Burton, Marti, and Linda J. M. Ludwig,3)

Buddhism is so different from other religions. Its non theistic as compared to other religions, the Buddha taught that believing in gods was not crucial for people trying to realize enlightenment. The Buddha also taught how to discern truth for oneself instead of offering doctrines to be accepted and memorized as done by other religions. Their practices and beliefs always define most faiths, but in Buddhism, the Buddha taught that beliefs or doctrines should not be readily accepted just because they get taught by priests. (Haldeman-Julius, E,4).


Buddhism became categorized into two primary schools about 2000 years ago: Mahayana and Theravada. The two schools differ mainly in their understanding of a belief named anatman' or anata.' According to this belief, there is no self in the sense of integral, permanent and autonomous being within an individual existence. Mahayana school is dominant in China, Tibet, Taiwan, Nepal, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Mongolia and also in India. It gets further divided into many sub-schools, for example, Theravada Buddhism and Pure Land. Theravada school has mainly been a dominant form of Buddhism in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and lastly in Myanmar. Vajrayana Buddhism which gets mostly associated with Tibetan Buddhism gets sometimes considered as a third major school, but all of the Vajrayana schools are also part of Mahayana school of Buddhism. Understanding the teachings of anatman is very important to making meaning of Buddhism.Theravada takes anatman to refer that an individual's personality is a delusion and once liberated from this ego, the individual can enjoy the bliss of Nirvana. Mahayana, on the other hand, suggests that all phenomena are free of intrinsic identity and thus take the identity only to other phenomena. (Kozak, Arnold, 6) There is only relativity as there is neither reality nor unreality and this Mahayana teaching get commonly referred to as shunyata' meaning emptiness.


Although individuals should not readily accept Buddhist teachings without confirmation, understanding of what the Buddha taught is very essential. The foundation of Buddhism get based on the Four Noble Truths:

The truth of suffering [ dukkha ] the first noble truth implies that life is suffering as it consists of pain, both physical, emotional and psychological distress for example frustration, loneliness, and anger. Through this, Buddhism presents solutions on how one can be happy despite the sufferings in life that he or she is facing.

The truth of the causes of pain [ samudaya] suffering is caused by the craving and lusting of individuals to possess whatever they lack or to conform to their expectations.Acquiring whatever you crave for guarantees suffering as one has to struggle through all circumstances to get whatever they want. A lifetime of wanting and especially when powerful energy is involved causes the individual to be born.

The truth of the end of suffering [nirhodha] the third truth says that pain can be overcome by giving up useless cravings and desires of the past or the imagined future and thus through being satisfied, one can be happy and contented.

The truth of the part that frees us from suffering [ magga ] the fourth noble fact is that the noble 8-fold path is the right way to eliminating human pain, anger, and lust. EXAMPLES OF BUDDHISM PRACTICES:

1. Cultivation of wisdom, compassion, and loving kindness.

2. Observance of moral values.

3. Study of the scriptures.

4. Renunciation of attachment and craving.

5. Taking refuge in dharma, Buddha, and the Sangha.

6. The Practice of meditation.


1. Avoiding sexual misconduct this precept not only relates to sexual misconduct but also overindulgence in any sexual pleasure, e.g., gluttony.

2. Refraining from false speech this doctrine covers slander, avoiding lying and even address that is not important to other people's welfare.

3. To undertake training to avoid taking the life of beings- it applies to all living things not only humans as every living thing has a right to life and should be respected.

4. To undertake training to abstain from things that cause harm or intoxication.

5. Conducting training to avoid anything not given to us - this precept goes beyond mere stealing, individuals should avoid taking things unless they are sure the items are intended for them.

Wisdom and compassion are believed to be the two pillars of Buddhism. Wisdom, especially in Mahayana Buddhism, refers to the realization of shunyata or anatman. Compassion has two words translated from it; metta and Karuna.' Metta refers to the equal treatment towards all beings without discrimination. Karuna refers to the willingness to bear other people's pain, pity for others and also active sympathy and gentle affection. (Sakya, Madhusudan, 6) FACTORS OF ENLIGHTENMENT IN BUDDHISM.

1. Energy the desire for enlightenment requires tireless power, strength, and courage.

2. Tranquility refers to the calmness of consciousness and body. It cannot be forced and thus arises naturally.

3. Equanimity- refers to the state of not being pulled this way or the other way by what you like or hate.

4. Concentration- refers to the ability of one o focus his or her all minds onto one mental or physical object.

5. Happiness- craving for things outside our reach binds us to suffer, and thus, therefore, it denies us happiness.

6. Investigation- the Buddha taught that his teachings should not be blindly memorized or believed but instead one should investigate the teachings to realize the truth or meaning of them by themselves.

7. Mindfulness- refers to a whole body and mind awareness of the present moment.

Work cited

Burton, Marti, and Linda J. M. Ludwig. Fundamentals of Nursing Care: Concepts, Connections & Skills. , 2014. Internet resource.

Haldeman-Julius, E. The Essence of Buddhism. , 2012. Internet resource.

Kozak, Arnold. The Everything Buddhism Book: A Complete Introduction to the History, Traditions, and Beliefs of Buddhism, Past, and Present. Avon, Mass: Adams Media, 2011. Print.

Sakya, Madhusudan. Current Perspectives in Buddhism: A World Religion. New Delhi: Cyber Tech Publications, 2011. Print.

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