One of the most interesting tutorial session we had, was the one which our respected lecturer Mr. John discussed the world religions. He clearly explained the largest world religions using mind map and I have learnt some religions which I have never heard before. He then asked to choose and write about one religion so I have chosen Buddhism since I have many Buddhist friends I wanted to learn something about their religion. I have done a lot from reading papers to sharing information with friends to find out and learn this religion.
Buddhism currently has about 376 million followers and is generally listed as the world’s fourth largest religion after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It was founded in Northern India by Siddhartha Gautama (circa 563 to 460 BCE) and has spread into much of the Far East. It is making major inroads into North America. It is derived from or based on teaching of Siddhartha Gautama or commonly known as Buddha. It has all the elements of a religion like faith, belief and self-transformation. Like any other people in any other religion Buddhists join the religion to improve their life, their self as well as their moral conduct to take a greater comfort in life.
The main aims of this religion gone through three levels: first changing person’s ethical conduct or behavior; second is changing their beliefs and attitudes; third through mediation the attainment of wisdom and merit. This three are very essential to transform its followers to better people. Buddhism followers believe someone to meet Buddha and follow his example; he/she should realize that that Buddha taught. This path primarily is a study of your own mind and a system of training your mind. This path is spiritual not religious. If people achieve following this path, the Buddhists believe that particular person has achieve “Enlightenment”.
I really wondered this and for my point of perspective it looked like that everyone seems to be his/her own God since they should find their own path of enlightenment. Nevertheless, I did not hesitate but I asked one of my Buddhist friends, and thanks to her she explained to me well. She said that enlightenment is something that all humans can achieve and it’s the bases of this religion.
One of the most important aspects that Buddhists differ from my religion and many other religions is that there is no Almighty God to be obeyed in Buddhism. And the Buddha himself does not believe in a cosmic potentate, omniscient and omnipresent. In Buddhism there are no divine revelations or divine messengers. A Buddhist is, therefore, not subservient to any higher supernatural power which controls his destinies and which arbitrarily rewards and punishes. Since Buddhists do not believe in revelations of a divine being Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or mediating priests.
Many people claim that Buddhism is not a religion and they describe it as a philosophy. Those people argue that since Buddhism does not usually involve belief in supernatural powers it could not be considered as a religion. But I believe it could be considered because it has various forms which share a system of thought that is considered to be the highest truth. It involves moral codes, practices, values, traditions and rituals. In addition to this, they do not follow daily or timely religious practices but everyone does his own way to ensure that he/she achieve the Enlightenment and follows the path of Buddha.
Lastly but not certainly the least, the most interesting thing that I learned from this was, Buddhism does not believe the existence of superb power. Therefore, from this point, without harming my Buddhist friends it really seems unconvincing to believe such that, because there must a powerful God which creates the world. We cannot simply say it is just there, so what I think is that Buddhists should try to find an answer for this question. In addition to this, it is really hard for me to accept rules from someone who is equal to us, what I mean here is that since all humans are equal, do not the followers need to ask whether Buddha was right or wrong. Hence, I am suggesting to Buddhists to try to find out more about the creation of the world. I hope my suggestion will not harm anyone one.