The term Buddha is derived from the root word “vbudh” which means “to awaken or to be enlightened”; it is from ancient Indian languages “Pali” and “Sanskrit” which means “one who has become awake”. It denotes a person which have been many instances in the course of vast time, not just a person or a teacher who lived in a particular era. It is also a person who has truly awakened the true nature of existence. And based on the teachings of Siddharta Gautama (6th century BCE), Buddhism is both a religion and philosophy. Buddhist practices aims to “become free from suffering”, egolessness, and achieve enlightenment and Nirvana (paradise).Buddhist moralities follow the principles of harmlessness and moderation. Siddharta Gautama is a prince in the kingdom of Magadha (Nepal) who abandoned his rank, privileges, and even his wife and child; in search for an answer of the true existence in life. He is someone who did not claim any divine status or heroic symbol for himself. He also did not claim himself a personal savior inspired by Gods but rather, a teacher who guides those who chose to listen. Siddharta found difficulties in his life, dissatisfying himself with his needs, and while abandoning hi life to become an austere.
According to Buddhist writings, Siddahrta was first enlightened during the time of his meditation. After doing continuous mediation, he performed his first sermon, which would be important in understanding the ideas held by Buddhism. Buddhism originated in India, and gradually spread throughout Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asian countries including Japan, Korea, Mongolia and China. Up to these days, there are schools and practitioners from different part of the globe that still spread the word of Buddhism and teaches their followers to always perform good and wholesome actions and to avoid harm to others. For them, that this is the true meaning of enlightenment and existence. As Buddhism in India grow in large number, many people readily converted from Hinduism to Buddhism to achieve “enlightenment”.
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For them, being one follower of Buddha is easier because it does not require any traditions or set of Gods. Buddhist shrines were built but after a few centuries, Islam destroyed it. A great impact to Buddhism happened in India when Dalit (untouchable caste) leader converted from Hinduism to Buddhism which led hundreds of thousands away from Hinduism. After a millennium of Buddha’s death, Chinese adapted Buddhism to suit their old traditions of Taoism and Confucianism. But, as a way of Buddhism practices and beliefs, there are some differences between Buddhism in China and India.
First one is that Chinese do believe in souls while Indians don’t. Second is that, Indians are disgusted with the dead, while Chinese praised and worship the dead and images of loved ones. But, whatever their differences are, according to Buddhism, no religion is “wrong”, any person of other religion can also be termed Buddhist, because all will lead to “enlightenment”. No rules are set to which God to worship, or what to do to achieve enlightenment. Both Chinese and Indians appreciate and follow the writings of Buddha, and adhere with his state of mind. The transformation of Buddhism
Buddhism plays a very significant role in the history of Asia. It caused changes in some other realms of cultural identity. Soon after, Buddhism was already starting to transformations in the Indian lifestyle. Though Buddhism is worldwidely known, it also encountered criticisms form its skeptics. If analyzed, it could be realized that Buddhism is not just as a religion, but it is also a phenomenon on different aspects like social and cultural. During those times, the most promising aspect of Buddhism is cosmology that was widely used in the ancient Indian.
This includes the beliefs of karma as the one that dictates one’s next life and samsara as the transmigration if souls by means of birth and rebirth. Cosmology has become a significant concept that affected art, social life and different challenges in the social life. It can be concluded that the almost everything in Buddhism, its roots, origin of popularity first existed in India. One of its most significant motivations is its indiscriminate ideology for male and female, educated and illiterate, etc.
Buddhism also put high regards in a path when he concluded that there is no wrong or harm in praising and honoring gods, or even practicing rituals as long as they keep the objective of enlightenment in mind. At this point, Buddhism has become safe while instilling that people does not have to throw their religious practices in order to follow the Eightfold Path. After Buddha’s death, followers continued to practice and send the message orally, and was only first written during the first century of C. E. Several changes occurred in the practices of monks.
From eating one meal a day for about eight months, then shifted in introducing the Buddhist monasteries. Buddhism has also a great impact in the India’s politics in ancient times. King Ashoka, after deaths caused by battles, became a strong follower of Buddhism. He banned on animal sacrifices, sent missionaries in different known and popular countries. This has became the origin of art and architecture as a way of depicting Buddha in the human form. Another transformation of Buddhism is the development of sects, which are the Mahayana and Theravada.
Mahayana is called “Great Vehicle” which is now exercise in China. Theravada was the first school of Buddhism, where it was formally taught. Undoubtedly, Buddhism spread to all different parts of Asia- first from India then after is China. Buddhism was firs received in China as a religion of merchants because of the environment of their primary contact with it then later became of more importance when missionaries started to came. Buddhism began to spread widely after the fall of Han’s Dynasty.
Just like in India, Buddhism was viewed in China like something that could offer everything to everyone, like a sense of peace and unity, which enable it to be followed by a wide range of people For the rulers and powerful, Buddhism presented them an extraordinary power. Also, like in India, Buddhism introduced equality in the treatment of women, and opposing parties. By this time, there was huge increased in the number of temples, followers, changes in arts such as sculptures and architectures. The effect of Buddhism in the Chinese arts was obvious enough to change the culture of Chinese.
This can be notably seen in arts with the execution in the arts that emphasized the concepts of meditations, empty space, etc. The ideology of Buddhism has greatly affected the Indian and Chinese culture, as well in the different countries worldwide. Its fairness and almost perfect ideology has become its power in creating a large p of followers. Buddhism achieved a degree of goodness in spreading its concepts like the fairness or the equality of nature. China and India were successful enough in fostering the improvement and growth of a revolutionary idea.
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