Lanka Newspapers

Sri Lanka News Updates with Discussions

Lanka NewspapersJRJayawardena's Home PageThis Page




What is Buddhism? - Religion & Philosophy
Thursday, 5 July 2007 - 10:52 PM SL Time

Buddhism is a dharmic religion and a philosophy. Buddhism is also known as Buddha Dharma or Dhamma, which means roughly the `teachings of the Awakened One` in Sanskrit and Pali, languages of ancient Buddhist texts. Buddhism was founded around the fifth century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama, hereafter referred to as `the Buddha`.

Origin

Prince Siddhartha Gautama is believed by Buddhists to have been born in Lumbini and raised in Kapilavastu near the present-day Indian-Nepalese border. After his attainment of `Awakening` (bodhi -popularly called `Enlightenment` in the West) at the age of 35, he was known as Buddha or Gautama Buddha. He spent some 45 years teaching his insights (Dharma). According to scholars, he lived around the fifth century BCE, but his more exact birthdate is open to debate. He died around the age of 80 in Kushinagara (India).

Buddhism spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and into neighboring countries (such as Sri Lanka) in the five centuries following the Buddha`s passing. It spread further into Asia and elsewhere over the next two millennia.

Divisions

The original teachings and monastic organization established by Buddha can be referred to as pre-sectarian Buddhism, but all the current divisions within Buddhism are too much influenced by later history to warrant inclusion under this name The most frequently used classification of present-day Buddhism among scholars divides present-day adherents into the following three traditions or geographical or cultural areas: Theravada, East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.

An alternative scheme used by some scholars has two divisions, Theravada and Mahayana, with the latter including the last two traditions above. This scheme is that of ordinary usage in the English language. Some scholars use other schemes. Buddhists themselves have a variety of other schemes.

Terminology

The terminology for the major divisions of Buddhism can be confusing, as Buddhism is variously divided by scholars and practitioners according to geographic, historical, and philosophical criteria, with different terms often being used in different contexts. The following terms may be encountered in descriptions of the major Buddhist divisions:

Early Buddhist Schools

The schools into which Buddhism became divided in its first few centuries only one of these survives as an independent school,

Theravada
East Asian Buddhism
A term used by scholars to cover the Buddhist traditions of Japan, Korea, Singapore and most of China and Vietnam
Eastern Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars for East Asian Buddhism also sometimes used to refer to all traditional forms of Buddhism, as distinct from Western(ized) forms.
Esoteric Buddhism
Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana. Some scholars have applied the term to certain practices found within the Theravada, particularly in Cambodia.
Hinayana
A pejorative term used in Mahayana doctrine to denigrate its opponents. It is sometimes used to refer to the early Buddhist schools, including the contemporary Theravada, although the legitimacy of this is disputed. Its use in scholarly publications is controversial. By the Mahayana schools and groups in China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan the term is felt to be only slightly pejorative, or not pejorative at all. By some it is used with respect proper to teachings coming direct from the Buddha. The main use of the term in East Asian and Tibetan traditions is in reference to spiritual levels regardless of school.
Lamaism
An old term, still sometimes used, synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism widely considered derogatory.

Mahayana

A movement that emerged out of the early Buddhist schools, together with its later descendants, East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayana traditions are sometimes listed separately. The main use of the term in East Asian and Tibetan traditions is in reference to spiritual levels regardless of school.

Mantrayana
Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana. The Tendai school in Japan has been described as influenced by Mantrayana.[21]
Northern Buddhism
An alternative term used by some scholars for Tibetan Buddhism. Also, an older term still sometimes used to encompass both East Asian and Tibetan traditions.

Southeast Asian Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars for Theravada.
Southern Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars for Theravada.

Sravakayana
An alternative term sometimes used for the early Buddhist schools.
Tantrayana or Tantric Buddhism
Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana. Howevwe, one scholar describes the tantra divisions of some editions of the Tibetan scriptures as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts (see Buddhist texts). Some scholars have used the term tantric Theravada to refer to certain practices found particularly in Cambodia.

Theravada
The traditional Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and parts of Vietnam, China, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. It is the only surviving representative of the historical early Buddhist schools. The term `Theravada` is also sometimes used to refer to all the early Buddhist schools.

Tibetan Buddhism
Usually understood as including the Buddhism of Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan and parts of China, India and Russia, which follow the Tibetan tradition.

Vajrayana
A movement that developed out of Indian Mahayana, together with its later descendants. There is some disagreement on exactly which traditions fall into this category. Tibetan Buddhism is universally recognized as falling under this heading many also include also the Japanese Shingon school. Some scholars also apply the term to the Korean milgyo tradition, which is not a separate school. One scholar says, `Despite the efforts of generations of Buddhist thinkers. it remains exceedingly difficult to identify precisely what it is that sets the Vajrayana apart.`

Buddhism Today

Indian Buddhism had become virtually extinct, but is now again gaining strength. Buddhism continues to attract followers around the world and is considered a major world religion. While estimates of the number of Buddhist followers range from 230 to 500 million worldwide, most estimates are around 350 million, or 310 million. However, estimates are uncertain for several countries. According to one analysis,[33] Buddhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and traditional Chinese religion. The monks` order (Sangha), which began during the lifetime of the Buddha in India, is amongst the oldest organizations on earth.




Source(s)
Wiki

 Post a reply to this

 E-mail this to a friend




MaKaSo
Senior Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 3765
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:03:31 GMT  Report for Abuse   
JRJ
What is that last pictures??

Are they Sadus(Niganta)??
JRJayawardena
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5678
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:06:33 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Maka,

What is that last pictures??


Machan, thats a samanera who receives his robe during anointing in Burma.

JRJ
groovygirl
Senior Member

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1742
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:13:16 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Hey hon

Interesting info. We have lot in common :)

You talk about Buddhism, and me about Aphrodisiacs!

gg
penn
Senior Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 2523
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:14:47 GMT  Report for Abuse   
JRJ

Good content article I didn't know there were many divisions in Buddhism.
JRJayawardena
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5678
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:15:17 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Sunshine,

You talk about Buddhism, and me about Aphrodisiacs!


They both go together :)

The life needs spicing up.

Is anything on the way? :))
Sritharan
Senior Member

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2865
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:15:51 GMT  Report for Abuse   
I know Dharmacakra with 8 spokes or more is one of the oldest Hindu, Jain and Buddhist symbols. Unlike in Hinduism, Dharmachra(m) one of the prominent symbols of Buddhism (one of eight symbols).

Indian flag has dharmacakram with 24 spokes, since it was used by emperor Ashoka(n), who united the whole India and beyond. Ashoka was prominent character in history, who helped spread the Buddhism.

My question is whether Dharmacakra becomes a Buddhist symbol because it was the symbol of Ashoka or he adopted the dharmacharkar because it was (is) the Buddhist symbol.

JRJayawardena
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5678
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:18:37 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Penn,

many divisions in Buddhism


yes there are a few. I think when it comes to regions they adopt their own way. Basically Chinese, Japanase Buddhism is slightly different.

The Japanese monks have no strings attached to matrials whereas Sri Lankan monks do/known keep away from Materials.

JRJ

MaKaSo
Senior Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 3765
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:19:04 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Machan, thats a samanera who receives his robe during anointing in Burma.


it's bit strange becuase those Samaneras have no clothes on ... :)
JRJayawardena
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5678
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:25:40 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Sri,

My question is whether Dharmacakra becomes a Buddhist symbol because it was the symbol of Ashoka or he adopted the dharmacharkar because it was (is) the Buddhist symbol.


Good question mate. In fact the Dharmacakra has 8 spokes to depict the equal and opposite that Buddhism teaches in every day human life.

Laba-alaba or profit-loss (2)
Ninda - Prasansa or humiliation - praise (2)
Duka - sepa or Sadness - happiness (2)
Yasa - ayasa or fame - infamy (2)

In Buddhism its taught widely if there is happiness then it may follow up with sadness of somewhat and the rest too. This is why its one side of the spoke has that and the opposite has the opposite character.

Its life's cycle. So Buddhist believe if they have a rough patch there will be a good time to follow to.

JRJ
JRJayawardena
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5678
Member Profile
5 Jul 2007 16:27:55 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Maka,

it's bit strange becuase those Samaneras have no clothes on ... :)


Podi ewun machan, naraka katha kiyanna epa paw sidda wei :)

Sorry Mr B, I try to adhere to the LNP policy!

JRJ
Page | 1  | 2  | 3  | 4  | 5  |  >Next
 Post a reply to this      E-mail this to a friend

(C) 2000-2007 www.lankanewspapers.com - Sri Lankan News & Discussions - Contact Us - RSS Feed - News Archives - src - FAQ