An Overview of World Religions: Buddhism

Topics: Buddhism

“I teach about suffering and the way to end it”


World Religions: Buddhism

In last week’s paper we discussed Hinduism, in this paper we will discuss Buddhism. Buddhism is the fourth largest religion surpassed only by Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. One of the main differences between Buddhism and Hinduism is that in the late one there is a strict lifelong caste classification system. The teachings of Buddha rejected the caste social class classification. In Buddhism, everybody is permitted to change her/his social class.

Buddhism is a peculiar Religion, on one hand, Buddhism’s philosophy teaches that life is pain and suffering and on the other hand, Buddhism teaches us to enjoy every second of our life.

Siddhartha Gautama was born around 563 BC in Lumbini, now Nepal. Siddhartha left his family wife and children-, house, and all possessions to look for the truth of life when he was 29 years old. He lived with India’s Gurus and wise men for many years.

After er long time of studying, he attained illumination and changed his name (Chodzin) to “Buddha (means the awakened one)”. He had numerous followers and founded Buddhism. Buddha died in 483 BC in his early 80’s.

Buddhism Philosophy

The fundamental principles of Buddhism philosophy are the Four Noble Truths.

  1. Dukkha: Existence is anguish and suffering. (Bhikkhu, first) “Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha.

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    In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.’

  1. Trsna: The origin of suffering is craving or adhering to the wrong things. (Bhikkhu, second) “And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.”
  1. Removing the causes of suffering can extinguish suffering. (Bhikkhu, third) “And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.”
  1. The way to extinguish the causes of suffering is to follow the Middle Way stated in the Eightfold Path. (Bhikkhu, Fourth) “And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right resolve, right concentration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right view.”

To end misery: The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is a guideline for ethical and mental growth. The EightfoldPath’sh purpose is to guide and keep us on the correct course to attain nirvana. Buddha’s Eightfold Path teaches moderation. If followed one may reach nirvana (end to suffering), Buddhism’s final goal.

Eightfold Path teaches us to put into practice self-control and restrain in the following areas:

  1. Right views. One has to have the correct attitude.
  2. Right intent. Everybody must seek the elimination of suffering.
  3. Right speech. No lies, defamation, or insult to others.
  4. Right action. To act well, not cause suffering, and Have the right aspirations.
  5. Right means of livelihood. Refrain from an incorrect way of livelihood. Do not live in a manner to causes suffering. Have the right intentions.
  6. Right effort. To avoid impure thoughts and have the right attitude, perform the right efforts.
  7. Right mindfulness is to be conscious and alert of sensorial perceptions, in other words, to have discernment.
  8. Right concentration. The specific meditation to improve oneself.

Buddha was raised and livedyou’res Hindu, consequently, Buddhism’s philosophical roots come from Hinduism and numerous Buddhist ideas came from Hinduism also. Buddhists believe in reincarnation as Hindus with an exception, one can reach nirvana in only one lifetime by becoming a nun or a monk. In addition, none of the Eightfold Path shall be broken to reach nirvana. Buddhists are vegetarians because killing animals break the fourth path (causing suffering)

Buddhism’s objectives are to end suffering and to love the whole universe. Buddhism believes that all things are interrelated. Like Hinduism, Buddhism believes that a person’s actions, conduct, and activities throughout his/her life will decide the person’s destiny in his/her next life. If behaves well in her/his present life, she/he will be rewarded with a healthy, prosperous, enjoyable life or finally join Brahma for eternity. A warning, A bad life will result in a longer stay on earth and reborn with a bad life (animal, or sick and poor).


Dharma” means “protection”. By practicing Buddha’s tradition we protect ourselves from suffering and problems. All troubles we encounter during daily life derive from ignorance, and the way to get rid of ignorance is to practice Dharma.

Buddha’s Five Precepts

Buddha also developed five Precepts to follow to reach salvation and have a good future next life.

The five precepts are: (Wikipedia)

  1. To refrain from harming living creatures (killing).
  2. To refrain from taking that which is not freely given (stealing).
  3. To refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. To refrain from incorrect speech (lying, harsh language, slander, idle chit-chat).
  5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness.”

Theravada Buddhism

The Theravada Buddhism tradition is the original form of Buddhism (the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Noble Path, and the Four Cardinal Virtues to attain Nirvana). Theravada Buddhism dominates the cultures of Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma. Theravada Buddhism concentrates mainly on meditation.

Mahayana Buddhism “Greater Vehicle”.

Mahayana Buddhism was the result of a rupture from Buddhism that would try to transform the teachings of Buddha to find ways to obtain a larger amount of people. Mahayana Buddhism produced many changes. One of these was a different mode of understanding Buddha’s philosophy. Mahayana Buddhism stressed the need of cforpassion.

Nara Buddhism

Long time ago, Japan’s capital was Nara (for just 80 years). This capital was built on the model of Chinese capital. Before changing the capital to Nara, The region was very poor. Suddenly, a city grew up with palaces, wealth, Chinese thought, and Buddhism.

The Nara rulers intensely respected a Buddhist belief named the Sutra of Golden Light; in it, Buddha is the truth of the universe. The sutra also maintained that all human law must mirror the Ultimate Law of the universe during the Nara period Buddhism extended its philosophy to all of Japan.

Amida Buddhism “Greater Vehicle”

Pure Land of Amida Buddhism was oriented around the figure of Amida Buddha. Amida, the Buddha who supposedly was a prior incarnation of Siddhartha Gautama (the original Buddha). The tradition says that Amida refused to accept Buddhahood unless he could give everlasting happiness to whoever called on him. The tradition says that anyone who calls his name, “Namu Amida Butsu,” with genuine devotion and faith will be granted an eternal life of happiness, especially the followers of Amida.

Zen Buddhismfor

Zen Buddhism is the Japanese name of Mahayana Buddhism adopted originally in China, Zen found its way to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Zen encourages the role of sitting meditation in pursuing illumination.

In conclusion, Buddha realized that suffering and unhappiness are the consequences of attachment to conditions, situations, and possessions which by nature are temporary or impermanent. By eliminating from us these attachments we can be liberated from all suffering. Buddha was an impressive prophet, truly one of the wisest men who had lived on earth. Buddha’sound advice last words to his followers (Pearls of Wisdom):

“Everything that has been created is subject to decay and death. Everything is transitory. Work out your for salvation with diligence.”

It is sound advice -a real pearl of wisdom-for everybody from any belief.


  1. Bhikkhu, T. (1993) “Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion” Access to Insight edition PTS page: Sv 420
  2. CDB ii 1843 revised Tuesday 2005-11-15 Retrieved December 1, 2005, from
  3. Bhikkhu, T. (1993) “Second Noble Truth. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Dukkha” Retrieved December 1, 2005, from
  4. Bhikkhu, T. (1993) “Third Noble Truth The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha” Retrieved December 1, 2005, from
  5. Bhikkhu, T. (1993) “Fourth Noble Truth”. The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha Retrieved December 1, 2005, from
  6. (2004) “Pearls of Wisdom” Retrieved December 1, 2005, from
  7. Chodzin, S. (2004) “The Wisdom of the Crows and Other Buddhist Tales” Retrieved December 1, 2005, from tricycle Press hl=en&id=qGwlWUospw4C&pg=PT51&lpg=PT51&dq=Buddha+’Awakened+One’&prev=http://books.g’Awakened%2BOne’%26lr %3D&sig=SA3U6WsZiJxT3uklcwd6BtxyEI (2005) “Buddhism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”
  8. This page was last modified at 06:23, November 25, 2005. Retrieved December 1, 2005, from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc Web Site:
  9. “Meta religion: Buddhism” Retrieved December 1, 2005, from

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An Overview of World Religions: Buddhism. (2022, Jun 19). Retrieved from

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