Axia College of University of Phoenix
HUM130 Religions of the World
January 7, 2010
Through out this course, many different religions have been discussed, and many facts of each that were unknown to me previously, have been communicated and explained to me through our instructor, text, and discussions with fellow students. While many of these religions had interesting histories and figures, the one that intrigued me and stood out from the rest, was Buddhism. I had the pleasure of visiting a Buddhist meditation center in Seattle, and sat down and discussed the basic principles and beliefs of Buddhism with one of the meditation ...view middle of the document...
The King wanted his son to be a ruler like him, so he kept him very busy in the palace. Prince Siddhartha was kind to everyone, and taught perfectly every subject he studied.
When he was grown, he married Yasodhara and had a son. One day during a visit to the city, Siddhartha saw so much pain and suffering. He passed people who were very old and sick. He saw a human corpse, and finally he saw a monk. The prince wanted desperately to discover how to end suffering for everyone, and begged to leave the palace to try. He said goodbye to his family and began a long, difficult journey.
After training his mind for six years, Siddhartha knew he was very close to his goal. He walked to a place now called Bodh Gaya, sat under a Bodhi tree, and promised not to rise from meditation until he became a Buddha. Many frightening and tempting maras surrounded Siddhartha and tried to stop him. Because of the strength of Siddhartha’s concentration on love, however, even Devaputra, King of Demons, could not succeed. Although he and his armies threw many terrible weapons at Siddhartha, these turned into flowers and fell to the ground.
As the sun rose, Siddhartha’s mind transformed into that of a Conqueror Buddha with Immense power to help all living beings, forty-nine days later, he began to teach others how to follow the path to pure happiness.” (Gyatso, 2010)
Through his teachings, he gained many followers, and after his death the number of followers grew to millions of devout Buddhists in the present day. Buddhism today has two primary divisions, Theravada, “Way of the Elders,” and Mahayana the “Greater Vehicle,” and within each of these many branches have spawned. They both follow the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the teachings of karma and nirvana, but where Theravada follows more closely to the original teachings, the Mahayana “emphasize the practice of monastic’s and laypeople equally, toward the goal of liberating all sentient beings from suffering.” (Fisher, 2005) The branch that I chose to research is the Kadampa Buddhist branch.
Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054). His followers are known as 'Kadampas'. Ka refers to Buddha's teachings, and dam to Atisha's special Lamrim instructions known as 'the stages of the path to enlightenment'.
Kadampas, then, are practitioners who regard Buddha's teachings as personal instructions and put them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim. The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, who were known as the 'New Kadampas'.
The lineage of these teachings, both their oral transmission and blessings, was then passed from Teacher to disciple, spreading throughout much of Asia, and now to many countries throughout the western world. Buddha's teachings, which are known as 'Dharma', are likened to a wheel that moves from country to country in accordance...