Thursday, July 18, 2019

Theravadan Buddhism Essay -- essays research papers

Theravadan Buddhism Throughout history there have been numerous religions and theologies that men and women have entrusted their lives and ways of living to. One of the most intriguing is that of Buddhism. The great Buddha referred to his way as the middle way, and he, as the "Enlightened One" began the teachings of the religion with his first five Ascetics who he shows his middle way. This great occasion is the start to what will be known as Theravadan Buddhism. Although Theravadan Buddhism would later be seen as the "small vehicle," it provides the first idea of the doctrine anatman or having no-self that shapes the ideas of every Buddhist today. Theravadan Buddhism which means "The teaching of the elders," is the teaching of the Buddha in its true traditional form. After attaining enlightenment under the Bohdi tree, the Buddha returns to five ascetic monks he had been associated with previously. He taught them the essential parts of Buddhism which include the vital Four Noble Truths. These teachings were taught by monks, and they give the fundamental truths on which the religion was founded. These are the Four Noble Truths: (1) all life is inevitably filled with sorrow; (2) sorrow is directly due to craving; (3) sorrow can only be stopped by stopping the craving; and (4) this can be done only by disciplined and moral conduct with meditation led by the Buddhist monk. These truths show that the Buddhists saw all things as transient, and being transient there is no eternal Self or soul, hence anatman or no true self. While the Theravadan Buddhist practiced the idea of anatman, there were other movements that practiced the idea of atman or true self. The Upanishadic movement, which started about 300 years before the Theravadan practice, revolves around a story of a boy who Yama tells there is a self in everyone. This true self or atman is covered up by the illusion of an individual. As this way of thinking was being taught, people began to uprise and question if religion is worth it. This leads to many ascetic movements in which people leave their homes to be scavengers. Because this could be done by any it began to get very popular. The many ascetic movements gave rise to many different individual movements... ...low, I feel that all of these ways of life are flawed. In most of the religions only the higher classes can reach the supreme way of life. The regular people are stuck, and they can only help the monks or Brahmans to attain their goal. This seems very unfair even if they are producing good karma. In the Vedic religion the Shudras don't even have the option of studying the holy text. They have no chance of gaining entrance to another level of being until their next life. Theravadan belief of the being no true self is all together mind boggling. If there was no self then how can karma pass from one existence to another. It can't. Each period in time has new ways of thinking and viewing the world. India has been a place of many movements in the field of religion. These early ideas and practices of Theravadan monks can be seen as one of the many religious ideas of the past, that has in some places lasted to the present day. As is the case with all religion, it will be subject to scrutiny, questioning, and slander. While many may not see the Theravadan way of anatman as being right or even sane, it is their way of life and they should be respected for it.

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