Ultimate reality: None, Nothing is permanent. Holidays: Buddha’s birthday, Buddha’s enlightenment and lunar quarters Human nature: There is no self or soul. Human existence is nothing more than a combination of five impermanent components (khandas). Purpose of life: Theravada – Become an arhat, escape the cycle of rebirth, and attain nirvana. Mahayana – Become a boddhisatva then help others attain enlightenment. Afterlife: Rebirth or nirvana. Nirvana is seen simply as the cessation of suffering by some and as a heavenly paradise by others.
Founder/Leader Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born a prince in Lumbini, Nepal, at the foot of Mount Palpa in the Himalayan ranges, in 580 B. C. He died at age 80 in 480 B. C. His father was Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas-. His mother, Maya, died seven days after his birth, he was raised by his foster mother, Maya’s sister Mahaprajapati. He was also known as Sakhya Muni, meaning an ascetic of the Sakhya tribe.
He is also called the Enlightened One. Upon his birth, astrologers predicted that upon achieving manhood, Siddhartha would become ither a universal monarch (Chakravarti), or would abandon all earthly comforts to become a monk and a Buddha. Siddhartha married Yasodhara at age sixteen, who subsequently gave birth to their son, Rahula. Desiring to see how the people in his town were living, he managed to get out of his walled enclosure accompanied by his servant, Channa. He came upon a decrepit old man, a sick man, and a corpse and he was shocked. He then met a monk who impressed him with his serenity and beauty. Siddhartha left his home forever, donning yellow robes and shaving his head, to take up Yogic practices.
Seeking instruction from several hermit teachers who lived in caves in the neighboring hills, he practiced severe Tapas (austerities) and Pranayama (breath control) for six years, during which time he almost starved to death and became exceedingly weak. Given food by a young woman, he sought a comfortable place to sit and eat it. He found a large tree, now known as the great Bo-tree, or Tree of Wisdom. He came out of the meditation victorious, his face shining with illumination and splendor, having attained Nirvana. At age 35, Siddhartha was a Boddhisatva.
Buddha left his wondrous Bo-tree behind, venturing out into the world to teach others who were seeking Wisdom and Enlightenment. The subsequent teachings of The Buddha are the foundation of Buddhism. Creed The Four Noble Truths 1. Life means suffering 2. The origin of suffering is attachment 3. The cessation of suffering is attainable 4. The path to the cessation of suffering Code Five Percepts 1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life. 2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given. 3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct. 4.
I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech. 5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness. Eight Percepts 1. I undertake to abstain from causing harm and taking life (both human and non-human). 2. I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given (for example stealing, displacements that may cause misunderstandings). 3. I undertake to abstain from sexual activity. 4. I undertake to abstain from wrong speech: telling lies, deceiving others, manipulating others, using hurtful words. 5. I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs, which lead to carelessness. . I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is after sunrise, before noon). 7. I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories). 8. I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep.