“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” – Buddha
Buddhism is one of the most recognized religions, with the image of Buddha being one that most Americans can identify regardless of which religion they personally identify with. This religion is built on a foundation of harmony, compassion and a quest for spiritual enlightenment.
The religion was founded by a royal prince named Buddha Shakyamuni, born in 624 BC. Living out the early years of his life as a prince, at the age of 29 years old Buddha retired from his royal life in search of his own spiritual life. He moved to a forest where he turned to meditation to help him to connect with his higher self. Six years after this dramatic life change he attained a level of understanding and connection that brought him to true spiritual enlightenment following which he was asked to teach his ways.
In his book ‘Introduction to Buddhism,’ Venerable Geshe Kelsang wrote, “As a result of this request, Buddha rose from meditation and taught the first Wheel of Dharma. These teachings which include the Sutra of the Four Noble Truths and other discourses are the principal source of the Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle, of Buddhism. Later, Buddha taught the second and third Wheels of Dharma, which include the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Sutra Discriminating the Intention respectively. These teachings are the source of the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, of Buddhism. In the Hinayana teachings Buddha explains how to attain liberation from suffering for oneself alone, and in the Mahayana teachings, he explains how to attain full enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for the sake of others. Both traditions flourished in Asia, at first in India and then gradually in other surrounding countries, including Tibet. Now they are also beginning to flourish in the West.”
The teachings of Buddha have shaped the belief system of countless individuals around the world, helping to pave the way for a happier, more centered life. Interested in learning more about the Buddhist way of living?
Here are 24 interesting facts about Buddhism:
1. While many religions are built on the concept of patriarchy or submission, the Buddhist faith believes in true gender equality, permitting both men and women to join their monastic order.