For school I had to create a small presentation on one of the 5 main religions of the world. The religion I chose was Buddhism because my father is a Buddhist and I wanted to explore this belief.
The information that I researched covered the following:
- What is Buddhism?
- Who is Buddha?
- The Holy Book
- Places of worship
- Different types of Buddhist temples and Worship
I thought I’d share my findings …
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. In 1996 – 2005 199,800 Australian Buddhists were in Australia. Buddhism is the 4th largest religion in the world. All Buddhists follow Buddha.
Who is Buddha?
Siddhartha Gautama was born in 580 BCE. Siddhartha is known as Buddha, the great leader. But before Buddha became “the Buddha” he was a prince. You may be wondering – “Why did Siddhartha gave up his wealthy life? He would’ve had everything he wanted?” When Buddha was a prince, he was a leader of an army. Since he gave up his royal life, he gave up the army. This really shows his non – violence. Buddha studied with religious men to find a way to escape suffering, death, old age and pain. But studying with the religious men didn’t reveal the answer to his question. One day when Siddhartha was meditating underneath a fig tree, the way to end all suffering occurred to him! Till that day, all monks called him Buddha. Buddha means the awakened one. He only had one son. His name was Rāhula.
What all Buddhists believe in are the:
Four Noble Truths and The Three Signs of Beings
Four Noble Truths
- Dukkha: Life is suffering
- Samudaya: Suffering is due to attachment to things
- Nirodha: Attachment can be overcome
- Magga: There is a life path to accomplish all of this
The path mentioned in the 4th Noble Truth is called the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Three Signs of Beings
These are ways Buddha described life.
- Everything in life is not going to be perfect ( Dukkha ) it includes lots of things such as – boredom, stress and non – satisfactory
- All things in life – even solid things like mountains – are always changing ( Annica )
- There is no soul ( Anatta )
the Buddha taught, what does carry on to the persons next life ( Karma ) The Karma may be good or bad. Depending on how that person lives his/her current life.
Different types of Buddhist Temples and Worship
There are 2 different types of temples. Pagodas and Stupas. Buddhists visit these temples and worship Buddha. Buddhist worship in known as puja. It involves meditating, bowing, chanting and making offerings.
Places of Worship
Buddhists pray at home or in a temple. At home, they would normally have shrines, statues of Buddha and incense burners. In temples Buddhists sit on the floor, barefoot and meditating, facing a statue of Buddha.The one typical temple is called a ‘Stupa’, it’s shaped like an upside down bowl. They normally read the Tripitaka. This is the Buddhist Holy Book.
The Holy Book
The Buddhist Holy Book is called the Tripitaka. The Tripitaka is a very large book. The English translation takes up to approximately 40 volumes! It is written in an ancient language called Pali, a language close to what the Buddha used to speak. In Pali, The Tripitaka is called the Tipitaka.
The 2 symbols I’m going to tell you about are the Lotus flower and the wheel of life.
The lotus flower symbolizes purity of the body, speech and mind, while it’s roots are in the mud its flowers blossom on long stalks as if they’re floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.
Wheel of Life:
The Wheel of Life is one of the most important Buddhist symbols, as it represents the teachings of the Buddha. The eight spokes of the wheel symbolize the Noble Eightfold Path set out by the Buddha in his teachings.
The festivals I’m going to tell you are the 10 main Buddhist festivals. The first one is:
Buddhist New Year:
Some countries such as Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, The New Year is celebrated for three days, from the first full moon day in April.
This festival celebrates Buddha’s birthday. In the one day Buddhists the birth, enlightenment an death of Buddha. The festival takes place on the first full moon day of May.
Magha Puja Day:
Magha Puja Day takes place on the full moon day of the 3rd Lunar month [March]. The Holy Day is to celebrate an important event in the life of Buddha, The Four Fold assembly.
Asalha Puja Day:
Asalha Puja Day means to honor Buddha. It takes place on the full moon day, the 8th Lunar month [about July]. It recalls and shows respect to Buddha’s 1st teaching.
These are the 4 Holy days in each month. hey take place on new moons and quarter moons. On these days Buddhists fast [They don’t eat at all].
This is the ceremony when Monks are offered new robes.
This day celebrates the event when Buddha is said to have gone to Heaven. The reason was to teach his mother Buddhism. This festival takes place on the full moon of April.
This festival goes on for several days in the middle of April. Buddhists clean their houses, wash their clothes and enjoy sprinkling perfumed water on Monks.
Loy Krathong takes place on the 12th Lunar month [December]. Buddhists bring bowls made out of leaves. They contain flowers, candles and incense sticks. All these objects float in water, Buddhists believe by doing this, all bad luck is supposed to go away.
The Ploughing Festival:
This festival takes place in May on the half moon. At the festival 2 white ox pull a gold painted plough. 4 girls follow, all dressed in white throwing rice seeds out of baskets. This celebrates Buddha’s 1st enlightenment, it happened when he was 7 years old when he’d gone with his father.