Buddhist Religious Traditions: Sacred Elements and Meanings

Buddhism, as a religion, has a set of beliefs and practices. Although there are many doctrinal divisions, also known as Buddhist schools, there are several concepts common to them. These sacred elements characterize Buddhist religious traditions as a whole: Gautama Buddha All Buddhist schools accept the Buddha as their teacher and founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama is generally recognized as the Supreme Buddha and his teachings are considered sacred.

Middle Way, Dependent Origination, Four Noble Truths, and Noble Eightfold Path These are practices common to all Buddhist schools. The Middle Way (also Middle Path) is their practice of non-extremism which means “moderation away from extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification and toward the practice of wisdom, morality and mental cultivation. ” The doctrine of Dependent Origination (also Dependent Arising) states that phenomena arise together as part of a gigantic web of cause and effect.

The most fundamental teachings in Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths. These are: The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha), Suffering’s Origin (Samudaya), Suffering’s Cessation (Nirodha), and The Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering (Marga). The noble eightfold path is the way to cessation of suffering and achievement of self-awakening. Nirvana Buddhist religious traditions all point their life to buddhahood, which is considered to be the highest attainment as a Buddhist.
Nirvana, which literally means “to cease blowing”, is used by Buddhists, particularly Theravadins, to describe the enlightenment and liberation of Gautama Buddha. References: “An Introduction to Buddhism. ” Retrieved June 24, 2008, from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/buddhaintro. html “Essentials of Buddhism: Core Concepts. ” Retrieved June 24, 2008, from http://www. buddhaweb. org/ “The Religion of Buddhism. ” Retrieved June 24, 2008, from http://www. religioustolerance. org/buddhism. htm

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