Buddhism

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by JuliaNosek
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Buddhism

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In the first few centuries of buddhism, statues of the buddha were not used. Buddhists instead created images symbolizing the buddha and his teachings even after the first statues were created. As buddhism spread, the religion's symbolism had increased with the cultures it had come into contact with and became main aspects of the buddhist way of life.Lotus Flower- this symbol is used in many teachings throughout Buddhism to represent the true nature of humankind. the roots are stuck deep in the mud, but the flower still blossoms into a beautiful, sweet-smelling flower. this flower symbolizes humans who live through suffering but in the end, we blossom when we reach enlightenment.Dharma Wheel- this symbol is an eight-spoked wheel representing the eightfold path, but is often used to represent buddhism itself. like christianity's crucifix, this wheel-symbol has universally become the symbol of buddhism.The Lion- this is one of buddism's most important symbols. it symbolizes the royalty Siddhartha was part of before he achieved nirvana/enlightenment. it is also used as a metaphor to compare the buddha's teachings to the roar of a lion.FestivalsVisakha Puja Day- also known as BUDDHA day, buddhists celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha, which happened to take place on the same day in the full moon of May. buddhists bring flowers, candles and offerings to the buddha and they walk around the main hall 3 times while reciting the 3 refugees.Asalha Puja Day- also known as DHAMMA day, it commemorates the first sermon of the buddha in the full-moon of July. people offer food to the monks, nuna and the poor, followed by honoring the 5 precepts and practicing meditation.Magha Puja Day- also known as SANGHA day, this event highlights the buddha's proclamation of the basic principles of buddhism and the basis of Success on the full-moon of march. Buddhists offer food to the Sangha and they try to do the most activities that bring them the most karma(actions that lead to nirvana).Songkran- celebrated in mid-april, Buddhists honor the first precept of non-violence and so they clean themselves, their houses, save fishes from dried-up ponds and they sprinkle perfumed water on monks.

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Buddhism

Eating disorders are known to be a range of psychological disorders; anorexia nervosa and bulimia are common examples. These disorders occur as a result of severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as unhealthy reduction of food intake or extreme overeating. The need to succumb to such behaviour is usually caused by feelings of distress or concern about body shape or weight, resulting in one's desire to change their physical appearance. From a Buddhist's perspective, eating disorders oppose the teaching of moderation. when Siddhartha became an ascetic, he almost starved himself to the point of death when he discovered the path of MODERATION. He soon learned that one did not need to starve him/herself to attain salvation. Considering this teaching, there is nothing wrong with changing one’s lifestyle to achieve a healthy body weight – as long as it is done in moderation through healthy methods, such as consuming healthy food over junk food and exercising. Later in his teachings, he mentions that one should abstain from harming living beings. when a person starves himself, they weaken their body and its functions, causes suffering to not just the victim of starvation, but also to the family members and friends who are concerned. Eating disorders are mostly caused by a strong desire or attachment to the idea of a "perfect body". In the Buddhist teaching of the four noble truths, the truth of the cause of suffering states that all suffering comes from desire. Because of this, someone who would go to the extreme of harming and depriving themselves of nutrients is burdened with a lot of suffering because of how attached they are to their idea of a perfect body. Of course, many teachings in Buddhism describe how to lessen this suffering. In order for someone with an eating disorder to let go of their (sometimes unachievable) attachments, they must follow some of the steps described in the noble eightfold path. The first step of this path is acquiring a right view. One should know the three characteristics of existence and the four noble truths in order to understand the core reason for their suffering, and acknowledging that what they desire will not bring them true happiness. One’s body does not define oneself – it is impermanent, as defined by anicca from the three characteristics. The second step involves right thought. One should realize what their intentions are – in this case, what the purpose of achieving one’s perfect body is. If one’s intentions are not good, they should change their priorities in life as well as their way of thinking. The fifth step of the noble eightfold path is right livelihood – the respect for all life. People tend to forget that this is also applicable to their own life. Someone with an eating disorder should learn to respect themselves by providing their body with an adequate amount of food. The sixth step, right effort, involves obtaining a willingness to follow through with their intentions. In other words, one’s actions should reflect one’s intentions. The seventh step is right mindfullness. Someone with an eating disorder should be mindful of what they eat and how often. Following some of the steps described by the eightfold path can help someone struggling with an eating disorder to realize the cause of their suffering and lessen it.

Symbols and Festivals

The 5 PreceptsBuddhist morality is embodied in the five precepts. It enables people to live together in civilized communities with mutual trust and respect. Furthermore, it is the starting point for one's spiritual journey towards enlightenment. Precepts are accepted voluntarily by the person themselves as a result of observation and analysis.1.Abstain from killing or harming living beings.2.Abstain from stealing.3. Abstain from improper sexual conduct.4. Abstain from false speech.5. Abstain from taking alcohol and harmful drugs.

The 3 Characteristics of ExistenceThe Buddha taught that everything in the physical world, including mental experience, is marked with three characteristics - impermanence, suffering and selflessness. Thorough examination and awareness of these characteristics aids Buddhists in abandoning any clingy attatchments they may have.Anicca: also referred to as "Impermanence", Everything is limited to a certain duration and, consequently, liable to disappear.Dukkha: Everything is unsatisfactory and there is suffering in life. There is nothing that can be relied upon and there is nothing that can bring true happiness in the materialistic world, unless Nirvana is achieved and the soul escapes the cycle of rebirth and goes to rest.Anatta: Everything is deprived of a self. There is no self-inherent entity, nothing that can be controlled. The buddha explains that the eyes, ears, foot or any other bodypart cannot hold the soul but the body as a whole is the person that holds the soul.The 4 Noble TruthsThe four noble truths provide a useful conceptual framework for making sense of Buddhist thought, which has to be personally understood or experienced. Because of this, these four truths are best understood not as beliefs, but as categories of experience. 1. The Truth of SufferingLife is suffering. The Buddha’s insight was that our lives are a struggle, and that we do not find true happiness in anything we experience, thus, leaving us unsatisfied. This is the problem of existence.2. The Truth of the Cause of SufferingThere is a cause to our suffering. The natural human tendency is to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. But the Buddha says that their actual root is to be found in the mind itself.3. The Truth of the End of SufferingThere is an end to suffering. We are the cause of our dissatisfaction. However, we are also the solution. The things that happen to us cannot be changed, but we can change our responses.4. The Truth of the Path That Frees Us From SufferingThe freedom from suffering is contained in following the noble eight fold paths.

BasicTeachings

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BuddhismFor Dummies

The Noble Eightfold PathThe Noble Eightfold Path is a guide which leads to the end of suffering. It is designed to eliminate the causes of suffering, and furthermore helps with attaining enlightenment in the state of Nirvana. If it is to be understood and incorporated into one's daily life, it must be viewed in terms of unity of mind, speech and action.Right ViewKnow the truth. See the world as it is. Understand the three characteristics of existence and the four noble truths.Right Thought Free your mind of evil. To avoid suffering, one needs to be mindful of what their intentions are with others.Right SpeechSay nothing that hurts others. Abstain from telling lies, gossiping, slander, and talk that may bring about hatred.Right ConductWork for the good of others. One's actions should reflect their wholesome intentions.Right LivelihoodRespect life. Abstain from participating in any activities or professions that violate the first precept, such as trading lethal weapons or selling abusive drugs.Right EffortObtain the will to prevent evil and unwholesome states of mind from arising, and remove any evil and unwholesome states that may have already arisen.Right MindfulnessControl your thoughts. Be diligently aware, mindful and attentive with regard to the activities of the mind and body, sensations, feelings, ideas, and conceptions.Right ConcentrationPractice medetation. Concentration is focusing on one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

The Triple JewelsThe Buddha established the three jewels/refuges to make it easier for people to follow his teachings. The jewels allow and help Buddhists to stay focused on the right path in their journey to enlightenment. These refuges are:The Buddha (the guide)I take refuge in the Buddha.The Dhamma (the path)I take refuge in the Dhamma.The Sanga (community)I take refuge in the Sanga.

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Nirvana Also known as enlightenment, nirvana is the state of "liberation" from SAMSARA - the cycle of death and rebirth. the sanskrit word translates to mean "extinguish" implying that the ultimate goal of a buddhist is to escape the cycle of Nirvana and bring the soul to rest.Buddhists strive to understand and eliminate the cause of suffering by gaining wisdom and practicing mental discipline as well as ethical conduct.Ahimsa:Ahimsa gives us the peace of mind that comes from knowing that our actions do not result in harm for other living beings. Buddhists believe that they must work to uplift fellow humans from misery. MeditationMeditation provides control over ourselves, done through techniques and breathing exercises. One must do their best in controlling one's own emotions, basically puriying the mind and allowing it to gain spiritual insight to the true nature of life.

EatingDisorders

Beliefs and meditation

Om Mani Padme Hum Mantra

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The origin of Buddhism points to one man, Siddhartha Gautama. Known to be the historical Buddha, Siddhartha was born in Lumbini during the 5th century BCE. He was the warrior son of a king and queen. At his birth, a prophecy predicted that he might become a religious leader. To prevent this, his father provided him with many luxuries and sheltered him from the suffering found outside of his palace walls. However, he once went on a series of chariot rides out into the city, where he first saw the more severe forms of human suffering such as old age, illness, and death, as well as ascetic monks. The contrast between his life and this human suffering made him realize that all the pleasures on earth where in fact transitory, and could only mask human suffering. He went on and pursued his quest for enlightment as well as the answer to human suffering. Rather than the founder of a new religion, Siddhartha Gautama was the founder and leader of a sect of wanderer ascetics called Sramanas - one of many sects that existed at that time all over India. This sect came to be known as Sangha. After Siddhartha Gautama passed away, the community he founded slowly evolved into a religion-like movement and the teachings of Siddhartha became the basis of Buddhism.

Origins

SourcesThe Buddhist Centre | Buddhism and Meditation from the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly FWBO)." The Buddhist Centre | Buddhism and Meditation from the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly FWBO). Web. 17 Nov. 2015."Buddhism - ReligionFacts." Buddhism - ReligionFacts. Web. 17 Nov. 2015."How to Achieve Nirvana." How to Achieve Nirvana. Web. 17 Nov. 2015."The Origins of Buddhism." Asia Society. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.


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