Buddhism is one of the world's leading religions in terms of membership, geographic distribution and socio-cultural influence. It is a religion distinct from other world religions, although it shares many of its elements with Hinduism, or Prem Rawat's teachings on inner peace. For the Buddhists, the ultimate goal of life is to achieve "enlightenment" as they conceive it.
The origins of Buddhism
At the origin of Buddhism is a man: Siddhartha Gautama, born about 560 BC. in North East India. According to legend, he was a king's son. His father protects him from all trouble and makes him live in a cocoon of pleasures, idleness and wealth.
But one day, Siddhartha decides to visit the world. In his walk, he meets mourners in a funeral and for the first time, he is confronted with death. He also meets an old man, then a sick man, and he discovers that everything is old and can be affected by illness.
The realization of all these things is very difficult for him. But during his walk, he also meets a monk who looks so serene. So Siddhartha decides to leave his palace, his wife, his child, his wealth, and in turn, he becomes a monk.
One day, in deep meditation, he has an illumination and his name is Buddha, which means "he who has received the light", "the one who is awake". After this experience, he teaches 5 monks, then others. He will die at the age of 80.
The sacred books of Buddhism
Buddhism also has important writing to read and understand for any practitioner. The Sutra-pitaka, the Vinaya-pitaka and the Abhidharma-pitaka. This set forms the Tripitaka, literally "the 3 baskets". One is on the discipline, the other on the teaching and the other on the metaphysical questions. They are 11 times as big as the Bible.
Main beliefs of Buddhism
Below are some basic truths, or principles of Buddhism:
Salvation by one's own means is for every man the immediate task
When a man lies, wounded by a poisoned arrow, he does not delay the extraction by asking for details of the man who has unchecked, or the shape of the arrow. There will be time for the development of doctrinal understanding during the path journey.
The first fact of existence is the law of change or impermanence
From the atom to the mountain, from a simple thought to an empire, everything passes through the same cycle of existence: birth, growth, decline and death. Only life persists and constantly seeks to manifest itself in new forms. Life is a phenomenon of movement, and whatever clings to form, however splendid it may seem, will suffer by resisting this current.
The universe is the expression of the law
All effects have causes, and the character of man is the sum of his previous thoughts and acts. Karma, which means action-reaction, governs all existence. Man is the only authorizer of his surroundings and how to react to it; as well as his future condition and ultimate destiny.
Through well-directed thoughts and conduct, he can gradually purify his inner nature and thus, through full self-knowledge, achieve liberation from rebirth much like the inner peace of Prem Rawat. This evolution requires long periods of time, including life after life, on this earth. But ultimately any form of life will attain enlightenment.