The history of the Buddhism origin

Buddhism is a religious and philosophical doctrine which appeared in India in VI-V centuries BC. Buddhism is one of the world religions (along with Christianity and Islam), and is also the oldest among these three. The founder of Buddhism was the Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later received name Buddha Sakyamuni, that means the Awakened or the Enlightened. Siddhartha’s mother Maya – the wife of the Shakya tribe ruler – once saw a white elephant in her dream, which came inside her through her side. After a certain time she gave birth to a baby. The wise man Asita predicted that a newborn would accomplish a great religious feat. A newborn was called Siddhartha, that means “the one who has accomplished his mission”. Siddhartha’s mother died a few days after the Buddha’s birth. Rajah who loved her madly devoted all his affection to his son. Shuddkhodana, the ruler of Shakyas did not want a religious career for his son. He began to worry about Gautama’s character very early. As a boy Siddhartha used to daydream, while having his rest in the shade of trees, he used to immerse himself in deep contemplation, experienced extraordinary moments of enlightenment.

Shuddkhodana surrounded his son with luxury, trying to hide him from all dark sides of life; he gave him a brilliant secular education and married him to a lovely woman who gave birth to their son. Shuddkhodana decided by all means to distract Siddhartha from his thoughts and moods. But is it possible to hide a life from a young man who from his early age thinks about its secrets, or is it really possible to hide the sad reality that the world is full of sufferings?

According to the legend, one day during the walk around the town with his teamster Channa Gautama met an old crooked man covered with sores, a funeral procession and one ascetic buried deep in thoughts. Impressed by all that he began to inquire his servant. So he learned about the inevitable sufferings of living beings. He was staggered learning that it was a part of everybody’s destiny. That night he secretly escaped from the palace to search in asceticism the way that led to abolition from sufferings. “And so, I left my home for the sake of homelessness and became a wanderer who was collecting the true blessings on the incomparable way of the supreme world,” Buddha used to tell. At that time he was almost thirty years old. After studying philosophical systems and realizing that they cannot resolve his problems, which were tormenting him, Gautama decided to address to yogi-experts. During seven years he was tormenting his flesh in vain and was meditating on the texts of the sacred books of priests and Brahmans. Then after leaving his gurus–yogi, Gautama secluded himself in a jungle to rush fearlessly along the path of self-torture. And so, one day when after a long immobility he tried to stand up, his legs wouldn’t hold him and Gautama fell dead on the ground.

Everybody thought it was the end, but he had just fainted away because of exhaustion. Henceforth he decided to refuse from fruitless self-torture.

One lucky occasion helped him. When he stopped starvation and rejected false wisdom, Gautama opened the way to salvation through sudden inspiration achieved by long and deep contemplation. And here the most important occasion of his life happened to him. Many years of meditation and tortures, years of searches and self-renunciations, all Gautama’s inner experience refining and sharpening his soul, all seemed to be brought together to yield a fruit. A long-awaited “enlightenment” dawned upon him. Suddenly Gautama saw his life with an unusual clarity and felt the overall connection between all people, between the humankind and the invisible world. It was like the whole Universe appeared in front of his sight. The mysterious superhuman rush was destroying and then reviving creatures. It was he – “the builder of the house”! This was Trishna – the lust for life, the will of being. It disturbed the world peace. It seemed to Siddhartha that he was present at the moment when Trishna again and again was leading the way to the being that he had lost. At that time he realized with whom he should fight to gain freedom from this terrible world full of mornings, pain and sorrow. Henceforth he became the Buddha – the “Enlightened...”. Sitting under the bodhi tree the Buddha perceived “Four Noble Truths”. After proclamation of “Four Noble Truths” the Buddha surrounded by ever increasing number of followers for forty years was wandering through cities and villages of Gang valley, working wonders and preaching his doctrine. According to the legend, the Buddha died at the age of 80 in Kushingar. He referred to monks and other people with the following words: “Now, oh monks, I have nothing to say, but that all creation is doomed to destruction! Strive hard to the rescue”. Buddhists call Buddha’s departure from life “mahaparinirvana” - the great passage into nirvana. This day is honored as well as the day of the Buddha’s birth and the moment of his “Enlightenment”, that’s why it is called “the three times holy day”. Buddhism has occurred in the north-eastern part of India in the areas of prebrahmanistic culture. Buddhism has quickly spread throughout the whole India and reached its fullest blossom in the end of the I Millennium BC – the beginning of the I Millennium AD. At the same time beginning with the III century BC it embraced south-eastern and Central Asia and partially Siberia. The spread of Buddhism contributed to the creation of syncretic cultural complexes, which together form the so-called Buddhism culture. The characteristic feature of Buddhism is its ethical and practical orientation. As a central issue in Buddhism the individual being was put forward. The stem of Buddhism is contained in Buddha’s sermon on the Four Noble Truths.

Buddhist teachings have widely spread in all the most important parts of Asia. In each of these regions Buddhism is adapted to local customs and traditions and, at the same time, each culture has contributed its own characteristic features to the development of Buddhism. All this is in accordance with the basic Buddhist teaching method using the "skillful means". There are many techniques and methods that can be used to help people overcome their problems and limitations, realize their opportunities in order to help others in the most effective way. Thus, although there are many different forms of Buddhism, they are all based on the teachings of the Buddha and are in accordance with each other.

Currently Buddhism is one of the main and the most widespread world religions. The adherents of this religion inhabit mainly the regions of Central, Southern and South-Eastern Asia. There are also followers on the other continents, though in smaller numbers. There are many Buddhists in our country, particularly in Tuva, Kalmykia and Buryatia. In the modern world Buddhism is still a great civilizing force. That is why Buddhism awakens self-esteem and a sense of responsibility of numerous people and offers incentive for entire nations. Buddhism promotes spiritual progress by appealing to the human ability to think. Buddhism a sense of tolerance develops in people through abandoning religious and national narrow-mindedness and fanaticism. Buddhism tames promiscuity and makes people better through prudence and purity of mind. In general, Buddhism creates a sense of self-dependence in each person through teaching that the fate of humanity is in his own hands, and the people have the ability to develop diligence and a vision how to achieve the highest goal.

Buddhism is practical, rational, and it offers a realistic view of life and of the world. Buddhism does not promise people a life in paradise of fools, it doesn’t terrify with various imaginary fears and a sense of guilt. Buddhism does not generate religious fanatics that will harass the followers of other religions. It is worth to note the attitude of Buddhism to other teachings. Instead of trying to convert people into Buddhism, Buddhists will encourage people to follow the religion that they currently practice. This is because Buddhists never believe the followers of other religions are bad people.

Buddhism accurately and objectively explains who we are and what the world around us is. Buddhism approves of the modern scientific discoveries, if they are constructive. Buddhism refers to a person himself as the creator of his own present life and a sole creator of his own destiny. This is the main point of the Buddha's teachings.

The attitude to a family and marriage

Marriage in Buddhism is considered to be a public institution, but not a duty imposed on a man by a religion. This institute serves to maintain order and harmony in the process of procreation, and thus distinguishes human society from the animal world. Although the Buddhist texts do not say anything about monogamy or polygamy, it is recommended for ordinary followers to have only one spouse. The Buddha did not set any rules for family life, but he gave recommendations on how to make a family life happy. There are many indications In Buddha’s sermons that it is better and wiser to be faithful to one spouse, not to abuse the feelings and not to have other relations. In one of the Buddha’s rules he taught his followers to refrain from debauchery or sexual misconduct.

Buddhism has a very liberal opinion about marriage, which is considered a private matter of everybody, but not a duty imposed by religion. There are no rules in Buddhism requiring a person to marry, to remain single or to live in complete celibacy. As well as no rules that oblige the Buddhists to have children or to limit the number of children they may have. Buddhism gives each person the freedom to decide all matters relating to marriage.

Separation or divorce is not prohibited in Buddhism, although there will be almost no need in this if the spouses strictly follow the Buddha’s requirements. A man and a woman are free to leave each other, if they can’t come to a mutual agreement. It is better to separate than to live a long family life that brings sufferings not only to spouses but also to their children. Buddha also recommends older men to abstain from marrying young women, as an elderly husband and a young wife are unlikely to be compatible, which can bring unnecessary problems, disharmony and fall. The marriage institution provides a good basis for the culture development, the wonderful community of two people that exist to support each other and to avoid loneliness, deprivation and fear. The spouses try to complete each other in marriage, try to give strength and courage, to show support, appreciate and recognize the capabilities of the partner.

The need for religious practice in this life

The reason why we should engage in religious practice is, that whatever the material progress can be, it can’t provide us with proper and lasting happiness. In fact, the more we succeed in material terms, the more we have a constant fear and anxiety in our life. On the other hand, it is well known that when a person seeks happiness only in a spiritual sphere he can easier withstand physical deprivations. This is the result of religious practice and transformation of consciousness.

Moreover, even the pleasure occurrence in this life depends on religious practice. Pleasure and pain, big or small, does not appear only because of external, superficial factors; there must be internal reasons for this. Such reasons are - the potency of consciousness, which means latent abilities to commit both virtuous and evil deeds. These potencies reside in a passive state; they are detected due to external causes, and then there occurs a feeling of pleasure or pain. If there are no such potencies, then no matter how many external factors there can be, pleasure or pain can neither arise nor disappear. Such potencies depend on the acts that have been committed in the past. So, no matter in which form of suffering a consequence can appear, first an evil deed should have been done and thus have been “collected” due to the lack of mind discipline. The potency of the acts is laid in the mind, and then when certain reasons appear a person suffers. Thus, all pleasures and all sufferings are basically derived from our mind. So, without a religious practice it is impossible to discipline the mind, and due to undisciplined mind evil deeds are being “collected”. Such deeds, in their turn, lay potency in the stream of consciousness that can yield the fruit of sufferings.