This Buddha era will end when all the
knowledge, evidence and teachings of
Gautama Buddha have vanished. This
belief therefore maintains that many
Buddha eras have started and ended
throughout the course of human existence.
The Gautama Buddha, then, is the Buddha
of this era, who taught directly or indirectly
to all other Buddha’s in it.
In addition, Mahayana Buddhists believe there are
innumerable other Buddha’s in other universes. A Theravada
commentary says that Buddha’s arise one at a time in this world
element, and not at all in others.
The idea of the decline and gradual disappearance of the
teaching has been influential in East Asian Buddhism. Pure
Land Buddhism holds that it has declined to the point where
few, if any, are capable of following the path, so most or all
must rely on the power of the Buddha Amitabha. Zen and
Nichiren traditionally hold that most are incapable of following
the "complicated" paths of some other schools and present
what they view as a simple practice instead.
The major topics dealt in this book are: Introduction to
Buddhism; Buddhist Ethics; Buddhism and Psychology; Buddhist
Philosophy and Science; History of Buddhism; Gautama Buddha;
God in Buddhism; Buddhism and Hinduism; Buddhism an,
Christianity; Buddhism in Thailand; Indian Religions; Buddhism
Architecture and Symbolism; etc.
No doubt, these will serve the purpose of trainees an
trainers, professional and policy planners in the field. Since
the sources of information are all secondary, we express
gratitude to the scholars whose works is cited substantially made use of. We are thankful to all those whose
rendered ready help and cooperation while working on this
We express our gratitude to various scholars, teacher!
and friends for their assistance and guidance. Finally, WE
thank our publishers for bringing out this book in very
Born in what is today Nepal, the Buddha lived and
taught in the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent
and most likely died around 400 Be in what is now modern
India. Adherents recognize the Buddha as an awakened teacher
who shared his insights to help sentient beings escape the
cycle of suffering and rebirth. The Buddha's teachings provide
instructions on how to understand the true nature of
phenomena, end suffering, and achieve nirvana.
Buddhists use various methods to liberate themselves
and others from the suffering of worldly existence. These
include ethical conduct and altruism, devotional practices
and ceremonies, the invocation of bodhisattvas, renunciation,
meditation, the cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom, study,
and physical exercises.
Two major branches of Buddhism are broadly recognized:
Theravada (The School of the Elders") and Mahayana (The
Great Vehicle"). Theravada, the oldest surviving, has a
widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia whilst
Mahayana, which is found throughout East Asia, includes
the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon, Tibetan Buddhism and Tendai. In some methods of
classification, Vajrayana is considered a third branch. Buddhist
schools disagree on the historical teachings of the Buddha
and on the importance and canonicity of various scriptures.
Increasingly, other forms of Modem Buddhism are encroaching
upon the traditionally recognized mainstream branches. While
Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches
are now found throughout the world. Various sources put
the number of Buddhists in the world between 230 million
and 500 million.
Life of the Buddha
The following information about Buddha's life comes
from the Tipitaka (other scriptures, such as the Lalitavistara
Sutra, give differing accounts).
Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was
born in the city of Lumbini around the year 563 BCE and was
raised in Kapilavastu. Moments after birth, according to the
scriptures, he performed the first of several miracles, taking a
few steps and proclaiming, "Supreme am I in the world.
Greatest am I in the world. Noblest am I in the world. This
is my last birth. Never shall I be reborn."
Shortly thereafter, a wise man visited his father, King
Suddhodana. The wise man said that Siddhartha would
either become a great king (chakravartin) or a holy man (Sadhu)
based on whether he saw life outside of the palace walls.
Determined to make Siddhartha a king, Suddhodana shielded
his son from the unpleasant realities of daily life. Years after
this, Gautama married Yasodhara, with whom he had a son,
Rahula, who later became a Buddhist monk.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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