Buddhism is a philosophy/religion that was created by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) over 2500 years ago, founded on Hindu beliefs. There are two major divisions: Mahayana and Theravada, and many subdivisions. Fundamentally, Buddhists believe that one must rise above desires, to reach a state of enlightenment. Buddha was idolized, and subsequently deified, but he never claimed to be anything more than a man (dictionary. com, 2005). The goal of this paper is to answer the following questions based on the assigned readings for week two: What scared elements characterize Hindu religious traditions?
And what are their significance meanings? Buddhism Is A Quest For Nirvana After reading the book Buddhism by Malcom David Eckel, if I had to define Buddhism it would not be by principle that governs a Buddhist way of life but the ultimate goal to which that life is directed, the key would be nirvana. Nirvana is the definitive cessation of the suffering that plagues human existence. The concept of nirvana gains its meaning and much of its importance in classical Buddhist thought from the assumption of reincarnation or transmigration (samsara), an assumption that Indian Buddhist share with their Hindu counterpart (Eckel, D. 1946).
Classical Buddhist sources pictured human life as a continuous cycle of death and rebirth. A person, or sentient being could rise on the scale of transmigration as far as the gods in heaven or fall down through the realm of animals to one of the lowest hells. The realm of a person’s life in a future life is determined by the actions or karma performed in this life (Eckel, D. , 1946). Good actions could bring a good rebirth and bad actions could bring a bad rebirth.
In either case, however, the results in are impermanent. According to Eckel even the actions that brought rebirth in the highest heaven eventually would decay and condemn a person to wander again through the realms of rebirth. The only way to escape the cycle all together is to extinguish the ignorance and desire that drives a person again and again into the realm of rebirth. Extinction is called nirvana, the blowing out of the ignorance and desire (Eckel, D. , 1946).