By Amanda K.
In 563 B.C.E., a man named Siddhartha Gateman (later named Buddha)
was born. The minute he was born he could run easily, and speak perfectly.
When he was 29 years old he left his wife, new born son, and princely position
to wear an old man’s robe, and went to find enlightenment.
When he was 35 he found enlightenment and returned home to his wife and
son. He entered Parvenu at age 80, and died peacefully later that
Nearly 250 years later an Indian emperor wrote down several pillars full of Buddha’s life history. A religion was formed; it had elements of Hinduism, and Shinto in it. It was called Buddhism.
Today over 350 million people practice Buddhism. Mostly people practice Buddhism in Japan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Hawaii, and Mongolia. They believe in reincarnation, and can become a Buddha by following the eight right fold path. May 4th is Buddha’s birthday, and on that day Buddhists celebrate his life, death, and reincarnation. It’s a celebration of the anniversary of his life, much like the Indian emperor wrote on the pillars of his life history.
Before Buddha’s birthday is remembered, the Buddhist New Year happens.
In preparation they buy new clothes, clean the house, pray vigorously,
and bathe excessively. When it begins in April, the Buddhist
people send their children to the temple with a rope, and when they return,
they have a burning rope for the lights and fires. The children are
given gifts of money, and small toys. After the New Year, they celebrate
a butter festival. The festival is celebrated by creating statues
of Buddha out of butter, and judging them to see whose statue is the best.
People such as Lama Catherine, and Dalai Lama are famous people in Buddhism, and have contributed a lot to Buddhism. Lama Catherine was a person born in Brooklyn, New York, and was a reincarnated lama. Dalai Lama is called the head of the monks, or the spiritual leader of Buddhism. Other people were famous in the creation of Buddhism and the enhancement of it, such as Nichiren, who was the son of a fisherman who raised consciousness to enlightment, and enjoyed Zen greatly.
Although the people that practice Buddhism pray to Buddha himself, Buddhist people can become a Buddha
by following the eight-fold of rightness, and living a full life. They become one of the "Awakened Ones", and totally lose desire for anything! The Buddhist people practice Zen heavily, and believe that they are also Zen. They say that through a child’s eyes, everything is a present moment, but it is really a precious moment. Buddhist people also say that when they enter Nirvana they become a water drop in an ocean.
By becoming a Buddhist monk, you would live in Spartan conditions. You would eat little, live without your families for long periods of time, and would live life as if you were already in Nirvana, happy but peaceful. The concept of Buddhism is to look at a man/woman’s suffering and teaches them to not send people to fix their mistakes, but to solve the problem themselves.
Buddhist monks live lives of virtue and devotion. They live simple lives and own few possessions, they eat one small meal a day, and live at monasteries. Monks make special offerings, wear orange robes similar to Buddha’s clothing, and shave their heads completely. The major Buddhist monk festivals are Katrina, and the butter festivals. Katrina is the festival of thanks at the monasteries. At the butter festivals they create statues of Buddha out of butter and enter them in contests. They also believe in terrifying devils, goblins, and other deities. The Buddhist schools are in India, other Asian countries, and now there are even some in the United States. By becoming a monk and a bodhisattva you would take on a sacrificial role.
In conclusion, Buddhism is not only a religion; it’s a way of life. Buddhism shows its followers that when you try hard, and help others, you will get what you deserve. By leading a good life you will enter nirvana, and enter total bliss.