Tag Archives: Buddhism

Buddhism

By Meghan Garrecht-Connelly , Katie Saad, and Haley Schiek

History and Influences of Thai Buddhism:

There are varying theories about when Buddhism reached Thailand. Some say that Buddhism was introduced to Thailand during Asoka’s (a great Indian leader) reign. He sent Buddhist missionaries to many parts of the world. Others believe that Buddhism was introduced much later. Based on archeological and historical evidence, Buddhism first reached Thailand when it was inhabited by a racial stock of people known as the Mon-Khmer who had their capital city situated about 50 kilometers from where Bangkok is now.

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Thai Buddhism

By: Erin Elton & McCall Smith

For Thai’s, Buddhism is more than a religion, it is a way of life. In fact, 95% of people in Thailand are Buddhist (TAT). It has been the dominant religion since early-recorded history, and is the official religion of Thailand. The people of Thailand are extremely proud of their religion, but at the same time are compassionate and tolerant of other’s. They are very open about their beliefs and practices.  Many Thai’s are more than willing to answer any questions visitors have and will even include non-Buddhists in their religious practice. When traveling to Thailand it is important to familiarize yourself with Buddhism, particularly Thai Buddhism (TAT).

buddha

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Temple visits

By: Karsten Gillwald & Melody Van De Graff

Thais perform Buddhist worship at various holy sites throughout the country. We visited several of these sites ranging from traditional “wats” to simple worship sites.  A wat is a monastery or temple in Southeast Asia. All temples have a representation of the Thai Buddha in one of the seven positions (?), an open area in front of the Buddha for worship, offerings to the Buddha and some other form of decoration. Some temples had little more than this, while others were incredibly ornate and complex. Continue reading Temple visits

Buddhism in Thailand

By: Liz Behrens and Rachel Wong

Buddhism is a prevalent part of the Thai society, and even the royal family of Thailand is affiliated with the Buddhist faith.  Approximately 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist.  Because of the pervasiveness of Buddhism in Thailand, the country is also known as “The Land of Yellow Robes” after the traditional garb of Buddhist monks.  The practice of Buddhism has been around for thousands of years, but it is uncertain as to when Buddhism appeared in Thailand.  There is much controversy to when Buddhism arrived to Thailand, formerly known as Siam.  Many scholars believe that the birth of Thai Buddhism began with the Indian emperor, Asoka, who sent Buddhist missionaries to encourage Buddhist worship.  Although this theory is widely believed, historical evidence shows that Buddhist foundations were brought with a group of settlers known as the Mon-Khmer.  Continue reading Buddhism in Thailand

Buddhism: understanding of self, karma, rebirth, enlightenment, and nirvana

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By: Elise Reckinger & Sarah Gammella

Buddhism is a religion that originated 2,500 years ago in Northern India in the fifth century B.C.E. The origin is traced to Siddhartha Gotama known as Buddha, meaning the “enlightened one.” Siddhartha Gotama observed the suffering of the world and set out to find an antidote.  Through meditation he attained an enlighten state that marked the end of attachments and therefore suffering. The spiritual pathway of Buddhism begins with The Four Noble Truths and it is said that within these truths all of Buddha’s teachings are interwoven: the understanding of self, karma, rebirth, enlightenment and Nirvana.

Thomas Knierim, Webmaster and Editor of the “Big View” blog, describes the Four Noble Truths as a gradual progression. Below he interprets the Truths, giving awareness to those of us seeking relief from the suffering we encounter in life.

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering.

Human nature is not perfect, nor is the world we live in. Inevitably we endure suffering both physically and psychologically. There are different degrees of suffering; life is imperfect and subject to impermanence; this means we need to learn to accept the ebb and flow of life’s circumstances (Knierim, 2013).

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. It goes beyond objects and includes ideas and all objects of our perception. We create suffering by searching for things outside ourselves to make us happy and holding tightly to those “things” which will inevitably change and cause suffering (Knierim 2013).

 3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

It is said we can end our suffering by attaining dispassion, by becoming devoid or impartial to our conceptual attachments. Attaining and perfecting dispassion ultimately results in the state of Nirvana, freedom from all worry and troubles (Knierim 2013).

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

This is a gradual path of self-improvement, which is also the path to end suffering as described in the teaching of the Eightfold Path listed below. We find relief in seeking out the middle ground between self-extremes; hedonism (self-indulgence) and asceticism (self-mortification). The path in ending suffering can occur over many lifetimes through the cycle of rebirth.

In understanding the Four Noble Truths, Buddha’s first sermon also described the Eightfold Path. According to O’Brien, Buddha’s teachings are to help us understand the oneness of life, end suffering and lead us in the right direction. She divides the eightfold path into three main sections: wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline.

8 fold path

Right View and Right Intention cultivate wisdom. The Right View is about seeing the true nature of ourselves and the world around us, keeping us free from prejudice. Right Intention refers to the energy and commitment in our mind to have pure and good thoughts in the world (O’Brien 2013).

Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are the ethical conduct path. This calls us into action, to refrain from harmful speech and to see that our deeds come from peace and goodwill and that we earn our living in such a way that we avoid bad karma (O’Brien 2013).

The mental discipline is shown through Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. As we practice these disciplines we learn to see past delusions and overcome destructive desires. We cherish clarity or a good mind, for all that we think, and do. We practice the teachings of Buddha to the best of our abilities (O’Brien 2013).

Karma is another important concept of Buddhism. The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism based on the law of moral causation. The theory of Karma was prevalent in India before Buddhism. However, Buddha explained and formulated this theory in detail. Buddha started to form this theory when he had unexplained questions: What is the cause of the inequality that exists among mankind?  Why should some be blessed and others cursed from their birth? Why should others be congenitally blind, deaf, or deformed? According to Buddhism, this inequality is due to Karma. Karma is defined as any mental, verbal or physical action in past incarnations of life that can determine one’s destiny in future incarnations.  Karma is the result of our past actions and our present doings. We are responsible for our happiness and misery. We create our heaven or hell. We are the architects for our own fate.

Nirvana is the ultimate goal of all Buddhists. Nirvana can be achieved through following the eight noble paths and the four noble truths. It is the path of enlightenment, which leads to the cessation of suffering. Suffering is caused by our desires and expectations of how life should be.  Nirvana is achieved though meditation and the practice of changing our patterns of thought and behavior, so that our mind and mood is not controlled by our desires for fulfillment. Achieving nirvana requires wisdom, ethical conduct, and mental discipline. Once nirvana is obtained, you are in a blissful or peaceful state of mind.  By achieving nirvana, you can escape samsara, the cycle of reincarnation and stop accumulating bad karma because you’ve transcended it.

Currently, in Thailand nearly 95% of the population practices Buddhism of the Theravada school. Theravade is defined as the teaching of elders. It is the oldest surviving Buddhism branch.  More information about Theravade can be found on this website: http://buddhism.about.com/od/theravadabuddhism/a/theravadabasic.htm

APA citations:

Karma. (2013). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

Nirvana. (2013). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

O’Brien, B. (2013). The eightfold path. Retrieved from             http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/eightfoldpath.htm

Knierim, T. (2013, April 08). The four noble truths. Retrieved from

http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/fourtruths.html

[Web log message]. (2013). Retrieved from             http://www.manitobabuddhistchurch.org/sangha/dharmaschool/eightfold-     path-for-children.html

 

 

 

 

Buddhism in Thailand

By: Kirstie Savage, Lisa Swift, MacKenzie Mitchell

History of Buddhism

The birth of Buddhism began with Buddha. Buddha was a man named Siddhartha Gautama who was born the son of a king some 500 years prior to the birth of Jesus. According to legends, shortly after Siddhartha was born holy men examined him and predicted that he would either become a great political leader who would unify India or a great religious leader and a savior of humanity (Boeree). His father, wanting his son to follow in his footsteps, provided him with a life of every imaginable luxury and shielded him from pain and suffering.

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History of Buddhism in Thailand

By: Jane Dahle and Rob Caesar

The development of Buddhism in Thailand has a long history. In order to go into detail about its history, it is necessary to divide it into three different key periods of time, all which have greatly influenced this religion and the spiritual founder Siddhartha Gautama. These three time periods that we will look at include: Theravada, from the Asoka period; the Mahayana period; and finally, the Theravada from Sri Lanka. Siddhartha Gautama’s life accounted for his life discoveries, monastic rules practiced, and path to enlightenment, which is followed by current Buddhists.

First, we will look into the period were Buddhism first started in Thailand during the Theravada from Asoka’s period. Buddhism was introduced and established by King Asoka in Patalilbutta City during the 3rd century B.C. King Asoka sent monks out of the country to follow and learn about Buddha’s teachings. While other monks were learning the ways of Buddha, two monks stayed behind in Thailand to teach people there. During this period, the first signs of Buddhism were seen in Thailand and became very prevalent.

Since the introduction of Buddhism in Thailand, it became noticeable that these beliefs also started to spread to other areas of Asia during the Mahayana period. King Kanitsaka the Great had the intention of spreading Buddha’s teachings farther than just his kingdoms. He began to send groups of monks throughout Central Asia in order to help spread the word. Once Mahayana’s Buddhism expanded into Thailand, it became widely accepted by the people.  Mahayana’s Buddhism spread from the southern regions, to the north via the central areas of the country. This created a large multicultural society, with different dialects that still, today, inhabit the Thai language. The spread of the beliefs of Buddhism had officially begun in Thailand.

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The Buddhist Way of Life

By: Alexandra Guinney and Tamer Begum

With over 360 million followers Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions. It was founded in Northeastern India in 520 BC by a young prince named Siddharta Guatama. Buddhism is a religion and an applied philosophy. The faith does not endorse the existence of a soul, nor does it endorse that worldly things are permanent or the existence of worldly happiness. It goes by following the middle path which is a balance between every aspect of life.

Buddhism is a guide towards eliminating suffering through the eight-fold path that is guided by the four noble truths and the five main moral codes. The purpose for this essay is to describe the ways in which Buddhists play out their everyday lives, the steps to take towards achieving enlightenment, and ways in which we can apply this belief to our daily life and travels.

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