1- origins of buddhism
Buddhism refers to the teachings of a man named Siddhattha Gotama who lived in Northern India maybe 2500 years ago. He was a young prince of the Shakya clan who left his life of luxury to find the answer to why people suffer. He practiced for many years before finally becoming enlightened at the age of 35. He taught all across India until his death at the age of 80. 2-core beliefs
The core beliefs of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths:
1. Life means suffering.
To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and -in a greater sense- all objects of our perception. Ignorance is the lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
The cessation of suffering can be attained through nirodha. Nirodha means the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment. The third noble truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion. Nirodha extinguishes all forms of clinging and attachment. This means that suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas. Nirvana is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.
There is a path to the end of suffering - a gradual path of self-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are merely "wandering on the wheel of becoming", because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.
The Buddha referred to the 4NT as the "Elephant's footprint" because just as all footprints can fit inside the footprint of an elephant, all spiritual truths can fit inside the Four Noble Truths.
3- some practises and rituals?
Meditation is the core of Buddhist practice. Other rituals include dana, or giving to monks, and ritual bowing and incense offerings. 4-a couple symbols?
Definitely the Dhamma Wheel is the biggest one. 5- sacred writings?
The sacred writings of Buddhism are referred to as the Pali Canon, a giant collection of the Buddha's teachings as well as rules for monks and other things. All told, it's about 20,000 pages. There are English translations for most parts available though. 6-leading figure
The Buddha, for sure. Other important figures include Sariputta, the Buddha's wisest follower, and modern day teachers like Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Brahm, Mahasi Sayadaw, Pa Auk Sayadaw, and others. 7-holy palces?
Buddhism isn't that big on holy places, but there are a few in Northern India. I dont' know much about them.
8- Major religious holidays?
One important period is the Vassa, a three month period where monks will rededicate themselves to the practice of meditation and lay people often make extra efforts too. It's almost like a Buddhist lent. Vesak is another holiday where people celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti SuttaStuff I write about things.