Buddhism Seeks End to Suffering

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

Buddhism Seeks End to Suffering


Byline: Lyndia Grant, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Dalai Lama's visit this week to Washington to receive a human rights award is drawing considerable attention to one of Buddhism's central ideas - the issue of human suffering. Buddhism seeks to offer the solution to human suffering by teaching that through Buddhist practice, one can overcome the sufferings involved with daily living, old age, sickness and death.

It helps one awaken his life force in such a way that he is not defeated through the sufferings of life. Instead, the believer can create value.

Buddhism started in India about 500 B.C. It is considered a religion by some and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who lived about 26 centuries ago in what is now Nepal and northeastern India. He came to be called the Buddha, which means awakened one. This title was not thrust upon him until after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. In English, the Buddha was said to be enlightened, although in Sanskrit it is bodhi, awakened.

In the remaining years of his life, Buddha traveled and taught. However, he didn't teach people what he realized when he became enlightened. Instead, he taught people how to realize enlightenment for themselves. He taught that awakening comes through one's own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.

In the centuries following the Buddha's life, Buddhism spread throughout Asia to become one of the dominant religions of the continent. Estimates of the number of Buddhists in the world today vary widely - in part because many Asians observe more than one religion and because it is hard to know how many people are practicing Buddhism in Communist nations like China. The most common estimate is 350 million people. This large population makes Buddhism the fourth largest of the world's religions.

Buddhism is so different from other religions that some people question whether it is a religion at all. For example, the central focus of most religions is God, or gods. But Buddhism is nontheistic. The Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment.

Buddhism has spread from India to China, Japan to Southeast Asia, said Bill Aiken, the U.S. vice general director of Soka Gakkai International. "It arrived in the United States in the late 19th century through the Asian immigrants who worked in the sugar cane and pineapple plantations of Hawaii, or on building the railroads in the West.

Buddhism remained little known outside of those ethnic communities until the 1960s, when the laws restricting Asian immigration were finally lifted. After that act was passed, the door was opened for many Asians to come to America, and then larger numbers, many bringing with them their Buddhist religion, he said.

Buddhism is a path to waking up, or being enlightened, to a reality that is not consciously perceived by most of us. In most schools of Buddhism, it is understood that enlightenment and nirvana (a profound state of peace and happiness) cannot be conceptualized or explained with words. They must be intimately experienced to be understood. Merely believing in enlightenment and nirvana is pointless.

In Buddhism, all doctrines are provisional and are judged by their skillfulness. The Sanskrit word for this is upaya, or skillful means. Any doctrine or practice that enables realization is a upaya. Whether the doctrine is factual or not is not the point.

The immigrant communities and many other Americans have found Buddhism to be a very valuable philosophy in life. They have found very good techniques to find stability as a person and open up compassion. It cultivates their inner lives. Mr. Aiken was attracted to Buddhism because of his desire to build up his inner self during the '60s. Buddhism is not distinct to any particular class or race. All classes and demographics practice this religion today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Buddhism Seeks End to Suffering
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.