Buddhism

Buddhism

Buddhism

Buddhism

Excerpt

Conceived in Asia, Buddhism is an historic expression of a universal human ideal. It offers any individual or society a voluntary way of thought and conduct, based upon an analysis of conditioned existence, dependent upon supreme human effort, and directed toward the realization of freedom in perfect existence.

As a way of life, Buddhism has been variously understood, followed, and expounded by its adherents, and variously studied, interpreted, and described by non- Buddhists. Ethnic traits and social customs, subjective interests and partial knowledge, and many other factors have influenced the development of Buddhist beliefs and practices and thus condition an understanding of the nature of Buddhism by all concerned.

In its historical development and geographical expansion--in twenty-five centuries, over thirty Asian countries, and some twenty-two Asian languages--Buddhism has been designated in several ways. The Theravāda Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia traditionally speak of, and live in, the Buddha Sāsana. The Pāli term sāsana (cf. Sanskrit śāsana) means "teaching, doctrine, discipline, religion" and "is perhaps the nearest equivalent of the modern expression, Buddhism. In its developed sense, it denotes a System. It has a socioreligious content and is used as a term of delimitation . . .

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