Free Essay on Buddhism

The most taught philosophy in the Buddhism religion is that nothing is impermanent. Life never ends, the soul just simply moves on to a new place. Death is only a part of someone’s life, it is seen as just one of the states of transition. A Buddhist scholar Edward Croze said “Death is not to be regarded as a unique catastrophe which happens when one existence comes to an end, but it takes place all the time during the existence. The ideal attitude towards death is based on this awareness and involves acceptance of the process of change.”

The Buddhist believe that time does not move in a straight line with a beginning and an end, but in a circle where there is no beginning or end, where things just simply exist. With this philosophy, they believe that the universe was not created out of nothing at a particular point in time, nor will it be destroyed completely. It has always existed and will always exist.

Although they believe that the universe will never end, it will go through a continuos cycle of destruction and creation, over and over again. This means that when someone or something is born, it is not a new soul but one that was simply reborn. And when they die, their soul simply moves on to a new place and time.

This belief is not exactly classed as reincarnation because it is not the same being that moves from body to body down through the ages. The connection between one life and another is not as simple and is subtler than that. Life is a spiralling chain that reaches back into the past and will continue forever in to future. The more appropriate word is rebirth.

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The state of mind of a person at the moment of death is important of determining the place of rebirth. Family, friends and monks stand by the deathbed reciting scriptures to help the person meditate. Funerals are important for Buddhist people. The person who has passed is usually cremated three days after death. During the waiting period monks chant scriptures and teach about impermanence. After the cremation there are often ceremonies transferring merit to the deceased, which also happen on the anniversaries of the person’s death.

When a person is reborn it is very unlikely that they will be born back into the human realm. There are in fact six realms in which someone could be reborn;

  1. The heavens (the realms of the devas or gods, plus some rarefied regions above them.)
  2. The realm of the asuras or titans, who, like their Greek counterparts, are the bellicose old gods.
  3. The realm of human
  4. The realm of animals
  5. The realm of preta or hungry gods
  6. The hell realms, which in Buddhist writings are numerous and extremely nasty.

An important symbol in the Buddhist religion is the Samsara or the wheel of life. The wheel decides the nature of one life according to Buddhism.

Holding the wheel of life is the Mahakala, who is the lord of time, he also symbolises life and death. The three cardinal sins make up the centre of the wheel. The rooster symbolises passion, the pig symbolises stupidity, and the snake symbolises hatred. Around all of the sins are those with bad karma on the right, and those with good karma on the left. The six spheres of existence make up the next circle. The wheel, like the buddas search for truth, is in the last circle which shows the twelve links in the chain of causation.

The highest aim of Buddhism is not to ensure access to a kind of eternal heaven after death. In fact four out of the six realms are unpleasant and painful. The teaching is to live a good and faithful life and if the wheel spins right you will be rewarded for your life of kindness and understanding.

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