Don’t panic or get skeptical just yet. We’re including this bit not to promote a certain kind of religion (everyone is free to choose what beliefs they want to follow), but to show you its history, its practices, and how it played a role in allowing Meditation to be the way it is today.
History Of Buddhism
Buddha. You’re already imagining a golden idol or statue of a jolly bald man with a huge belly. Or maybe you’re thinking of an image, a painting, of a man, his hair in a bun (faux-bun O.G., though uniquely shaped), legs crossed, one hand on his palm in a resting position on his laps. Likewise, there are many other interpretation generation after generation have of the Enlightened One.
You might be surprised to know that the Buddha, or then known by his full name, Siddhartha Gautama, is not a god, nor did he lift himself up as one when he was still living. He doesn’t even say so in his teachings.
Who was he?
A man born in affluence (it is said that his hometown is present day Nepal) and royalty, about 2,500 years ago. As he grew up, he saw and was greatly upset by the great divide between the wealthy and the poor. As a result, he started asking questions about life, sickness and death. Consequently, this led him to leave his life of luxury and be devoted to Indian asceticism.
Unlike others, he was a seeker, and it is only rightly so that this is what he is known in the present: The Seeker of Truth. Seated under a Bodhi Tree, which will later be deemed as the Tree of Awakening, Siddhartha allowed himself to be at peace with himself. Stories say that he was in such a meditative state that he received “Enlightenment.”
In addition to that key moment, this had resulted in him writing teaching after teaching about the meaning of life and how one can answer that question within himself. How one can attain fulfillment.
So Then… What Is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a belief or a tradition where its followers adhere to the teachings of its proprietor, Buddha. There are no gods in Buddhism, only doctrines or principles that lead to spiritual development within each man and woman.
Buddhists believe that as we journey through life, we must tread on the path towards Enlightenment, and the way to Enlightenment is through doing good deeds, gaining wisdom, and, you’ve guessed it meditation.
The 4 Noble Truths Of Buddhism
1. Dukkha: The truth of suffering
2. Samudāya: The truth of the origin of suffering
3. Nirodha: The truth of the cessation of suffering
4. Magga truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
Before we go off tangent here, let’s go back to the “why” of mentioning this sacred practice or tradition.
Meditation, which is an important foundation of Buddhism, not only teaches about how the world and all it holds always change. It doesn’t tell us to leave our comforts behind and be ascetics (if you wish to be so, that’s your choice). Also, it doesn’t only teach us to do good to others and to be wise.
Moreover, Buddhism encourages us to find self-fulfillment and positivity, and how one can live happily with these truths constantly in mind, though regular practice of meditation.