Buddhism essays

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Buddhism essays

The religion of reason and meditation was born in India, sixth century B.C. and throughout the centuries has spread over vast areas of Asia.It is estimated that today between 1/5 and 1/3 of the people of the world practice some form of Buddhism.From its beginning, Buddhism spread outward from northeastern India.Once in decline, and now revived, Buddhism is taught and practiced in not only Asia, but has spread to modern Europe and America (Ross 3).So what is it about Buddhism that despite cultural differences, followers have kept the philosophy alive for more than 2,500 years?
Archaeological excavations completed in 1995 indicate that Buddha, born as Siddhartha Gautama (Sanskrit) was born in Nepal on the Nepal-India border, about 145 miles southwest of Katmandu, approximately 563-483 B.C. (Worldbook online).Buddha, or the enlightened one, is the founder of this philosophy.This son of an aristocrat and a long awaited heir led a sheltered and protected life surrounded by influence and privilege (Ross 5).His father "took great precautions to prevent Siddhartha from experiencing any distressing incidents that could cast the slightest shadow on his happiness" and forbid his son even into manhood from wondering outside the protective walls of the palace compound (Ross 7, 8).Being restless and curious, Siddhartha chose not to obey his father's rules and began to take secret outings where he discovered what is known in Buddhist lore as the "Four Signs".What he discovered was an old man, a very sick man, and a corpse.Until then Siddhartha had never fully realized what old age could mean in the way of weakness and disability.He had no true sense of the toll the body takes by serious illness or the effect that the finality of death had on the mourners left behind.Siddhartha became deeply disturbed by his growing awareness of life's tragic side.He began to ask himself how it was possible f…