Buddhism in China

I thought I was done with Eastern religions for now, but I got interested while reading another book, which said that Buddhism did not really catch on in China and I want to find out why. (Source for the following: The Religious World: Communities of Faith). The first Buddhist monks came in from India and…

History of Medicine: Ayurveda, Traditional Indian Medicine

I can’t believe it’s been half a year since I’ve written on this. Lots going on, but I’m picking up after reading about Hinduism and Buddhism months ago, delving into Ayurveda, which gets its underlying philosophy from the aforementioned religions of India. Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional medical system of India, originating two to three…

Buddhism: Zen and Vajrayana

Mahayana Buddhism itself has split into various forms, two major ones being Zen (in Japan) and Vajrayana (in Tibet). Zen Buddhism has a very interesting (and as Smith puts it, bizarre at first sight) way of attaining enlightenment. Zen Buddhists believe that reason is limited, for it cannot help us to think about the unseen,…

Buddhism: Theravada and Mahayana

As most religions eventually do, Buddhism has split into different denominations. Huston Smith describes reaching nirvana as going across a river, from the shore of ignorance to the other side of enlightenment and knowledge. The different kinds of Buddhism are merely different ways to the same end. Believers cross this river with a kind of…

Buddhism: Three Marks of Existence

The Buddha believed there were Three Marks of Existence 1. Dukkha (suffering) The way to combat this is by letting go of the world and entering nirvana. What is nirvana actually? Smith states it is the process of destroying the barriers the limit the finite. Some find this nihilistic, but Smith believes it is actually…

Buddhism: The Eightfold Path

The Fourth Noble Truth states that there is a way to end suffering, via the Eightfold Path. Here I list them (from Huston Smith’s “The World’s Religions”): 1. Use of good reason 2. Know your true intensions. Make them correct and genuine 3. Be truthful and kind in speech. Don’t belittle others, gossip, etc. 4.…

Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths

Buddha reached enlightenment after days of contemplation and concentration, so what did he actually come to realize? His epiphanies are known as The Four Noble Truths: 1. Life is suffering, or dukkha A quote from Huston Smith better explains the meaning behind this: The exact meaning of the First Noble Truth is this: Life (in…