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Buddhist Aims, Philosophical and Religious

Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics and epistemology.

Continued from << When Did Buddhism Start?

Buddhist philosophy does not depend on ontological or metaphysical speculation that is based on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs (Ayatana). Buddha is said to have assumed an unsympathetic attitude toward speculative thought in general.

Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics and epistemology

To reduce Buddhism to its essential elements, the following is a short summary of its aims, philosophical and religious.

Taking but a one-sided view of man's condition upon earth, looking chiefly at his miseries and sufferings, the Buddha does not try to revert to his origin, and to derive it from a higher source.

His beliefs carry him no further than to suppose that the present life is a continuation of past existences, of which man is now bearing the fatal penalty. He believes in transmigration: herein lies his first dogma and his first error. It is necessary then that man should at any cost be delivered from the cycle of perpetual births to which he is condemned; and the Buddha takes upon himself to point out the path which leads to deliverance and frees him from this terrible bondage. Filled with mercy and compassion, he gives to mankind that he came to redeem, a moral code, and he promises eternal salvation to those who follow it. What then is eternal salvation, according to the Buddhist faith? and how can man be delivered from the law of transmigration? Only in one way; by attaining Nirvana, that is annihilation.



Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics and epistemology

Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist Aims, Philosophical and Religious cont..

When man, thanks to the practice of the austerities and virtues that the Buddha taught, has once reached annihilation, he is well assured that he will never, under any form, be reborn into the odious cycle of successive existences; and when all the elements of which he is composed, both material and spiritual, are completely destroyed, he need no longer fear transmigration; and the blind fatality which rules all things in the universe has power over him no more.

This seems indeed a hideous system; but it is a perfectly consistent one. In the whole of Buddhism, from beginning to end, there is not a trace of the idea of God. Man, completely isolated, is thrown upon his own resources. Cast into a world he does not understand, without Providence and without support, staggering under the weight of human infirmity, he has but one hope; that of escaping from his earthly suffering. Wandering in utter darkness, he yet does not seek for light by aspirations towards something higher. His horizon limited to what his senses bear witness, and his knowledge of self as limited and inaccurate as the phenomena amid which he drags out his existence, his intelligence is not sufficiently developed to attain the source from which he himself, as well as the world, has emanated.

Next >> Earliest British Witness Discovering Buddhism - B. H. Hodgson

Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist Aims, Philosophical and Religious

Text adapted from 'The Buddha and His Religion'
by Jules Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire (19 Aug 1805 – 24 Nov 1895)


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The Buddhist Flag
First hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith.

Buddhist Flag Picture - Buddhist Flag Colours - The Buddhist Flag Sri Lanka 1885

Buddhist Flag Meanings
Blue: Universal Compassion
Yellow: The Middle Path
Red: Blessings
White: Purity and Liberation
Orange: Wisdom


 
Buddhist Philosophy - Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics and epistemology

The Dharma Wheel

Spokes of the Dharmachakra - "The Dharma Wheel" Meaning - The Dharma Wheel Symbol - The Dharma Wheel Image - 8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga)

In Buddhism—according to the Pali Canon, Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka, Mahavagga, the number of spokes of the Dharmachakra represent various meanings:

8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga).
12 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada).
24 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination and the Twelve Laws of Dependent Termination (Paticcasamuppada).
31 spokes representing 31 realms of existence (11 realms of desire, 16 realms of form and 4 realms of formlessness).


Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is a Japanese Buddhist chant based upon the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin (Feb 16, 1222 – Oct 13, 1282) a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, entitled Myōhō-Renge-Kyō in Japanese, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment and the chanting of Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō as the essential practice of the teaching. Various schools with diverging interpretations of Nichiren's teachings comprise Nichiren Buddhism.
Nam - To devote one's life
Myoho - Myo is the mystic nature of life and Ho, its manifestation
Renge - "Lotus Flower"; which symolises the ballance of cause and effect
Kyo - Sutra, the voice or teachings of Buddha (The sound or vibration that connects everything in the ubiverse)


As the Buddha had never claimed to be a god, it is evident that he never prescribed the form of worship that was to be rendered to him. A legend, however, attributes to him the institution of this form of worship

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