(A handbook of religion
was published by the Foundation for Pluralism in August 2004.
All the groups were given the same set of questions, and some
are really silly like denominations in Atheism. Here is the
production of such writings from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and
every one in between; it is in two parts, essence of the faith
and general information about it. We invite you to send your
firstname.lastname@example.org for updates and new
information.- Please send us the preferred websites to be linked
at the bottom - THE INFORMATION IS IN TWO PARTS)
PROFILE & ESSENCE
Compiled by : Ben Boothe
Originator: Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha=the enlightened one)
People who shaped the religion: Buddha lived, roamed and taught
religion from 535 BC to 483 BC, when he died in his early 80's.
religion took the place of many pagen religions, and swept all
250 years later a council of Buddhist monks collected his
teachings and oral
traditions into written form called: Tripitka
People who wrote the books: See above
Who is worshiped? No person or God is worshipped. The religion
is unique in
that it calls for personal responsibility and introspective
study of the
mind and mentall processes, with emphasis on gaining
principal goal is to be compassionate to others. Various
like "Tara" (the symbol of compassion), or "Manjushri" (symbol
ignorence with wisdom and knowledge) are used as visual tools to
Holy Books (Original Language): Tripitaka....all languages of
although the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition in Sanscrit and Tibetan
considered the most pure form of ancient teachings.
Holy Places of Worship: Buddhist temples throughout the world.
A few: The
(now controlled by China), Daramsala, India (where
the Dalia Lama lives), Lumbini (where he was born in Nepal, Bod
India(Where he found enlightenment), Sarnath (near Varinasi
India) where he
preached his first sermon.
Key Tenets: Compassion, love for mankind, respect, taking full
responsibility for your mind and actions, meditation, respect
respect for all human life, enlightenment and the search for it,
and generosity to those in need.
Prayer Rituals: "OM MANI PADNE HUN" Is the most ancient prayer
Buddhists, meaning: "All hail to the jewel in the lotus" or
acknowledged and are in awe of the beauty and value of the
and Buddha, and the process of trying to attain enlightenment,
simple lotus that grows from the murkey mud, and blooms in glory
sees the light."
Current Leadership: Each nation has autonomous leadership,
Holiness the Dalai Lama is the current symbolic head of
Buddhism, from the
Decision Makers: See above
Interpretations: Varies with the nation
in the high mountains is the source of power and holy
water representing the ultimate stupa symbol, with symbolic
spiritutual and intellectual growth. All of the holy rivers
flow from it,
including the Ganges.
Denominations: Theravada,Mahayana, and Tibetan
Major Festivals: Losar, February 21 is the most important
Dietary Laws: Many Buddhists are vegitarians, although others
will eat meat
if someone else kills and slaughters the animal.
Sensitivities: Don't kill any living being
What is not polite? Talking while eating, a meal is to be
enjoyed and each
bite considered and fully appreciated, when with monks.
Customs from birth to death:
Textual support for Pluralism: Buddhists believe there is
beauty and truth
in all religions.
World Population: The world's 4th most populous religion
US population: Unknown but growing
North Texas Population: Unknown but growing
Ben B. Boothe
Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a
cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God,
avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural &
spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from
the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a
Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, being
exceeded in numbers only by Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. It
was founded in
by the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. He was born circa 563
BCE in Lumbini which is
in modern-day Nepal. At the age of 29, he left his wife,
children and political involvements in order to seek truth. It
was an accepted practice at the time for some men to leave their
family and lead the life of an ascetic. He joined a group of
similarly-minded students of Brahmanism in a forest where he
fasted for six years. He is said to have brought himself to the
brink of death by only eating a few grains of rice each day.
Ultimately, he rejected this path. He realized that
enlightenment lay in pursuing a "Middle Way" rejecting both extremes of the mortification of
the flesh and of hedonism as paths toward the state of Nirvana -
a state of liberation and freedom from suffering. His
was largely defined by moderation and meditation.
BCE, he attained
enlightenment and assumed the title Lord Buddha (one who has
awakened) He is also referred to as the Sakyamuni, (sage of the
Sakya clan). He had many disciples and accumulated a large
public following by the time of his death in his early 80's in
and a half centuries later, a council of Buddhist monks
collected his teachings and the oral traditions of the faith
into written form, called the Tripitaka. This included a very
large collection of commentaries and traditions; most are called
Buddhism expanded across Asia, it evolved into two main forms,
which evolved largely independently from each other:
Theravada Buddhism (sometimes called Southern Buddhism;
occasionally spelled Therevada) "has been the dominant
school of Buddhism in most of Southeast Asia since the
thirteenth century, with the establishment of the monarchies
in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos."
(sometimes called Northern Buddhism) is largely
China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.
which might be added:
which developed in isolation from Theravada and
Mahayana Buddhism because of the isolation of
Since the late 19th century:
Modern Buddhism has emerged as a truly international movement.
It started as an attempt to produce a single form of
Buddhism, without local accretions, that all Buddhists could
embrace. It stresses non judgmental, compassionate
teachings, and encourages all to meditate and strive for
features of Buddhism are:
The stress on Compassion as a guiding rule of life in
relationship to all sentient beings.
The concept that each person takes responsibility for
his actions, thoughts, his life, and does not rely upon a
third party or “God” to control, dictate, or judge his life.
the Dalai Lama is a widely published speaker, author, and
teacher. His teachings are:
Open to scientists efforts to study mental functions
during meditative states. Modern science has verified and
proven many ancient Tibetan meditative practices as useful and
The Dalai Lama teaches that if modern findings disagree
with traditional beliefs then those beliefs must be questioned
and tested. He believes we should give credence to truth, even
if scientific evidence disagrees with ancient tradition, truth
must prevail…thus truth is whatever holds the most valid
His Holiness encourages the exchange between spiritual
people and modern physicists and scientists.
Nonviolence: H.H. advocates nonviolence as the only way
to solve conflicts in the long run. His efforts to Free Tibet
have always demanded non violence.
Non Judgementalism: H.H. defines secularism as “Being
aware of other traditions and having respect for all
religions, but not taking any one of them as the only possible
Happiness: H.H. teaches that all human beings desire and
should pursue happiness in the most effective way possible.
Wisdom in the path to happiness is important.
*Do not lie *Do not steal *Love one another *Help the poor
and orphans *Be kind to all creatures *Do not kill *Be generous
with your time and wealth *Consider the needs of others *Work
hard, with diligence and work well with every effort being a
reflection of your “beliefs”. *In all things, show compassion.
*Take full responsibility for your actions. *Every action causes
an effect. This is called Karma.
teaches the respect and reverence for nature, the ecology and
that every human should care for this globe, our environment, as
a sacred duty.
the 1st day after the new moon is a festival
celebrated as New Years Day by Buddhists in China, Vietnam and
Korea. 2002 was the year 4702 by the Chinese Buddhist Calendar.
Losar: The first day after the new moon is a religious and
cultural festival celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists as New Years
day. 2004 is year 2131 in the Tibetan calendar.
To become a Bodhisattva (Saint), the Dwan Yin dispenses
compassion with 1000 arms. Tibetans call him: Avoletksvara.
Spring Ohigon is a special time to listen to the teaching of
Buddha and meditate on enlightenment.
The Saka calendar’s New Year’s day is a celebration for
Sinhalese, Indians, Burmese, Kampucheans, Laotians and Thai
The Wassana marks beginning of a 3 month “rain retreat” for
monks and nuns
Marks the Buddha’s 1st discourse, called Turning of
the Wheel of Dharma, and Kwin Yin’s “Setting on the Path”
“Ullambana” Buddhist make offerings to the Buddha, Dharma and
Sangha (precious jewel of 3) on behalf of ancestors. Some call
it Happy Buddha Day.
The fall Ohigon celebrates the September equinox
Pavarana marks the end of the rain retreat.