I never really thought about where and when Buddhism began, but I had assumed it started somewhere around Thailand and around 1500 A.D. I had no idea it has been here since 6th century B.C.
I’m glad that I’m born-again, I would hate to spend eternity in hell, especially with the devil. I bet him and his fallen angles/demons don’t even bathe, they’re too busy running around causing trouble. So I bet they really stink.
I would rather be a Buddhist than a Catholic though because even though the Buddhist believes in a false God, Buddha, and will go to hell, their punishment will not be as harsh as the Catholics.
The Catholics know the truth about Jesus, but they teach false doctrines so they are in big trouble.
And that servant which knew his lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes , shall be beaten with few stripes….(Lk 12:47-48).
I want to look at another one of those lost cities, so can we look at…
Prophecy Against Mount Seir
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
“Mount Seir” – Edom, Israel’s relative (Jacob and Esau being twins, Gen 25:21-20) and constant enemy, from whom brotherhood was sought but seldom found. Edom (Seir) had to be dealt with before Israel could find peace.
2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,
3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.
4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:
“Time of their calamity” – Edom looted Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (see Oba 11:14).
6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.
7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.
8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword.
9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:
11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.
12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.
13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.
14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
15 As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Ancient Man’s Cults, Sects, and Religions
Founded: c. 520 B.C.
One of the great world religions found chiefly in Asia and the Far East, Buddhism has been growing in the West rapidly in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Buddhism is ranked as the fourth largest of the world’s religions, behind Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, and claims over 329 million adherents.
Mahayana Buddhists comprise 56 percent of the world’s Buddhist population, with an estimated 185 million.
Therevada Buddhism makes up 38 percent, with 124 million, and Vajrayana, or Tibetan Buddhists, comprise 6 percent, or 20 million Buddhists.
Buddhism was founded by Siddharta Gautama (563- 483 B.C.) Siddharta means “Goal Achieved” and Gautama means “Best Cow.”
He was born to a Hindu agricultural tribe in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. Accounts of his life are filled with both facts and fancy. At the age of twenty-nine, he renounced a legitimate claim to political power.
Leaving his wife and children behind, Gautama became a mendicant, wandering from place to place in search of truth. He spent some time experimenting with Brahmanism but became totally disillusioned with it.
Soon afterward, he engaged in a period of intense meditation and received the long-awaited enlightenment that afforded him the title Buddha. Gautama spent the rest of his life in travel, teaching the religion, or the philosophy, that gained him millions of followers in the centuries ahead.
In 245 B.C. a council of five hundred Buddhist monks gathered together the oral traditions of over three centuries and assembled them into written form in the Pali language. These writings were called Tripitaka.
This Buddhist temple is found in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Buddhism spread rapidly under Asoka (274 -236 B.C.), who sent missionaries to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and as far east as Burma and Ceylon. Buddhism was basically a unified movement at this time.
As is often the case when a powerful military leader dies, however, the followers, previously united under him, split into their own factions. Asoka’s empire was no exception.
A geographical and philosophical split took place shortly after his death. Two systems of thought emerged as a result: Theravada to the south, which retained the Pali language, and Mahayana to the north, where the literature and language was Sanskrit.
These two major parties further divided into the multiplicities of sects that constitute Buddhism today.In a real sense, Buddhism is not a religion at all, if religion is defined as being belief in a divine or supernatural deity, or if prayer, sacrifices, and concepts of a future life constitute vital components.
Gautama did not deny the existence of deities, but he dismissed them as being useless in everyday life. Buddhism, therefore, has been called the religion of practical atheism.
Nancy Wilson Ross correctly points out, however, that it is incorrect to label Buddhism as being atheistic in the deep sense of the term:
Buddhist teaching in relation to the true nature of the soul, or self, probably accounts in part for the allegation that it is a form of atheism. Actually, Buddhism is no more atheistic than it is theistic or pantheistic.
The charge of atheism can hardly be laid at the door of a teacher who declares of the universe, or cosmos, in its wholeness (or thusness):
There is an unborn, an originated, an unmade, an uncompounded. Were there not, O mendicants, there would be no escape from the world of the born, the originated, the made and the compounded.
Buddhism in America
Buddhism has had a marked effect on the United States, particularly on the West Coast. The first Buddhist temple in America was built in 1898 in San Francisco. In 1942 the Buddhist Churches of America with 100,000 members was incorporated.
There were approximately 300,000 Buddhists in America in 2000. A separate movement known as Nichiren Shoshu of America was formed, which proved to be attractive to many non-Asian Americans.
Another modification of Buddhism that has had considerable influence in America and has received recognition as being a separate denomination is Zen Buddhism. Branches of each of the movements exist in major cities across the United States.
The breakdown of the Soviet Union and subsequent relaxation of the persecution of religion has affected Buddhism. Buddhist temples have begun to be built in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities of the former Soviet Union.
In July 1991, Buddhism celebrated 250 years as a recognized Russian religion.
In November 1990, a 33 foot statue of the Buddha was unveiled in Baltimore, Maryland, as a token of desire on the part of Japanese diplomats and businessmen to improve relations between the two countries.
On the same token, large Buddhist statues standing in the mountains of Afghanistan were blown up in 2001 by the Taliban government before its demise as a result of the war with the United States following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Buddhists come together under the banner of the General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
Like the Brahmans of Hinduism, Gautama embraced the idea of reincarnation. Salvation is an ultimate escape from the cycle of rebirth. Other Hindu concepts such as the caste system and the validity of the Vedic writings were rejected by Gautama.
A central idea in Eastern thought is the notion that avidya (ignorance) is the root of all evil. Buddhism embraces this concept in full. Gautama worked out a way of liquidating ignorance that was unlike any of the approaches formulated up to his time.
Having considered the rigors of asceticism on the one hand and unbridled hedonism on the other as being workable means of gaining self-discipline and control, he rejected each as being a failure to destroy that which is fundamental to human nature, namely, passion and desire.
His philosophy is contained in the ‘Four Noble Truths:
1. Suffering is universal.
2. Suffering is caused by desire.
3. To eliminate suffering is to eliminate desire.
4. A path must be followed in order to achieve this (to end rebirth).
The path that Gautama proposed is composed of eight steps, known popularly as the “Eightfold Path”
1. Right belief
2. Right feelings
3. Right speech
4. Right conduct
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right memory
8. Right meditation or concentration.
If one follows these principles, one will become an arhat. Ignorance now eliminated, the Buddhist is then free to enter nirvana. Karma is “blown out,” and the cycle of rebirth is ended.
Buddhism distinguishes between five modes of being:
1. The “Buddhas” or those who have become Buddhas
2. Bodhisattvas (future Buddhas)
3. Pratyeka Buddhas – namely, those who have sought enlightenment personally but have yet to pass such great knowledge to others
4. Aryas (those already on the road leading to nirvana)
5. Prithagjanas – the majority of disciples who do not aspire to the lofty goals of the arhat.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the Eightfold Path, the Buddhist monk who aspires to be a true and faithful follower of Gautama follows ten commandments forbidding:
5. Drinking alcoholic beverages
6. Eating during times when abstinence is in force
7. Dancing, singing, and all forms of worldly entertainment
8. Using perfumes and/or ornamental attire9.sleeping on beds that are not on the floor10.accepting alms of gold or silver.
Buddhism versus Christianity
In stark contrast to Christianity, Buddhism does not embrace the notion of a personal God who is at the same time immanent and transcendent. Rather than a God who is comprised of a threefold personality (Trinity), the Buddhist seems Him as a god devoid of personality.
God is spoken of as a Void without emotion. In the end, the goal for each Buddhist is to divest oneself of personality and emotions to achieve absorption into the great Void (Nirvana), thus breaking the cycle of reincarnation.
Sin for the Buddhist is a concept known as tanha. The word is often translated “lust,” and it means all lust or desire arising in one’s life.
Christianity does not teach that all desire is sinful; only desire that is self-serving violates the moral laws of God. Christianity maintains that sin is both “original” and “actual”; that is to say, sin is part of both one’s nature and one’s actions.
Humans are now conceived in sin and actively rebel against the living God.
Four of the Ten Commandments accepted in Judaism and Christianity forbid stealing, killing, adultery, and lying. But breaking compulsory fasts, dancing, or sleeping on a suspended bed do not constitute a violation of God’s moral law in the ‘Bible and are therefore not sins.
For the Buddhist, any and all desire results in sin. In Christian thought, it is a sin not to desire that which is right (loving God, loving one’s neighbor, etc.).
Salvation and the Future
Historically, Buddhism was a non-missionary religion, meaning that proselytizing efforts were minimal. In more recent times, however, various schools have implemented missionary programs that rival Christianity.
Salvation for Buddhism lies in two areas of emphasis. First, it is the liberation from the cycle of rebirth, or to “cease to exist.”
“By the destruction of thirst (tanha), Attachment is destroyed; by the destruction of Attachment, Existence is destroyed.”
Second, salvation is also considered to be the cultivation of character and ethical stature in the present life by the fulfillment of the law and diligent obedience to the Eightfold Path. Salvation must be attained by the Buddhist himself or herself with no aid from any external source.
“By one’s self the evil is done; by one’s self one suffers; by one’s self evil is left undone; by one’s self one is purified. Lo, no man can purify another.”
The Buddhist seeks for salvation in self, while Christianity teaches that God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to live a sinless life, to die on a cross, and to rise from the dead in order to complete the work of atonement and proclaim victory over death.
Therefore, the Christian does not look within himself or herself for salvation, but rather outward, in faith, toward Christ.
Do not be confused with the Christian belief and the Catholic belief. The Catholic Church doesn’t coincide with Buddhism, but they, like the Buddhists, stand outside of God’s salvation for they teach of the Apostles’ Creed. They teach to get salvation one must:
“Believe in … the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins (performed by priests), the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
The apostle Paul taught something different from the above creed:
For by grace are ye saved, throu
gh faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9).
Jesus Christ and Buddhism
For Christianity – salvation lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
For the Buddhist – one attains salvation through self-effort and diligently pursuing the Eightfold Path.
For the Christian – death is a prelude to an immediate translation into the presence of God.
For the Buddhist – death is one part in a cycle or series of deaths and rebirths.
For the Christian – the idea of a bodily resurrection, an integral part of Christian doctrine, has no place in the Buddhist system.
For Buddhists – the body is a vessel that merely contains that which is permanent and remains behind as one grows closer toward the denouement of the cycle of rebirth.
There are many systems of Buddhism. The two major groupings, the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists, are divided geographically between northern and southern Asia.
Buddhism has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. For example, in 1989 the government of Kampuchea made Buddhism the official state religion.
Simultaneously, Theravadan and Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists actively spread their teachings in Singapore. But in other countries Buddhist monks have not been so well received.
Persecutions against Buddhists broke out in Sri Lanka because of anti-government demonstrations staged by Buddhist monks.
China continues to persecute Buddhism in an attempt to proliferate the Cultural Revolution.