Today I am giving an informative speech on Buddhism. Now, “informative” is the key word here. I just want to reasure everyone that I am simply going to explain some of the philosophy of Buddhism. I am not, however, trying to sway your beliefs or views on life in ANY way. Instead, I’m going to share with you some of the basic things that I know, and however you choose to use the information, if at all, is totally up to you. In fact, one of the strongest beliefs of a Buddhist, is that their “way of life” is NEVER forced on anyone. To shove it down someones throught would contradict almost everything the Buddha had to say.
To start, I wanna clear up some simple, misinterpretations that some of you may or may not have made, probobly due to the lack of information.First of all, Buddhists do not worship the Buddha, and the Buddha was not a God. He was just a teacher and an inspiration to his followers. He was someone who had obtained “enlightenment”, or been awakened to the way that all things are. Kinda like a “meaning of life” sort of deal. Which is much more complex than many would expect. At first when Buddha discovered this, after meditating for several days, he believed it was pointless to try and teach someone what he has obtained, that his thoughts couldnt be explained through the means of words. but he was soon convinced when he came across a wondering holy man told him that “some people just have a little dust in their eyes, and can be helped if someone could wipe some of it away.”
Now for the basic explination of how Buddhism works…
Buddhists consider it the job of scientists to explain origins of the universe and life. So there is no contradiction with scientific discovery. Although most buddhists say the world creates and recreates itself millions of times every fraction of a second.
After Death, as Buddhist would say that there is no transmigration of individual souls, but through the law of karma, a persons wholesome or unwholesome intentions become imprinted in the mind. Negative mental states persist through continual rebirth until one’s intentions become wholesome. In a nut shell, this means for all the things you do or intend to do, that are concidered harmful to others, karma will balance it out in this or other lifetimes. This is also known as reincanation. Once fully enlightened (however many lifetimes it takes for karma to balance), one is liberated from rebirths, reaching a state of selflessness, resulting in an untimate bliss (what Buddhists call Nirvana)and one becomes Buddha, or “one with Buddha”. Some Buddhists, especially modern western, dont emphasize or believe in rebirth.
People have free will to commit wrongs or rights. Evil doing may result when egoism, cravings, attachments, and ignorance are expressed as greed, hatred, and violence, which, if not realized, results in rebirth.
For a Buddhist, Enlightenment is an individual journey to Nirvana (or complete bliss)–liberation from suffering and cycles of rebirth. This is acheived by what Buddhists call the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path. To eliminate karma, which causes rebirth, a person must extinguish the belief of the ego or “self” which create cravings, desires, and attachments. The path to enlightenment includes loving-kindness and compassion, moral conduct, clarity, wisdom, and meditation.
An Unenlightened life is concidered suffering, and getting rid of this suffering is the primary goal of Buddhism–to reach Nirvana, and to end cycles of rebirth. Suffering is a result of past-life greed, hatred, and ignorance, which return as suffering (karma), while compassion toward others who suffer reduces the effects of karma.
The following are some views on current issues, that a Buddhist would have:
Abortion is considered murder, and all violent acts cause horrific karmic consequence. Homosexuality in itself is not specifically condemned by scripture, but opinions vary, especially among various Buddhist cultures. Buddhists in the United States are generally very accepting, while some Asian Buddhists are generally strongly opposed to homosexuality. It is believed that divorce wouldn’t occur if one follows Buddhist precepts, but a couple is not condemned if they separate due to vast personal differences.
Now dont worry, many of you are probobly sitting there, wondering what the heck I’ve been talking about for the past 4 or so minutes. This IS natural. When I started this speech I came to the conclusion that Buddhism DEFFINATLY couldnt be fully explained through a simple 4 minute speech. Most the information that I am dishing out at you left and right, has taken me several books, and many personal experiances to understand. But, if for any reason, this has caused a spark of interest toward ANY of you (not just in Buddhism, but in ideas in general) . Feel free to let me know after class, I can always recommend good sources of information. . I work much better, and make more sence in a more question/answer atmosphere. Thank you.