Asked in History, Politics & SocietyReligion & SpiritualityBuddhism
Who is the founder of Buddhism religion?
February 16, 2012 4:05AM
The Founder of Buddhism was the historical Buddha (which means the Fully Enlightened One), born in Nepal (year 623 B.C.) as Prince Siddhartha of the Sakya Kingdom. The natives of ancient Nepal were the Kirat people (Tamang, Sherpa, Rai, Gurung etc.), better known as the Gurkhas today.
Prince Siddhartha left Nepal (in the Himalayan mountain range) at the age of 29 years old, crossed over to ancient India and eventually gained Enlightenment (Bodhi) at the age of 35 years old, at a place subsequently named as Bodhi Gaya. He became the Buddha.
The key teachings of the Buddha, encapsulated in the Four Noble Truths, are:
1. Living a simple life of love, non-violence and compassion will result in a person getting reborn in heaven, or in good circumstances as a human being. The former is consistent with Christ's Teachings. For the latter, clinical cases of human rebirth have been extensively researched and published by Dr. Ian Stevenson, MD and university Professor.
2. Practising meditation / yoga / Zen together with point 1, will bring about spiritual happiness here and hereafter. This is consistent with Laozi's Teachings.
3. Practising points 1 and 2, together with the initial knowledge of the intrinsic nature of all worldly things (impermanence, insubstantiality and insatisfactoriness) will lead to the end of rebirth, and go beyond heavenly existence. This is termed as Nibbana (Nirvana), which the Buddha has described to us as Highest Happiness, Freedom, Unique and Beyond Space-Time Continuum. Nibbana is not existence nor extinction.
4. The precise method for point 3 is known as the Noble Eight-fold Path.
At the age of 80 years old, the historical Buddha entered into Final Nibbana (Parinibbana). 500 years later (year 57 A.D.), the Buddha appeared in a dream to the Han Emperor Mingdi, which prompted the Emperor to ask his Court the next day about 'a golden man with light shining from his neck'. This account is recorded in China's historical archives. One of the official said he had heard of a holy man in the western region, who had find immortality and whose skin was golden. Subsequently, Han Mingdi sent an expedition to found out more. This marked the spread of Buddha's Teachings from the western region (Himalayas), and also India, into the central plains of ancient China.
2600 years later, Albert Einstein said:
"There is a third stage of religious experience…the individual feels the futility of human desires…beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism…contains a much stronger element of this."
Robert Oppenheimer said:
"If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no'. If we ask whether the electron's position changes with time, we must say 'no'. If we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no'. The Buddha has also given such answers when asked (about Parinibbana)."
Niels Bohr said:
"For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory...(we must turn) to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Laozi have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence."