Buddhism and Silk Road Essay

Gautama Buddha and Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama is famously known as Gautama Buddha and was a sage who found the idea of Buddhism. The Buddha was known to possess supernatural powers and abilities. He was born in the holy land of Nepal and his Journey of an ideal human started in India. Gautama Buddha began his ascetic life and discovered Buddhism and since then Buddhism has been popular throughout many civilizations and is one of the most ancient religions in the world, where people follow Buddha and Buddhism which gained popularity because of aspects like the silk road and the teachings of Buddha.

Buddhism prevailed as a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and comprises of varieties of traditions, beliefs and practices based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha over centuries now. There are many reasons why Buddhism became so popular and entered into many civilizations. Buddhism gradually began to be popular throughout Asia alongside India. Buddhism has blossomed in the contemporary world, especially in the West. It is an issue to wonder what Buddhism offers that other religions cannot and has become so significant worldwide.

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I have discovered that Buddhism has become an idea that is widespread and the teachings f Gautama Buddha have made real difference in many civilizations like India, China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and others. Buddhism has answers to many problems in the materialistic societies including a deep understanding of the human mind. Buddhism brought a different light into the Indian civilization in contrast to Hinduism during the rule of Asoka. The first and main reason of the popularity of Buddhism was the work of Emperor Asoka. In the 3rd century B. C. the Indian emperor Asoka greatly strengthened Buddhism by his support and sent Buddhist missionaries as far afield as Syria. Asoka believed individuals deserved individualistic paths that only they could craft. This happened because he believed in the sacred teachings of Buddhism where humanity is profound and the four noble truths of Buddhism including the eight fold paths that give insight to human beings. Julia Hardy mentions that “Asoka, who ruled much of the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century B.

C. E. , encouraged the spread of Buddhism by having edicts containing basic Buddhist teachings carved in stone and on pillars throughout his empire and beyond. ” Various stupas were created as a step to make Buddhism popular as a eligion during the Mauryan Dynasty. During this time, Buddhist Scholasticism was a driving force behind the growth and Spread of Buddhism. “On the Indian subcontinent, huge monastic complexes emerged that served as centers for learning, similar to today’s modern universities.

The largest housed as many as ten thousand monks” (Hardy) Another reason why Buddhism has become so popular throughout many civilizations as a religion is because of its ideals and the four noble truths. Buddhism is highly intellectual. The four noble truths contain the essence of Buddha’s teaching. These truths have the power to attract people towards it. Ashoka was influenced by tnese teacnlngs ana was nlgnly aevotea towards duo sm Bu anlsm teacnes people the truth about Suffering. It is an aspect of Buddhism that is true and can be generalized in the actual world. Fortunately the Buddha’s teachings do not end with suffering; rather, they go on to tell us what we can do about it and how to end it” (BBC Religions). It is this massive influence that makes understanding and following Buddhism so crucial in the history of civilizations. Buddhism teaches the truth of the cause of the suffering, the end of suffering and finally the path that frees us from suffering. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are the heart and core of the Buddha’s teaching and dharma. When understood, they lead to your realization and awakening.

Like many other religions, Buddhism is used as a resolution to common problems experienced in modern-day life. People often turn to Buddhism when they are fed up with money, the rat race to success and corrupting political power. Buddhism helps to let go of all things material and focus on that what is really important in life. Monks were also thought to have special powers such as the ability to heal sickness, predict the future, and control rain. This was another reason why people had faith in Buddhism and preferred it as a major religion for years now.

Merchants played a huge role in the spread of the religion as they found the moral and ethical teachings of Buddhism to be appealing and a step toward humanism. Buddhist philosophy and ideas play a significant role in the religions of many ancient civilizations. One of the other main reasons why Buddhism has been so popular throughout many ancient civilizations is the Silk Road. Buddhism found its way through the Silk Road linking China to the Middle East and Europe from India to China and then Korea and Japan. During the first century A.

D Buddhism began to spread throughout Southeast, East and Central Asia. “The transmission of Buddhism from India to China (and from there to Korea and Japan) is perhaps the most significant of the cultural exchanges that took place along the Silk Road” (Amster). Buddhism was brought from India by missionaries and merchants and then established in Central Asia. Zen Buddhism became popular in China after this. Also, the voluntary conversion of Chinese elites helped the spread of Buddhism in East Asia, which was called Mahayana.

China then passed on Buddhism into Japan through the Silk Road ecause of which Buddhism became popular in Japan. Statues and other forms of Buddhist art were carried from country to country as well through the Silk Road, and became a visual means of introducing Buddhism to new lands. There were different schools of Buddhism traveling along the Silk Road. These different schools and movements of Buddhism were a result of the diverse and complex influences and beliefs on the Silk Road. Each region to which Buddhism traveled developed its own monasteries, universities, and temples.

Mahayana Buddhism in China also influenced Buddhism in Tibet. Chinese Buddhism was transported to Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Vietnam, and each country developed its own particular forms” (Hardy). The different symbolic structures of Buddhism like stupas and monasteries played a vital role in the transmission of the Buddhist message. “Art was not only part of ritual and worship, but also served to transmit religious ideas, design motifs, and artistic styles between cultures” (Amster). I nougn Buaanlsm Is not tne most popular rellglon In tne world, many people stlll follow Buddhism for its various aspects.

However, the work of Emperor Asoka, ntroduction of the Silk Road and the ideals and four noble truths provided by Buddhism have contributed to its popularity throughout the various civilizations. Thus, the idea of Buddhism as a religion was created by the great Gautama Buddha and gained popularity over centuries. Works Cited Amster, Martin, and Lier Chen. “Buddhism and Cultural Exchange along the Asian Silk Road. ” Hardy, Julia. “Buddhism- Mission and Expansion. “Patheos I Hosting the Conversation on Faith. N. p. , n. d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. “Religions- The Four Noble Truths. ” BBC News. BSC, n. d. web. 01 NOV. 2013.


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