During an "Axial Age" of idealistic creativity, Buddhism emerged as a mystical guide to escape the mundane rituals of the physical world (8 January 2008). Founded by Siddhartha Gautama, the nature of Buddhism transposes Enlightenment against the social conventions of traditional Hinduism.Through a heightened sense of spirituality and physical detachment, the ideals of Buddhism offer much insight on the concept of achieving self-enlightenment and the fallibility of class distinctions. Although the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama were politically limiting and non-withstanding in India, the religious and social pragmatism of individual Enlightenment, as seen through the Four Noble Truths and the disintegration of the caste system, were tremendous contributions of the Buddhist philosophy.
[...] divinity of Buddhism had originated in thought as Siddhartha decided to dedicate his life to a way that could extinguish the suffering he realized was inevitably eminent in the world. Developed in the terrains of India, Buddhism defines itself as an attempt to lead away from tradition and worldly attachments. After renouncing all his titles and possessions within the Kshatriya class, Siddhartha set about learning the “extreme asceticism” of Jainism for six years under the teachings of the Upanishads (21 February 2008). [...]
[...] The social collaboration that Buddhism entails is a defining product of the philosophy. Those who were able to overcome the traditional force of the caste system learned to live among one another in a “monastic community” which was the “crucial factor in the efficacy” of Buddhism (Strong 80). Through the demands of the philosophy, those within the sangha, or order of Buddhist followers, were able to look to one another, as equals, for moral support. This included the acceptance of women and people of the lower castes. [...]
[...] This realization forces Buddhism to return to its core doctrine of the Four Noble Truths and its origination of an endless karmic rebirth of pain and sorrow (21 February 2008). Desire fills the world and strips the spirit from any tangible form. Buddhism aligns itself with individual progress before its theories could be implemented diligently in the physical world. Though a hard concept to accept, the denunciation of any desirable affiliation will slowly lead one to attaining individual Enlightenment. The known Hindu paths before Buddhism did not parallel the ideals of Siddhartha. [...]
[...] Even though Buddhism did not sustain overwhelming acceptance, the principles of the philosophy had lasting contributions that shifted social views for future generations. The defiant rejection of the caste system proved to be a “radical egalitarian impulse” on behalf of the Buddhist followers (21 February 2008). Although an unsuccessful attempt, the Buddhist challenge to the caste system laid the initial stepping stones for future civil equality movements. The outwardly objection of the caste system brought to light its socially damaging demeanors. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee