Wednesday, June 6, 2012


buddha’s middle path


Chapter 1

About 1500 BC, a number of nomadic herders who had long since migrated from the Central Asian came to northwest India. They spoke an Indo-European language- an early form of Sanskrit. They dominated northwest India and established supremacy over the people they found there. The Aryans didn’t destroy previous existence cultures; they learned from it, and they no doubt reinvigorated themselves. The civilization that afterwards developed and spread throughout India was therefore the result of the dynamic interaction of the Aryans with the other peoples of India. The period of Indian is known as the Vedic Age ( c.1500-500 BC), because of a series of literary compositions of great antiquity known as the Veda (Knowledge) :
1.Rig Veda
2.Yajur Veda
3.Sama Veda
4.Atharva Veda.
In this  society, there were four hierarchical groups :
1.the Brahmin priest hood (brahmana).
2.The warriors and aristocrats ( kshatriya )
3.The traders and other professionals ( vaishya)
4.The cultivators (shudra)

Another group excluded from the main society was called Parjanya or Antyaja. This group of former  ‘’untouchables’’ ( now called Dalists ) was considered either the lower section of Sudras or outside the caste system altogether. The caste was a closed system, one born into a caste, there was no leaving it. Upward or downward mobility was unknown. Bramin was the highest social class in the Indian caste system. Many priests took the homeless life as followers of the alternative spritual tradition. We can find identifiable sects emerging, each wit its own philosophy and practices. There were five main sects  in the 6th century BC:
-_Ajivikas: Makkkhai Gosala (Determinism)
- Lokaÿatas ( Materialism)
            -The Sceptics
            -The Jains
            -Buddhism: the fith sect was founded by Siddhartha Gotama., the Buddha.
Indian people followed the brahminical doctrines, accepted the notion of Dharma and the notion of personal rebirth or incarnation. They practiced meditation and other mystical disciplines, including forms of yoga.


 Chapter ii

The Buddha was born of the Aryan race in the Kashatriya of the Sakya clan, whose country lay along the south edge of Nepal. Its capital was Kapilavastu. His father, Suddhodana was Raja ( king ) of the Sakya clan. It was on a journey from Kapilavastu, that his mother, Maya, gave birth to a son in the Lumbini Garden which lie just over the modern border of the Nepal Terai. The child was called Siddhartha , the family name being Gotama. At sixteen , he married Yasodhara, and by her had a son, Rahula. But from earliest childhood, he had been usually self-possed and never satisfied for long with sensuous delights. He was a man with a mission. The dates of his life are still controversial, but it is probable that he was born in 563 BC, left home when he was 29, attained enlightenment when he was 35 and passed away in 483 BC, at the age of 80. 

The story tells how the young prince, driving forth from the palace, saw an old man, then a sick man, then a dead man, and at the sight of each asked his charioteer the meaning of what he saw. "This comes to all men" said the charioteer, and the prince’s mind was troubled that such was the effect of birth, the common cause. Then he saw a recluse with a shaven head and a tattered yellow robe. "What man is this?" he asked, and was told it was one who had gone forth into homeless life. He returned to the palace, deeply pondering, and that night, he revolted from sensual pleasures , and the flame of compassion awoke within him. 

Not for the first time, but now with overpowering effect, he left the positive call to save not only himself but all mankind from birth in the world of suffering. One night, he bade farewell to his sleeping wife and baby, and went forth with Channa, his charioteer, and Kanthaka, his stallion. At the edge of the forest he alighted, cut off his long black hair with his sword and sent it back to the place by the hand of Channa. He exchanged his princely robes with those of a beggar, and went forth into the homeless life, alone.

He visited first Alara Kalama, a noted sage, and studied with him, but he found no answer to his heart ‘s imperious demand. So he went to Uddaka, another sage, and receive the same reply. He passed through the country of Magadha to the town of Uruvela, and there settled down in a grove of trees to find Enlightenment.
For six long years he mediated, practicing the utmost physical austerities until he all but wasted away. He conquered fear, subdued all lusts of the flesh; he developed and controlled his mind, but still he did not find Enlightenment. Finally he realized that not in austerities could truth be found . He decided to eat again, and the five ascetics living with him departed in disgust. He accepted a bowl of curds from a maid, Sugata, and having eaten and bathed, seated himself in the lotus posture at the foot of a tree, determinded to achieve without more delay the full fruits of Enghtenment. It was the night of the full moon of May, and he was thirsty five. The journey was over, and a new Buddha  was born.

When  Buddha found the Enlightenment,  he rested under the Bodhi Tree to mediate. As for trying to communicate his great discovery, however, he felt that it would be a waste of energy even to try. Human beings were simply too deeply caught up in worldly attachment and pursuits to want to hear about it. But then the great god Brahma Sahampati appealed to him, saying that some people who could be released from the coils of suffering if he would consent to teach.
"Lord, let the Blessed One preach the Dharma! May the Perfect One preach the Dharma ! There are beings whose mental eyes are scarcely darkened by any dust : if they do not hear the Dhamma they will perish. There will be somewho will understand" (Majjhima NikaayaI.  26. The Noble Search). 
The Buddha’s deep  compassion was aroused and he agreed to the idea. The decision was made. The Buddha would preach the Dhamma to mankind.
I will beat the drum of the Immortal in the darkness of the world"  
(Majjhima NikaayaI.  26. The Noble Search).
But preach to whom? His early gurus, Alara Kalama and Uddaka, had passed away. He decided to teach the five ascetics who had left him when he parted from their austerities, He rose and slowly made his way to Benares. There in the Deer Park of Isipatana, he found them and they called him "friend", but the Buddha told them of his Enlightenment and they paid him the respect that was due to him.
On the night of the Full Moon of July he preached to them his first sermon of " Setting in Motion the Wheel of Righteousness". He spoke of two extremes of sensuality and mortification, and of the Middle Way, the sweetly reasonable Middle Way which lies between ; he taught the Four Noble Truths of suffering and its cause , desire and selfishness, of the removal of that cause ,and of the Eightfold Path which leads to the end of suffering. And the leader of ascetics , Kodanna ," obtained the pure and spotless Dharma -- Eye " and was the first to be ordained a disciple of the Tathagata.
There is in the Deer Park of Sarnath near Benares the site where the Buddha proclaimed his Dharma,
" glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, glorious in its end." 

 Soon, the other four ascetics perceived the Truth of the Dhamma and they, too, were ordained. And to them,  Buddha preached his Second Sermon, setting forth the famous Anatta doctrine .
The Buddha was about 35 when he became Enlightened .He lived until he was about 80, and those last 45 years of his life were given over to teaching. He walked the hot and dusty roads of central- northern India, going from village to town to city, addressing himself to all who wanted to hear what he had to say, regardless of distinction of sex, caste, vocation or religion. He was a truly liberal and generous teacher.
He was also apparently a very inspiring teacher, for right from the start large numbers of people were ready to give up everything in order to follow him and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the practice of his teaching. In the early days, the Sangha was so strong. The monks of this rapidly-growing Sangha lived the homeless life, wandering from place to place, carrying the Buddha’ s teachings out into the world " for the welfare and happiness of the many folks". There were 1,250 monks in this Sangha and the most famous monks were Kassapa, Moggallana Ananda ,and Sariputta who became Buddha’s chief disciples. Five hundred bhikkhus (monks) became Arahats when the Buddha was still living.
During the last days, a lot of monks and nuns gathered around the Buddha. He praised Ananda:
"Monks, those who, in the past, were worthy ones, rightly self-awakened, had foremost attendants, just as I have had Ananda. Those who, in the future, will be worthy ones, rightly self-awakened, will have foremost attendants, just as I have had Ananda. [1]  
At Nadika, he  gave his disciples  the teaching called the Mirror of the Dhamma. And also in Nadika,  the Blessed One often gave counsel to the bhikkhus :
Such and such is virtue; such and such is concentration; and such and such is wisdom. Great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of concentration when it is fully developed by virtuous conduct; great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of wisdom when it is fully developed by concentration; utterly freed from the taints of lust, becoming, and ignorance is the mind that is fully developed in wisdom [2]

At Vesali, in the village of Beluva, the Buddha addressed the monks and nuns: 

Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.[3]
 At Kusinara, he exhorted the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis:
All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness! [4]
This were  the last words of the Tathagata. When Buddha passed away, Ananda conducted the Tathagata's funeral following  Buddha’ s  will:
Now at that time Kusinara even to its rubbish heaps and cesspools  was strewn knee-deep in coral-tree flowers. 

So the devas and the Kusinara Mallans, worshipping, honoring, respecting, and venerating the Blessed One's body with heavenly and human dances, songs, music, garlands, and scents, carried it to the north of the town, entered the town through the north gate, carried it through the middle of the town and out the east gate to the Mallans' memorial called Makuta-bandhana. There they set it down.
Then the Kusinara Mallans said to Ven. Ananda, "Venerable sir, what course should we follow with regard to the Tathagata's body?"
"The course they follow with regard to the body of a wheel-turning monarch, Vasitthas, is the course that should be followed with regard to the body of the Tathagata."
"And what, venerable sir, is the course they follow with regard to the body of a wheel-turning monarch?"
"Vasitthas, they wrap the body of a wheel-turning monarch in new linen cloth. Having wrapped it in new linen cloth, they wrap it in teased cotton-wool. Having wrapped it in teased cotton-wool, they wrap it in new linen cloth. Having done this 500 times, they place the body in an iron oil-vat, cover it with an iron lid, make a pyre composed totally of perfumed substances, and cremate the body. Then they build a burial mound for the wheel-turning monarch at a great four-way intersection. That is the course that they follow with regard to the body of a wheel-turning monarch. The course they follow with regard to the body of a wheel-turning monarch, Vasitthas, is the course that should be followed with regard to the body of the Tathagata. 

A burial mound for the Tathagata is to be built at a great, four-way intersection. And those who offer a garland, a scent, or a perfume powder there, or bow down there, or brighten their minds there: that will be for their long-term welfare  and  happiness."
So the Kusinara Mallans ordered their men, "In that case, I say, gather the Mallans' teased cotton-wool."
Then they wrapped the Blessed One's body in new linen cloth. Having wrapped it in new linen cloth, they wrapped it in teased cotton-wool. Having wrapped it in teased cotton-wool, they wrapped it in new linen cloth. Having done this 500 times, they placed the body in an iron oil-vat, covered it with an iron lid, made a pyre composed totally of perfumed substances, and set the body on the pyre. [5]    
At last, they built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Buddha’s relics:
Then King Ajatasattu Vedehiputta of Magadha built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Rajagaha.The Licchavis of Vesali built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Vesali.The Sakyans of Kapilavattu built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Kapilavattu.The Buliyans of Allakappa built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Allakappa.The Koliyans of Ramagama built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Ramagama. The brahman of Vettha Island built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics on Vettha Island. The Pava Mallans built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Pava.The Kusinara Mallans built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the Blessed One's relics in Kusinara. Dona the brahman built a burial mound and held a ceremony
for the urn. The Moriyans of Pipphalivana built a burial mound and held a ceremony for the embers in Pipphalivana. Thus there were eight burial mounds for the bone-relics, a ninth for the urn, and a tenth for the embers. [6]

The Buddha had arrived at Nibbana, but the Dhamma and Sangha still have existed in this world. Many Buddhist Centers, many Buddhist schools have established to conserve and develop the Beauty and Peace of  Buddhism.

chapter iIi
AND  THE rise OF the schools

After the Rain Retreat following the  Parinivana, 500 senior monks met together at Rajagaha under the presidency of Mahakassapa to collect the Words of the Buddha. Therefore, they settled the contents of the three Pitakas, or Baskets, of the Canon. The Venerable Ananda recited the Sutta pitaka (the Basket of Sermons), Venerable Upali, the oldest monk, repeated the Rules of Disciple of the Order ( the Vinaya pitaka), and Kassapa himself recited  the Abhidhamma or the Pitika of metaphisics, psychology and philosophy.

            The second Council, was help at Vesali about  a hundred   years  later.
The third Council, was help at Pataliputra (modern Patna) under the patronage of the Emperor Asoka about 200 years after the Pirinirvana.
The fourth Council, was help under the patronage of King Kanishka at Jalandhar or in Kasmir around 100AD. This is not recognized by Theravadins.
 In the second Council, the Sangha was devided into two schools because of the observance of Rules : the orthodox majority and the unorthodox minority. The orthodox school of the Elders  later became known as the Sthaviravada when the schismatics called themseves the Mahasangha, the Great Sangha’’, later Mahayana, the ‘’Great Vehicle’’. In India, 18 schools were arisen. Each had its own version  of what Buddha had taught and different views on how that would be interpreted.
The third Council consisted of 1000 bhikkhus, and took place under the presidency of Tissa Moggaliputta. Plans for dispatching missionaries abroad were  drawn up as well.

According to the view of Theravada, derived from Sthviravada in Sri Lanka, one of 18 schools still survives today, a Fourth Council was held  in the Aloka Cave near the village of Matale in Sri Lanka during the 1st century BC. The entire scriptural canon of the school was the rehearsed, revised and commited to writing on palm leaves (35-32BC).
            After the Second Council, the Sangha was devided into two schools (Sthaviravada and Mahasanghika)  and ended up numbering about 18 or 20 schools.18 schools. 
1. Sthaviravada (上座部)
Sthaviravada was split into 11sects. These were:
說一切有部(Sarvastivadin), 雪山部(Haimavata)
犢子部(Vatsiputriya), 法上部 Dharmottara)
賢冑部(Bhadrayaniya),   正量部(Sammitiya)
密林山部(Channagirika), 化地部 (Mahisasaka)
經量部(Sautrantika )
2. Mahasanghika    (大眾部)
Mahasanghika was split into 8 sects. There were
說部(Ekavyaharaka), 出世部(Lokottaravadin)
雞胤部 (Kaukkutika多聞部(Bahussrutiya)
北山住部(Uttarasaila)., 說假部(Prajnaptivada)
制多山部(Caitika)、西山住部 (Aparasaila)
                        (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
In the 13th century, the Muslin invasions  expunged Buddhism from India. After a long history, Buddhism   underwent a great change. Now a lot of Buddhist schools still survive. Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana are three basic schools today:

1.    Theravada
Theravada derived from Sthaviravada. This is the earliest form of Buddhism. Thera means 'old' and 'vada' means school; the word is sometimes translated as 'The Teaching of the Elders'. Its main scriptures are contained in the Pali canon, which was written down in the first century BCE. This contains the essential teachings of the Buddha, rules for monastic life and philosophical and psychological analyses. Through the sangha (the Buddhist community of monks and nuns), the basic doctrines and practices are preserved. Both 'calm' meditation (samatha) and 'insight' meditation (vipassana) are practiced within this school but there is more emphasis on the latter. The goal in Theravada Buddhism is to attain enlightenment. 

2. Mahayana
This school of Buddhism developed out of the Theravada between 100 BCE and 100 CE. It regarded the Theravada school as 'the lesser vehicle' (Hinayana) and themselves as 'the Great Vehicle' (Mahayana). The arising of the Mahayana school of Buddhism (1st / 2nd century CE) went together with the adoption of new (previously not-existing) sutras, and introduced new (or emphasized old but not very central) philosophies such as the Bodhisattva and having the intention of liberating all sentient beings.

 Since this constituted a break with the previous traditions and customs that the 'early schools' had in common, the Mahayana is seen as a 'reformist' or revolutionary movement, and not included in any list of the early schools. They regarded striving to win enlightenment for oneself was a selfish act and replaced it with the 'Bodhisattva ideal'. In this is the idea that one's primary objective is not to win enlightenment for oneself but to help all sentient beings first. From 20th century, many monks and scholars called them Northern Buddhism and Southern Buddhism instead of Mahayana and Hinayana.
Pure Land and Zen belonged to  Mahayana. 
·         Pure Land
This school of Buddhism arose in China in about the fifth century CE, later spread to Japan. The starting point were the Sukhavativyuha scriptures which described a Western Paradise (Sukhavati) or Pure Land. The aspiration of Pure Land Buddhists is to obtain rebirth in the Pure Land, presided over by Amitabha Buddha (the Buddha of Infinite Light). Faith in Amitabha is demonstrated through the recitation of the following mantra: Namu Amida Butsu ('Hail to Amitabha Buddha'). It is believed that recitation of this mantra ten times with genuine faith will guarantee entry into the Pure Land on death. 

·         Ch'an/Zen
the words Ch'an in China and Zen in Japanese derive from the Sanskrit word dhyana meaning meditation. It's not surprising that meditation is a prime characteristic of this school of Buddhism. The founder of Zen was Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who traveled to China in the sixth century CE. For Bodhidharma, the experiential dimension was the most important so we find in Zen Buddhism a rejection of the scriptures for more direct methods of gaining insight. 

This included giving much more emphasis to the master and disciple relationship. Traditionally, zen masters have used koans (riddles that have no logical answer; for example, What was your face before your parents were born?) and mondos (questions and answers) which, as with koans, defy logic. The idea behind these is to jolt the mind out of its habitual thought processes into satori (a flash of insight in to the true nature of reality). The idea is to let the pure mind, the Buddha nature within, reveal itself. The practice of sitting meditation (zazen) is seen as crucial to this process. It is often referred to as 'just sitting'. 

      3. Vajrayana Buddhism

When Buddhism spread northwards to Tibet in the 7th century a tradition known as Vajrayana - the Diamond
or Thunderbolt Vehicle - developed. Explore its rich and complex teachings, cosmology, rituals and symbols,  Vajrayana can be seen as a tantric school.

Chapter iv
The development of Buddhism

i. the spread of buddhism
During the third century B.C.E. the spread of Buddhism was furthered by Ashoka (270-232), the third of the Mauryan kings who created the first pan-Indian empire. Ashoka was converted to Buddhism by a Theravada monk and, after a bloody war of conquest against the neighboring state of Kalinga, he recognized that such aggression violated the principles of Buddhism. From this point on he renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy. He began to implement Buddhist principles in the administration of the kingdom and, in order to inform the populace of his political and ruling philosophy, he had edicts inscribed on stone pillars and placed throughout his kingdom. A number of them still survive today. His reign is considered by Buddhists to have been a model of good government, one that was informed by Buddhist principles of righteousness and respect for life.
The Theravada tradition spread from India to Sri Lanka and Burma in the third century B.C.E., and from there to Yunnan in southwest China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, South Vietnam and Indonesia. Pockets of Indian merchants practicing Buddhism were soon found on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and even as far as Alexandria, Egypt. Other forms of Theravada spread from that time to modern-day Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, eastern and coastal Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. These were the ancient states of Gandhara, Bactria, Parthia and Sogdia. From this base in Central Asia, they spread further in the second century C.E. to East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and further into China, and in the late seventh century to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. 
The Chinese form of Mahayana later spread to Korea, Japan and North Vietnam. Another early wave of Mahayana, mixed with Shaivite forms of Hinduism, spread from India to Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia and parts of South East Asia starting in about the fifth century. The Tibetan Mahayana tradition, which, starting in the seventh century, inherited the full historical development of Indian Buddhism, spread throughout the Himalayan regions and to Mongolia, East Turkistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, northern Inner China, Manchuria, Siberia and the Kalmyk Mongol region near the Caspian Sea in European Russia.

The expansion of Buddhism throughout most of Asia was peaceful and occurred in several ways. Shakyamuni Buddha set the precedent. Being primarily a teacher, he traveled to nearby kingdoms to share his insights with those who were receptive and interested. Likewise, he instructed his monks to go forth in the world and expound his teachings. He did not ask others to denounce and give up their own religion and convert to a new one, for he was not seeking to establish his own religion. He was merely trying to help others overcome the unhappiness and sufferings that they were creating for themselves because of their lack of understanding. Later generations of followers were inspired by Buddha's example and shared with others his methods that they found useful in their lives. This is how what is now called "Buddhism" spread far and wide.


            In the  19th century, Buddhism began to have an influence on the European and American people.
1. Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907) 
Henry Steel Olcott was an American Colonel, a pious Presbyterian household in Orange, New Jersey. In 1874, while covering reports of spirits materializing at a farmhouse in Chittenden, Vermont, he struck up a friendship with Russian occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. One year later, he and Blavatsky co-founded the Theosophical Society, an organization that would soon play a major role in introducing Americans to the ancient wisdom of the East. After moving themselves and their society to India in 1879, Olcott and Blavatsky decided it was time to visit Ceylon.

 They arrived in Colombo on May 16, 1880, and on May 25, at the Wijananda Monastery in Galle, Olcott and Blavatsky each knelt before a huge image of the Buddha and took pansil by reciting in broken Pali the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts of Theravada Buddhism, thus becoming the first European-Americans to publicly and formally become lay Buddhists. 
During his first visit to the island, Olcott founded seven lay branches and one monastic branch of the Buddhist Theosophical Society (BTS). Olcott also founded Buddhist secondary schools and Sunday schools .
Each year, on February 17, Buddhists throughout Sri Lanka light brass lamps and offer burning incense to commemorate the anniversary of the death of an American-born Buddhist hero. In Theravadan temples, saffron-robed monks bow down before his photograph, and boys and girls in schoolhouses across the country offer gifts in his memory. May the merit we have gained by these good deeds, they meditate, pass on to Colonel Olcott, and may he gain happiness and peace.
2.    The Buddhist flag
The Buddhist flag is a flag designed to symbolize Buddhism. It was designed in 1880 by the Colombo Committee, comprised of Ven Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera (Chairman), Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera, Don Carolis Hewavitharana (father of Anagarika Dharmapala), Andiris Perera Dharmagunawardhana (maternal grandfather of Anagarika Dharmapala), William de Abrew, Charles A. de Silva, Peter de Abrew, H. William Fernando, N. S. Fernando and Carolis Pujitha Gunawardena (Secretary). Colonel Henry Steele Olcott, an American journalist later made suggestions for modifying it, which were adopted. It was first hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka and is a symbol of faith and peace. The five colours of the flag represent the colours of the aura that emanated from the body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment.
The Pali Text Society was founded in 1881 by T.W. Rhys Davids "to foster and promote the study of Pali texts".
Pali is the language in which the texts of the Theravada school of Buddhism is preserved. The Pali texts are the oldest collection of Buddhist scriptures preserved in the language in which they were written down.
The society first compiled, edited, and published Roman script versions of a large corpus of Pali literature, including the Pali Canon, as well as commentarial, exegetical texts, and histories. It publishes translations of many Pali texts. It also publishes ancillary works including dictionaries, concordance, books for students of Pali and a journal.
4. The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) 
The World Fellowship of Buddhists is arguably the largest and most influential international Buddhist organization. It was founded in 1950 in Colombo, Sri Lanka by representatives from 27 nations. Although Theravada Buddhists are most influential in the organization, (its headquarters are in Thailand and all of its presidents have been from Sri Lanka or southeast Asia),
members of all Buddhist schools are active in the WFB. It now has regional centers in 35 countries, including India, the United States, Australia, and several nations of Africa and Europe, in addition to traditional Buddhist countries.
The Aims and Objectives of the World Fellowship of Buddhists are:
1. To promote among the members strict observance and practice of the teachings of the Buddha
2. To secure unity, solidarity, and brotherhood amongst Buddhists
3. To propagate the sublime doctrine of the Buddha
4. To organize and carry on activities in the field of social, educational, cultural and other humanitarian services
5. To work for happiness, harmony and peace on earth and to collaborate with other organizations working for the same ends. 

According to The International Encyclopedia, philosophy is the systematic inquiry into fundamental questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, and behavior. As an academic discipline, philosophy has three central areas of inquiry and a number of other related subdisciplines that follow from these three areas. The three core areas are metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.
And according to Wikipedia, philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.

The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom". The following branches are the main areas of study:Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Logic , Philosophy of language , Philosophy of law , Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of religion, Philosophy of science, Political philosophy. Buddhism is a philosophy because of Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of mind, and Philosophy of religion.

According to Wikipedia, religion (from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,""obligation, the bond between man and the gods" is derived from the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure"(Wikipedia)
According to Max Müller, the root of the English word "religion", the Latin religio, was originally used to mean only "reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety" . But in fact, each country has each conception of religion. In the Sanskrit word "dharma", sometimes translated as "religion", also means law. In Chinese, Tạo , the way, means religion. Buddhism is a philosophy and a religion , and it is a way to happiness and freedom.

The four largest religious groups by population, estimated to account for between 5 and 7 billion people, are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism . Some scholars argued that Buddhism is not a religion because the Buddha did not declared that he was a God, or disciple of God. But the Buddha teachings related to the divine things such as six roads of samsara including asura, God, gods, devils...

Many people believe that the human being has two parts: the body and the soul. The Buddha taught Impermanence and cycle of life. Impermanence (Pāli: अनिच्चा anicca; Sanskrit: अनित्य anitya; Tibetan: མི་རྟག་པ་ mi rtag pa; Chinese: 無常 wúcháng; Japanese: 無常 mujō; Korean: 무상 musang; Thai: อนิจจัง anitchang, from Pali "aniccaŋ") is one of the essential doctrines in Buddhism. Rebirth is conditioned by the karmas (actions of body, speech and mind) of previous lives; good karmas will yield a happier rebirth, bad karmas will produce one which is more unhappy. The Bhavacakra or "Wheel of Life" is a popular teaching tool often used in the Indo-Tibetan tradition. It is a kind of diagram which portrays these realms and the mechanism that causes these samsaric rebirths. In this depiction, the realm of the Devas is shown at the top, followed clockwise by the realms of the Asuras, the Pretas, Naraka, Animals, and Humans. Close examination will show that the Buddha is shown as being present in every one of these realms.


God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions (and other belief systems) who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism. God is most often conceived of as the supernatural creator and overseer of the universe. Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the many different conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Maimonides, Augustine of Hippo, and Al-Ghazali, respectively. Many notable medieval philosophers and modern philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.

Many religions believe in God .Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (1st century) as presented in the New Testament. The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and as Savior and Lord. Almost all Christians believe in the Trinity, which teaches the unity of Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. Most Christians can describe their faith with the Nicene Creed.God is the Creator. In Hinduism, God is Brahman, an impersonal Absolute . In Christianity, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. In Islamic theology, God (Arabic: Allāh) is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. The Bahá'í view of God is essentially monotheistic. God is the imperishable, uncreated being who is the source of all existence.

In China, God is tian , or 上帝, Shàng​dì. God is also the Sky, the Absolute, (太極 tài jí or 無極 Wú jí the source of all things.Some Christian priests considered the Concept of God in Christianity and the concept of God in Chinese are the same, but in 1704, the Roman Catholic Church rejected this idea (1).
The atheists conclude that "God does not exist", the agnostics say " no one knows whether God exists" . Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian A.E. McGrath, argue that the existence of God cannot be adjudicated on for or against by using scientific method. Agnostic Stephen Jay Gould argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap. There are two contrary ideas.
On the one hand, somebody say that God is very necessary and compassionate.

-中庸 Zhōng Yóng) said:"If you want to know people, you must know God" (2);
-"God loves people" (3).
On the other hand, some scholars indicate that God is very bad:
-He is cruel, he considers people as a straw dog"(4).
- God is jealous (5).
-God is unjust (6).


According to the canonical Buddhist scriptures, there are three realms: the Desire realm (kāma-dhātu), the form realm, ( rupa-dhātu) and the formless realm (ārupa-dhatu). Three realm consist of about 30 worlds.
A. Formless realm (arupa-dhātu)
(1).Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana or
(2).Ākiṃcanyāyatana or Ākiñcaññāyatana
(3). Vijñānānantyāyatana or Viññāṇānañcāyatana
(4). Ākāśānantyāyatana or Ākāsānañcāyatana .

B Form Realm (Rūpadhātu)
The Form realm can be divided into five classes , each class has about four or five worlds:
1. Pure Abodes or the Śuddhāvāsa : The five Śuddhāvāsa worlds are:
(5). Akaniṣṭha or Akaniṭṭha
(6) .Sudarśana or Sudassī
(7). Sudṛśa or Sudassa
(8). Atapa or Atappa
(9). Avṛha or Aviha –

2. Bṛhatphala worlds

(10). Asaññasatta
(11). Bṛhatphala or Vehapphala
(12). Puṇyaprasava (Sarvāstivāda )
(13). Anabhraka (Sarvāstivāda)

3. Śubhakṛtsna worlds
(14).Śubhakṛtsna or Subhakiṇṇa / Subhakiṇha
(15). Apramāṇaśubha or Appamāṇasubha
(16). Parīttaśubha or Parittasubha
4. Ābhāsvara worlds
(17). Ābhāsvara or Ābhassara
(18). Apramāṇābha or Appamāṇābha
(19). Parīttābha or Parittābha
5. Brahmā worlds
(20). Mahābrahmā
(21). Brahmapurohita
(22). Brahmapāriṣadya or Brahmapārisajja
C. Disire reaklm (kāma-dhātu),

The six domains of the desire realm are as follows:
(23).the god (Sanskrit, Pali: deva) domain
(24).the jealous god (S., P.: asura) domain
(25). the human (S. manuṣya, P. manussa) domain
(26). the animal (S. tiryagyoni, P. tiracchānayoni) domain
(27). the hungry ghost (S. preta, P. petta) domain
(28). the hell (S: naraka, P. niraya) domain.
(The Buddhist cosmology.Wikipedia)

The Buddhist cosmology is different from the other religions ' cosmology
There are many world systems. According to Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"), there are more than three thousand worlds (三千世介).
-The lowest domain is Hell, and the highest domain is Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana or Nevasaññānāsaññāyatana.

-Each domain and each world would be destroyed and reborn , and all beings even God, and Gods died and moved to another world according to the cycle of life. In the Buddhist cosmology, there are many world systems and many Gods. In the Buddhist Cosmology, all beings must be died and reborn in another world even the God. and God is not the Creator. Like the other beings, Gods died and moved to another world due to their good or bad results in the previous lives.

The Buddha explained the origin of the Earth: After some very long time, when the World began to expand again, many of these Abbhasara creatures were born to the newly formed Earth. They floated above and around the Earth. At this time, there were not yet seen the Moon and the Sun, there were not yet Night and Day, there were not yet names and identity or female or male. The creatures were only known for creatures.

The gods came from the Heaven to the Earth and after a long time , they became human beings:
"At that period, Vasettha, there was just one mass of water, and all was darkness, blinding darkness. Neither moon nor sun appeared, no constellations or stars appeared, night and day were not distinguished, nor months and fortnights, no years or seasons, and no male and female, beings being reckoning just as beings. And sooner or later, after a very long period of time, savory earth spread itself over the waters where those beings were. It looked just like the skin that forms itself over hot milk as it cools. It was endowed with color, smell and taste. It was the color of fine ghee or butter, and it was very sweet, like pure wild honey. "Then some being of greedy nature said: 'I say, what can this be?' and tasted the savory earth on its finger. In so doing, it became taken with the flavor, and craving arose in it. Then other beings, taking their cue from that one, also tasted the stuff with their fingers. They too were taken with the flavor, and craving arose in them. So they set to with their hands, breaking off pieces of the stuff in order to eat it. And the result of this was that their self-luminance disappeared. And as a result of the disappearance of their self-luminance, the moon and the sun appeared, night and day were distinguished, months and fortnights appeared, and the year and its seasons. To that extent the world re-evolved. (Digha Nikaya, 27. Agganna Sutta)

God is the first being who came to another world, due to his good actions in his previous lives. If he does the evil, he would go to the lower world.
The Buddha also recounted the God Realm (Blissful State).The Deva realm is the realm of bliss. The disadvantage of this realm is that things are so very comfortable there, that these beings completely neglect to work towards enlightenment. Instead they gradually use up the good karma they had previously accumulated, and so they subsequently fall to a lower rebirth.
The Deva realm is sometimes also referred to as the gods' realm, because its inhabitants are so powerful within their own realm, that compared to humans, they resemble the gods of Greek or Roman mythology. However, while the Devas may be referred to as gods, they are not immortal, omniscient, nor omnipotent, and they do not act as creators or judges at death, so they are notably very distinct from the monotheistic Western concept of God.
All the beings in the three realms would be destroyed and reborn , and all beings even God, and Gods, the lowest domain is Hell, and the highest domain is Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana or Nevasaññānāsaññāyatana. In Buddhidm, Nirvana is an important conception. There are many definitions of Nirvana. Some scholars consider Nirvana is a state of mind. According to Wikipedia, Nirvāṇa (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान (nibbāna); Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha. The word literally means "blowing out"—referring in the Buddhist context, to the blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.

Some scholars argue that Nirvana is nothing. On the contrary, many monks believed that Nirvana is higher than three domains. In three domains, all beings would die and be reborn, but in Nirava, all beings are liberated from the cycle of life.

In a word, Buddhism also deals with the existence of God although Buddhism is different from Bramanism and other religions. So we can conclude that Buddhism is a religion and a philosophy.

[1] DN.16. Maha-Parinibbana Sutta.Last Days of the Buddha

Translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story

[2] DN.16.
[3] DN.16.
[4] DN.16. <>
[5] DN.16. Maha-parinibbana Sutta.
[6]  DN. 16. Maha-parinibbana Sutta.

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