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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Buddhism

Buddhism originated in India in the 5th century. It derives from the teaching of the Buddha, who is regarded as one of a series of such enlightened beings.

Nichiren, a Japanese monk, expounded Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō for the first time on April 28, 1253. He declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.

Nichiren

In 1954, archaeologists excavating an 8th century Viking settlement in Sweden found a Buddha statuette from North India.

In November 2013, an international team of archaeologists digging under the Maya Devi Temple at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal discovered remains of an ancient tree shrine dated before 550 BCE. It is possibly the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures ever found .The discovery was made at a site traditionally thought to be the birthplace of the Buddha, under a series of brick temples below the current temple.

Buddha's sermon at Benares to five fellow ascetics in a park, "turning of the Wheel of the Law," is held in similar reverence by Buddhists as the Sermon on the Mount is by Christians.

From its earliest history the choral chanting of sacred texts has been an essential part of Buddhist liturgy. Chants are learnt by repetition, though obscure notations exist in Japan, Tibet, and Korea. The two basic forms are sutra, a simple syllabic recitative, and gatha, using more elaborate melodies.

The main Buddhist instruments--the ghanta (handbells), sankha (conch trumpet), vina (arched harp or lute), tala (cymbals), and various types of drums, bells, and gongs.

The founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, is said to have gained enlightenment by facing a wall for nine years and not speaking.

Buddhists use tea during periods of meditation as they claim it contributes to a worshiper's sense of serenity.

In Japan initially tea was drunk primarily by Zen Buddhist monks, but by the 13th century it had become a popular beverage amongst the general population.

In medieval Japan, archery became closely linked with the metaphysical system of Zen Buddhism. It became part of the education of the noble Samurai and was practised not for such purposes as the hunt or war, or purely aesthetic enjoyment, but to discipline the mind. Archery was considered a lesson in effortless self-control, perfect equanimity, and the attainment of utter detachment.

Before the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1952, 25 percent of the males in the country were Buddhist monks.

Actress Uma Thurman's father was the first Westerner to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

The actor Richard Gere is the best-known celebrity Buddhist, having developed an interest in his 20s. In 2001, Gere made an appearance (in animated form) in an episode of The Simpsons, in which he helps to convert Lisa Simpson. The character remains a follower of Buddhist teachings. 

Using water for foot and head washing in Burma is known as rude and against Buddhism.

Source The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia


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