Buddhism: A Five Minutes Introduction
• What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from ‘budhi’, ‘to awaken’. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.
• Is Buddhism a Religion?
To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or ‘way of life’. It is a philosophy because philosophy ‘means love of wisdom’ and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:
(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.
• How Can Buddhism Help Me?
Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.
• Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?
Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.
• Who Was the Buddha?
Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found ‘the middle path’ and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.
• Was the Buddha a God?
He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.
The 15th day of full moon during this Magha month of the lunar month calender of Buddha era (BE) 2556 of this February 25, 2013 is the Maghapuja Day. It marks a very important event for Cambodian Buddhists because this day Lord Buddha delivered the Ovatha Padhimokha (discourse on the code of conduct) towards the Bhikkhu monk assembly at the Veluvannaaraam monastery which is the first monastery in Buddhism. That day marked the four important sacred events:
- The 1250 Bhikkhu monks who were sent to different directions for Dhamma propagation returned back to this assembly spontaneously (Sabbe Khinaasavaa).
- All Bhikkhu monks are Ehibhikkhu (spontaneous monkhood-being) who were ordained by Lord Buddha directly named Ehibhikkhu Upasampadaa (Sabbe Ehibhikkhuka).
- All Bhikkhu monks are Arahanta (enlightened one) attained 6 knowledge such as performing different types of miracle, holy ears, holy eyes, able to read mind of others, able to review the past lives, and free from all defilement, have assembled collectively at Veluvanaraam monastery (Sabbe Animantitaa).
- That assembling day was due on the full moon day of Magha lunar month (Maghanakkhatte Punnacanto)
This meeting event is also called Caturangha-Sannipatta or the assembly of four foundations.
This assembly was held at Veluvanna monastery in Rajakreha capital of the King Bhimpisaara after Lord Buddha enlightened for 9 months before the Buddha era (BE) 45 years.
The impulse of Bhikkhu monks came to this assembly spontaneously at Veluvanaaram monastery during this full moon day of Magha month coincided with the Sivaratrii of Brahmanism. During this day, Brahmanists have always cleansed themselves from sin by worshiping Siva god. So the Bhikkhu monks made this day to meet Lord Buddha during his trip off from Sukarakhaa cave within the Veluvanaaraam temple. Note that all those Bhikkhu monks spent their time for Dhamma propagation within different paths and one path was allowed only one monk. The arrival of Bhikkhu monks to this assembly is considering sacred spontaneity as during that time was not having phone or internet to communicate with each other.
What are the background of those 1250 Bhikkhu monks?
- Students of master Uruvelakasapa were 500
- Students of master Natikasapa were 300
- Students of master Gayaakasaba were 200
- Students of master Sariiputta and Moghalaana were 250
Totaling together are 1250 without including those five gurus.