Spiritual Itineraries - Buddhist Religion

Buddhism, flourished in Indian subcontinent, now has become a global religion. This religion encompasses an array of beliefs, traditions and practices that are largely based on lessons attributed to Gautama Buddha also called Siddhartha Gautama. It developed outside Magadha starting in the lifetime of Buddha and with the sovereignty of the Mauryan Emperor Asoka, the follower of Buddhism, extended across Nepal going down to China as well as all the way to Japan and turned out to be one of the prevailing religions in the various parts of Asia.

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Founder of Buddhism and its History:

Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism. He was born about 2,500 years ago in a royal family in Lumbini, Nepal. He lived his life with luxury stuffs and of privilege until one day he cut out imperial enclosure and met for the first time an elderly man, a corpse and a sick man. He became disturbed by encountering the sufferings of these men and decided to become a monk. He began to follow the life of ascetic to explore the reality of life.

Later on his quest for truth didn’t get satisfied and he then moved on to the path of meditation. He sat under the shade of a sacred fig tree also called ‘Bodhi Tree’ in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya and after 49 days of his contemplation he attained enlightenment. He then began to preach and educate people about nonviolence, fraternity, cooperation and many other virtues that help in realizing the actual purpose of life.

Buddhism managed to stretch throughout Asia even several centuries after Buddha’s death. Numerous stupas and monasteries were initiated and some of the earliest ones are still kissing the sky today. Ancient universities of Buddhism like Nalanda, as well as caves such as Ajanta & Ellora and are extremely eminent these days.

Buddhism Rituals as well as Practices:

Buddhism comprises of a multiplicity of rituals as well as practices that are designed to assist in the way to enlightenment and get blessings on one along with others. The usual procedure of enlightenment is vital to almost all appearances of Buddhism and it derives straightforwardly from the experiences and teachings of Lord Buddha. Meditation or contemplation is the main focal point of Zen Buddhism while for Theravada Buddhism it is the only way to liberation.

Some of the blessed rituals and practices of Buddhism are:

  • Mantras : Sacred sounds
  • Mudras : Symbolic hand gestures
  • Meditation : Mental concentration and mindfulness
  • Prayer Wheels : Reciting mantras with the turn of a wheel

Buddhist Festivals and Celebrations:

Buddhist followers rejoice three jewels called the Buddha, the Buddhist teachings (Dharma) and the Sangha known as the spiritual society. Vesakha is the celebration that Buddhism followers rejoice to mark the Buddha’s birth, his awareness and end of his life in one day. People all over the world who follow Buddhism celebrate this day on the 1st full-moon of May and if it falls in a leap year in the month of June. In the month of July, the Dharma day is celebrated to pay reverence to his teachings. This day was first celebrated in the city of Sarnath, Bihar in northern India, from there it stretched out in the whole world.

To honor the spiritual community of this religion, Sangha Day is celebrated in the month of November. On this special day people love to exchange gifts. It is generally celebrated by individuals living in western world. The Day of Parinirvana is celebrated by Buddhist followers in the month of February, to memorialize the accomplishment of absolute nirvana of the Buddha upon the ending of his life. On this very day, devotees contemplate to pay homage to Lord Buddha.

Buddhism as being a universal religion teaches us to control unconstructive traits like antagonism and resentment, covetousness and brutality. It sermonizes one to build up positive and affirmative thoughts like affection, love as well as wisdom. Meditation or contemplation is a significant feature of Buddhism that assists us to move along the way to a happy, relaxing and peaceful life.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites and Destination:

Each year Buddhism followers and explorers visit through popular Buddhist destinations to come across Buddha’s life. Indian topography is dotted with numerous destinations enriched with the flavors Buddhism. Those include:

  • Lumbini
  • Bodhgaya
  • Kaushambhi
  • Sarnath
  • Shravasti
  • Nalanda
  • Rajgir
  • Kushinagar
  • Vaishali

Buddhist Temples, Monasteries and Monuments:

  • Hemis Monastery
  • Ajanta Ellora Cave
  • Tawang Monastery
  • Namgyal Monastery
  • Kye (Ki) Monastery
  • Bodhi Temple
  • Tabo Monastery
  • Rumtek Monastery
  • Maha Bodhi Temple
  • Dhankar Monastery
  • Sanchi Stupa