Le Bouddhisme Est-il Une Religion Ou Une Mode De Vie ?

Like Christians and Muslims, lay Buddhists have their own way of life. Some live according to the precepts of Buddhism, others merge traditional practices with modernity.

But what is Buddhism by definition? Is it a way of life or a religion?

Know Buddhism as a religion

We have to go back five thousand years before our era to know the genesis and history of Buddhism. It is a religion that persists and has many influences around the world. Practices related to Buddhism are no longer limited to the East, many Westerners have done so over the past decade.

The currents of Buddhism from its genesis to the present day can be divided into two broad categories, as follows:

  • Theravada Buddhism: also called Hinayana, this first category is the traditional form and is common in Ceylon, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and especially in its native Nepal. Some Buddhist clans identify it as a "small vehicle" or "conformist Buddhism", the practices are consistent with the original, that is, respecting the precepts and teachings of the Buddha.
  • Mahayana Buddhism: also called the “Great Vehicle”, this is the most widespread and chosen form of Buddhism today. Some lay people find it interesting compared to Theravada because of its appearance which blends easily with modernity. There are three subcategories of Mahayana, namely Vajrayana, Dhyana and Pure Land.

The first is Vajrayana, which focuses on practices related to magical signs called "Mudras", magical formulas called "Dhâranis" and magical prayers called "Mandâras strong>”. The second is Dhyana, which is the most common and best known form because the practice linked to this type of Buddhism is meditation. The last is the Pure Land, the practice of which is done with the rosary and during which the name of Amithaba Buddha is recited.

The essential rules of life according to Buddhism

Buddha shared rules with his disciples to help them face life correctly. This is part of his teachings, in addition to having compassion, joy for the happiness of others and helping people in difficulty. The foundations of this ethics are as follows:

- humility is a great quality that every person must have. In other words, each individual must learn to accept life within themselves. According to Buddha, it is a way of learning to live in society and reducing the impact of suffering;

- honor is another quality that every individual must preserve at all costs. This value is essential for a better quality of life and empowerment;

- regret is a fault that every individual must banish. The more we regret, the more we suffer, which is why it is important to face life with determination to better assimilate a situation and make an experience of it;

- desire is above all a source of permanent frustration, it generates and accentuates suffering in certain situations. Knowing how to renounce desire is then a liberation for oneself;

- The useless is always perceived as a bulky object that is no longer used. It is imperative to avoid dependence on one object and to maintain control above all else.

Particularity of the Buddhist way of life

Buddhists and followers of this practice are aware of the ethical foundations that facilitate integration into a community and the ability to live in society. The first characteristic of Buddhism is its versatility. A good layperson adapts easily to any culture in his or her community of origin. Indeed, Buddhist thought can easily be integrated into all types of contexts, whether cultural or societal. It also adapts to cultural diversity because within a society, the inhabitants are always cosmopolitan. There is therefore a cultural and religious shock if we do not adapt to multiculturalism.

In general, since Buddhism was adopted in the Western world, certain practices have been distorted, that is, they no longer conform to the original precepts. This adaptation has become another peculiarity of Buddhism because this aspect has attracted thousands of sympathizers through the practice like meditation, the principles like ethics and the quality like tolerance.

The Buddhist lifestyle through meditation

As we already know, meditation is at the heart of all Buddhist practices. Sometimes Buddhism means meditation. Before being a practice, it is above all a point of reference because Guatama Siddharta reached spiritual awakening through meditation. This stage of enlightenment is the anchor of Buddhism as a religion, spirituality, philosophy and practice.

The Larousse dictionary offers the following definition: “meditation is the action of thinking, of thinking deeply on a subject, of accomplishing something” or “Concentration of the body and mind on a theme or a religious symbol. » It is therefore a practice focused on thinking about a subject in order to achieve a spiritual goal.

The history of contemporary Buddhism begins when Siddhartha became Buddha. His teachings also derive from it. Certainly, he had his four famous encounters which allowed him to learn more about life before entering the monastery. But through meditation, he became aware of the Four Noble Truths, all linked to suffering. This is the subject of his later teachings.

Opt for the Buddhist way of life

We can list some essential behaviors to live better in community:

- Share: helping someone is part of the behavior required by the Buddha's teaching;

- Know how to accept yourself: each individual has their own destiny and has the role of being grateful for what they have at their disposal. It's the key to happiness ;

- Participate in change: to be happy, it is imperative to change and break away from bad habits;

- Live in the present moment: focusing on the past and the future makes us forget the importance of the present. We must learn to live in the present because it is the other key to happiness.

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