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Buddhism

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High in the mountains of the Himalayas chants ring out from the Tibetan monastery. For most this is a dream-like vacation to a far away land. For some of the people who live in Tibet and India this is everyday life as a Buddhist. Buddhism revolves around a strict code of daily rituals and meditations. To an outsider they can seem mystical or even odd, but these are the paths to enlightenment and spiritual salvation. Throughout the centuries, Buddhism has evolved into a major religion in Asia and other parts of the world.
The mystical roots of Buddhism can be traced back to the first century BCE. Buddhism began with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. When Siddhartha was born he was noticed as having “the 32 auspicious signs of an enlightened one” (Clark and Brown 3). His father, fearing Siddhartha would shun his inheritance, confined him to the walls of the palace, never allowing his son to experience want or suffering. However, Siddhartha on several occasions ventured outside the confines of the palace. On one of his visits into the city “he saw an ascetic begging for alms in the city square. It was then that he realized that there was meaning beyond physical existence” (Clark and Brown 3). Siddhartha then gave up his possessions to search for enlightenment. He discovers that by following the path of moderation, one can become enlightened (Clark and Brown 3). And so, he attained Buddhahood. Afterwards Buddha, the name given to an enlightened one, travels through India “preaching and educating others about the middle path” (Clark and Brown 3). From this, Buddhism was born.
The religion of Buddhism is not entirely in a sphere of its own. In fact, it combines several influences born in and around the Asian continent. The first religious influence is Taoism. Taoism embraces the belief in the fluid like spirit that flows throughout everyone and everything. The primary belief of Taoists is that the universe is in constant change.
Taoists believe that nature and the earth is constantly in flux. Simply, the only constant in the world is change. When individuals learn that growth and movement are natural and necessary, they can become balanced (Clark and Brown 7).
Taoism teaches self-control and the importance of meditation in searching for enlightenment.
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...ver which the imperial family presided, had been largely eclipsed by Buddhism” (Ralph et al 34). Aspects of the religion have also moved into the U.S.,
Growing interest in Asian culture and spiritual values in the West has led to the development of a number of societies devoted to the study and practice of Buddhism. Zen has grown in the United States to encompass more than a dozen meditation centers and a number of actual monasteries (McDermott 2).
The Buddhist religion encompasses a large spectrum of people all diverse but united under the words and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama.

Works Cited

Clark, Laura, and Suzanne Brown. Vietnamese Buddhism. 18 Jan. 2000. <http://mcel.pacificu.edu/as/students/vb/INEX.HTM>.
Dharma Haven. Healing, Relaxing and Awakening: Tibetan Buddhist Methods. 16 Jan. 2000. <http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/healing.htm>. 18 May 1999.
Hansen, Jytte. Mandala. 17 Jan 2000. <http://www.jyh.dk/indeng1.htm>. 1 March 1997
McDermott, James Paul. Buddhism Today. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99.
Ralph, Phillip Lee, et al. World Civilizations: Their History and Culture. 9th edition. New York: Norton, 1997.
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