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Buddhism is probably the most tolerant religion in the world, as its teachings can coexist with any other religions. Buddhism has a very long existence and history, starting in about 565 B.C. with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. The religion has guidelines in two forms in which Buddhist followers must follow. These are the "Four Noble Truths" and the "Eightfold Path.
It all started in about 565 B.C. when Siddhartha Gautama was born. He was a young Indian prince born to the ruler of a small kingdom that is now known as Nepal. Gautama's father was said to have been told by a prophet that if Gautama saw the sick, aged, dead, or poor he would become a religious leader. If he didnt see these four things he would become an emperor. Because of this prophecy Gautama's father decided to isolate his son from the outside world, where he might "see how the other half lived", for the good of his empire and his citizens. Trying to shelter Gautama from all the four sights was impossible, and Gautama ventured out and that is when he eventually saw the four sights, which would, if experienced as it had been told to Gautama's father, lead the young prince to a religious leader. These sights or as how Buddhists refer to them "The Four Signs" were in turn, a sick man covered with terrible sores, an old man, a corpse, and a wandering monk. The sightings of these men made Gautama think of the suffering and inevitable death which comes to all people great and small. This brought further questioning such as the meaning of life and the ultimate fate of man. As time passed these thoughts became great burdens to Gautama and he increasingly became dissatisfied with the shallow dissolute life of the royal court in which he lived. Therefore at the age of 21, although married with a beautiful young son and also the heir to a very rich throne he forsook it all and became a traveling holy man. After a while of traveling as a holy man there was a great even that transformed Gautama into the Buddha (or the Enlightened One).
Siddhartha had been meditating under a bodhi tree for six years, but had never been fully satisfied. Eventually at dawn it all began on Gautama's thirty-fifth birthday. He finally realized the essential truth about life and about the path to salvation. He realized that physical harshness of asceticism was not a means of achieving Enlightenment and Nirvana. From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path of balance rather than extremism. He called this path the Middle Way. "Devotion to the pleasures of sense, a low practice of villagers, a practice unworthy, unprofitable, the way of the world [on one hand]; and [on the other] devotion to self- mortification, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable. By avoiding these two extremes the Buddha has gained knowledge of that middle path which giveth vision, which giveth knowledge, which causeth calm, special knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana." He cleaned his mind of all evil thoughts and achieved Enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, earning the title Buddha, or "Enlightened One." Because of this Gautama then became the Buddha and remained at this spot for many days while remaining in a trance-like state and told his teachings to five ascetics for many weeks. This experience made Gautama feel a desire to share his knowledge with others, so he and his five students preached to the world. Gautama was a teacher and guru until his death in about 483 B.C.
Buddhism is a lot like other Indian religions based upon the beliefs. Such as the beliefs in reincarnation, dharma, karma and Nirvana. But mostly in Raja Yoga the profound meditation which holds the key to enlightment and therefore to the way of Nirvana. Buddha himself expressed the base of his beliefs when he said, "I teach only 2 things, O disciples, the fact of suffering and the possibility of escape from suffering. These ideas are expanded upon in the "Four Noble Truths" and the "Eightfold Path".  In His first sermon to the five ascetics in the Deer Park near Varanasi, the Buddha spoke of the ... more

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Buddhism And The Poetry Of Jac

Buddhism and the Poetry of Jack Kerouac

For we all go back
where we came from,
God's Lit Brain,
his Transcendent Eye
of Wisdom

And there's your bloody circle
called Samsara
by the ignorant
Buddhists, who will
still be funny Masters
up there, bless em.

Jack Kerouac
-from Heaven


     Jack Kerouac spent his creative years writing in a prosperous post world war II America. He was in many ways a very patriotic person who had no problem making known his love for his country , particularly within his literature. It was, quite literally, America that he was in love with. Taking cues from writers such as Whitman, he embraced the American landscape as a field for spiritual cultivation. Kerouac was indeed a writer with spiritual preoccupations. He saw himself as partaking in a lifelong journey through the America that was waiting to reveal itself and, consequently, himself. Also, of course, considering himself a serious writer, he would chronicle this spiritual expedition throughout a series of novels that together would be called 'The Duluoz Legend.'; This was the name Kerouac had intended the novels to take on when he would assemble them in chronological order before he died. Unfortunately he died earlier than he expected and was unable to formally assemble them. However, the legend remains.
     Kerouac undoubtedly made his mark on the literary world with his prose. And his prose proves itself to be a very good example of his writing as spiritual commentary. Kerouac, while wandering the country in freight cars and the backs of pick-up trucks, saw himself as a modern day sage or bodhisatva, discovering the essence of 'the void'; and using his literature as a record of these discoveries. His body of work is a wonderful example of integrating Buddhism into the daily life and thought of a man living in a western culture. Kerouac could not help but find religion in every aspect of his waking day. Every thing or person he encountered or interacted with was a part of the 'essence of isness.';
Within the Kerouacian canon there is, besides his prose, another shining example of Kerouac's literary translation of the spirituality of living. Throughout his career Kerouac wrote several volumes of poetry, all of which deal with using the poetic medium to express the profound and concentrated spiritual composition of everything. Much of this poetry deals specifically with Buddhism. Kerouac was a devoted student of the Buddhist way and would often impress his peers with his knowledge of the Sutras and other Buddhist texts and ideas. This is particularly interesting when it is considered that these peers were other students of Buddhism such as Gary Snyder or even Philip Whalen, who is an ordained Zen monk. In fact, Kerouac was so immersed in Buddhist thought that in 1956 he completed the manuscript to what would become a 420 page book titled Some Of The Dharma, which was a collection of notes and thoughts on various ideas taken from the Sutras. Included also were numerous poems and prose poems, which were attempts to transliterate the ancient wisdom of Buddhism into a modern context, applicable to the western intellectual and spiritual journeyman. Some of the Dharma was to be a study guide for the beginning practice of Kerouac's good friend and companion Allen Ginsberg.
While Kerouac was writing what was perhaps his best and certainly one of his most spiritually driven novels, Desolation Angels, he was also writing a poem to accompany the novel which was titled Desolation Blues. Although written after Kerouac was no longer up on Desolation Peak serving as a fire lookout in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it was a reflection upon the many contemplations provoked by the solitude and serenity of the time he spent alone atop the mountain. From the opening line he has recognized an inherently Buddhist view of the world through his own eyes.
I stand on my head on Desolation Peak
And see that the world is hanging
Into an ocean of endless space
The mountains dripping rock by rock
Like bubbles in the void
Here Kerouac offers imagery of a world contrived and almost surreal in it's nature. It is as though he is recognizing the true nature of the mountain and the world, buried beneath it's own ... more

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  • Buddhism Buddhism Buddhism 1. Introduction - I recently started to wonder about other world religions and things like that. And so Ive started reading up about different religions and I came across one that really caught my attention. The religion is Buddhism. Today Im going to tell you a little bit about its history, some basic beliefs, and some of the different kinds of Buddhism. 2. Thesis 1. Subject - Buddhism 2. Initial Summary 1. The Origin of Buddhism 2. Basic Beliefs of Buddhism 3. The Two Kinds of Budd...