From reincarnation to koans to the the selection of the Dali Lama, Buddhism is a fascinating and unique way of life with a few surprises in store for those unfamiliar with it.
Arising from the ancient teachings of the Buddha, it is currently the 4th largest religion in the world, with over 495 million adherents, representing 7 percent of the global population spread out across nearly every country in the world.
While Buddhism may seem to be all about meditation, calmness, and quiet monasteries, it has just as many interesting quirks as the other major belief systems of the world. Let’s explore those quirks by taking a look at 7 Buddhism facts that will surprise you.
It was started by a prince.
The title “buddha,” refers to an enlightened person who has awakened from their ignorance and achieved freedom from suffering. Hence, there is more than one buddha.
The historical figure known as the Buddha—capital “B”—was born near the Ganges River basin in ancient Northern India, in what we know today as Nepal.
Before he became the Buddha, his name was Siddhartha Gautama—his given name meaning, “he who achieves his aim”—and he came from a royal family. His life was one of luxury, sheltered and protected from the suffering and violence of the world.
Around the age of 29, Siddhartha witnessed suffering for the very first time while on a chariot ride outside his family palace. This had a profound effect on the man, and because of it, he subsequently renounced his wealth and royal ties in a quest to find the cause of human suffering, and to put an end to it.
For six years, he sought out the best teachers of meditation, living a life marked by the denial of his wants, begging for food in the streets. However, this produced in him a feeling of weakness and ill health—he suffered, and so concluded that this was not the way.
After this, he sought the truth of suffering in yogic meditation. But in this, too, he was unsatisfied.
Eventually, he settled on what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation that steers an individual away from extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.
Eventually Siddhartha sat beneath a pipal tree, where he vowed not to arise until he found the truth. But find it he did, and arose enlightened after 49 days of meditation, writing down what he learned—writings that became the basis for Buddhism.
Most modern scholars agree that the historical Buddha was alive between about 563 to 483 BCE. That means that the teachings of Buddhism have been passed down for over 2,500 years.
To give you an idea of how ancient this is, let’s look at what else happened around the time period in which the Buddha was alive.
Around this time, the contemporary English city of London found its origins amidst marshy waters near the River Thames, in the form of a few dozen huts and a small river landing built by the Celtic king, Belin. The catapult had also just been invented by the Greeks, and war was breaking out between Sparta and the city-state of Elis. Jesus, founder of Christianity, wouldn’t be born for hundreds of years.
With this in perspective, it’s hard not to be surprised at how long the Buddha’s teachings have been transmitted from teacher to teacher.
There is no single holy book.
Unlike the other major world religions, Buddhism has no single holy book from which all of its teachings come. Instead, there is a vast number of texts and teachings, but few that are accepted as authentic and authoritative.
Buddhist scriptures are called sutras, which means “thread”. This title indicates that the work is a sermon given by the Buddha, or by one of his disciples—many, however, have other origins.
There is a multitude of sutras, ranging in size from a few lines to that of a large tome. And beyond this, there are countless fables, rules for monks and nuns, and commentaries.
To complicate matters, Buddhism split into two major schools around 2,000 years ago, becoming what are known today as Theravada and Mahayana. Buddhist scriptures are divided into canons for each of these schools. And, to go even further, the Mahayana canon is split between the Chinese canon and the Tibetan canon.
Sound a little overwhelming? It is. Better get reading now!
There’s no Buddhist god.
One major difference between Buddhism and other major religions is the lack of a central deity.
Siddhartha was just a man, albeit an enlightened one, and made no claims to divinity at all. Buddhists follow his teachings and try to live as he did, but they do not worship him.
Interestingly, the Buddha, in contrast to the gods of other faiths, encourages Buddhists to not take his word for anything, but rather to go find out what work for themselves—it’s all about exploring beliefs, understanding them, and testing those beliefs against experience.
The Buddha, himself, explains this best, when he writes, “Do not be led by reports, or tradition, or hearsay. Be not led by the authority of religious texts, nor by mere logic or inference, nor by considering appearances, nor by the delight in speculative opinions, nor by seeming possibilities, nor by the idea: ‘This is our Teacher’. But, O Kalamas, when you know for yourselves that certain things are unwholesome and wrong and bad, then give them up… and when you know that certain things are wholesome and good, and that the wise believe them to be so, then accept them and follow them.”
This is Buddhism—it’s more about practice than merely holding a certain set of dogmatic beliefs.
It’s closer to psychology than religion.
One fact about Buddhism fact that will surprise you the most is that it is closer to psychology than religion—it’s really quite practical.
The Buddha could be seen as an early psychologist, teaching his disciples the idea of acceptance—that the world is a certain way, and that wishful thinking only leads to sorrow.
One of the principal ideas of Buddhism is that suffering comes from craving—mainly, from wishing things were different than they are. We all wish that sickness didn’t take hold of our bodies. We want money, friends, and lovers. We want success and fame. We want and we want, and when the world doesn’t align with those wants, we suffer.
But Siddhartha, in his enlightenment, recognized the futility of this.
Buddhism fosters a mindset that helps adherents accept the world as it really is, and to abolish destructive cravings that lead to anger, sorrow, and suffering.
As we older folks know, sometimes we have trouble with our computers.
I had a problem yesterday, so I called Eric, the 13 year old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over.Eric clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.
As he was walking away, I called after him, ‘So, what was wrong?
He replied, ‘It was an ID ten T error.’
I didn’t want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired,
‘An, ID ten T error? What’s that? In case I need to fix it again.’
Eric grinned…. ‘Haven’t you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?
‘No,’ I replied.
‘Write it down,’ he said, ‘and I think you’ll figure it out.’
Toothpaste is one item that nearly everyone uses today, but what makes this concoction so special? Whether you brush your teeth once per day or three times per day, chances are that you’ve never taken the time to read that ingredient list. Some believe that the ingredients contained in a standard package of toothpaste are essential – others believe that water may be just as effective. In the end, there’s a good reason why most toothpaste packages warn: “Do Not Ingest!”
Formaldehyde:That same ingredient that coroners can’t live without can be found inside of your toothpaste tube. Formaldehyde kills all of those small bacteria that climb onto your teeth after eating or sleeping. If a large amount of formaldehyde is accidentally ingested, the result could be fatal. Severe formaldehyde ingestion results in jaundice, kidney damage, liver damage, and death.
Foam, suds, activation! What would toothpaste be without that satisfying soapy feeling? Manufacturers use regular detergent in order to appease the masses that prefer bubbly toothpaste. While bubbles may be fun, be careful if you accidentally ingest a large amount of this stuff – swallowing detergent can cause digestive tract burning.
Stretchy and slimy, seaweed holds that paste together. Without this green stuff, toothpaste would simply fall apart! The good news is that seaweed isn’t toxic. Infact, seaweed has a number of nutritional benefits, though hitting the sushi bar is a better way of gaining those benefits.
Minty, minty, minty! Fresh breath can only be kept fresh with the help of peppermint oil! While refreshing when brushing your teeth using toothpaste, peppermint oil can cause a slow pulse, heartburn, and muscle tremors if it is consumed.
As slick as the petroleum that it is derived from, paraffin creates a smooth paste that oozes onto your toothbrush using toothpaste. As you might imagine, paraffin wasn’t meant to be eaten. If you happen to swallow this ingredient, you may end up with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and severe constipation.
Never heard of this ingredient before? Sure about that? Glycerin glycol is added to toothpaste in order to prevent the paste from becoming too dry – it’s also found in antifreeze. Even though glycerin is not toxic, this additive may cause nausea if swallowed.
That’s right – chalk. Thanks to the fact that chalk is made from exoskeletons, it’s hard enough to remove all of that caked on gunk from your pearly whites. Chalk dust may cause lung problems if inhaled via toothpaste, and swallowing a bit of chalk could cause bleeding.
This is another common toothpaste ingredient, though it’s usually found in white paint. When added to toothpaste, titanium dioxide has the safe effect on your teeth as it does on walls – it keeps them nice and white (for a few hours, at least!). Ingesting titanium dioxide won’t hurt you, but it isn’t recommended either.
Something has to combat that terrible detergent taste! Saccharin is sweet, but not too sweet – just the way that most people like their toothpaste! Saccharin has been a hot topic of debate every since Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House. The USDA tried to ban the substance in 1972, though it is considered “safe” to ingest today.
One last ingredient to add a minty note to your breath. Without menthol, toothpaste might taste like, well, chalk, glycerin, paraffin, detergent, titanium dioxide, and seaweed! Go ahead and ingest menthol if you like, but sipping some tea containing menthol is a far better idea than chewing on your tube of toothpaste.
This is Ultimate……………..I bet u can’t stop laughing. Grammar and spelling errors have no place in a profile description as everything is straight from the heart !
Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you forget your basic grammar after reading this mail…
NOTE: Please pay extra attention to the comments
Hello To Viewers My Name is Ramya , I am single i dont have male, If any one whant to marrie to me u can visite to my home. I am not a good education but i working all field in bangalore .. if u like me u welcome to my heart… when ever u whant to meet pls visit my resident or send u letter..
i want very simple boy. from brahmin educated family from Orissa state
she is also know about RAMAYAN, GEETA BHAGABATA, and other homework
I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person. Enjoys every moments of life. I love to make friendship. Becauese friendship is a first step of love.
I am looking for my dreamboy who will love me more than i. Because i love myself a lot. If u think that is u then why to late come on
……..hold my hand forever !!!
(The dilwale dulhaniya effect)
I am simple girl. I have lot of problem in my life because of my luck.
now i am looking one boy he care me and love me lot lot lot
(I don’t know why but this is one of my favorites)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I want a boy with no drinks if he wants he can wear jeans in house but
while steping out of house he should give recpect to our cast
Iam kanandevi. i do own businas.one sistar.he was marred.
(Plz for gods sake ask somebody’s help in framing sentence )
Hello i am a good charactarised woman. i want to run my life happily.
i divorced my first husband. his charactor is not good’. i expect the good minded and clean habits boy who may be in the same caste or other caste accepted …
(but credit cards not accepted..???)
(Perhaps Debit Cards accepted ?.. Clean Habit’s??????? Is there anything like that.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I am Sharmila my colour is black, but my heart is white. i like social service.
You will find your wife sitting in a chair . . . Kill her!!”
The man said, “You can’t be serious. I could never shoot my wife.” The agent said, “Then you’re not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home.”
The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. The man came out with tears in his eyes, “I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.”
The agent said, “You don’t have what it takes. Take your wife home.”
Finally, it was the woman’s turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping the sweat from her brow. “This gun was loaded with false bullets”.
She said. “I had to beat him to death with the chair!!”
Bodh Gaya or Bodhgaya (Hindi: बोधगया) is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala).
The name Bodh Gaya did not come into use until the 18th century. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi. The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihāra (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.
For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The surrounding town, by contrast, is dusty and somewhat noisy. A new development plan has been proposed to “ensure a sustainable and prosperous future” for Bodh Gaya, but has become controversial because such a plan may require the relocation of whole neighborhoods.
A small temple beneath the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya, built in 7th century, after the original built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century BC, ca. 1810.
Offerings found in Bodh Gaya under the “Enlightenment Throne of the Buddha”, with a decorated coin of the Kushan emperor Huvishka, 3rd century CE.
According to Buddhist traditions, circa 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddharta claimed to have attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism.
Disciples of Gautama Siddhartha began to visit the place during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April-May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, the place became known as Bodh Gaya, the day of enlightenment as Buddha Purnima, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree.
The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was at the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turkic armies in the 13th century.