The Origins and Rise of Buddhism

In different types of religion, there is often a god or an omnipotent god such as Christianity, however, Buddhism doesn’t teach in one god. The Buddha born in 563 BCE began the religion of Buddhism and split into two sections in 300BCE, Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada and Mahayana differentiate from who is able to attain enlightenment.

Siddhartha Gautama was given the name Buddha which translated to “the awakened one”. He was born in Lumbini and raised by his parents Shuddhodana and Maya.

In his life, he rejected self-indulgence and mortification. After he married his wife Yashodhara he discovered the four encounters, old age, disease, death, and ascetic. Gautama commended the origin of suffering and how to overcome it so that all people can understand, especially himself.

Later in life Guatama achieves Nirvana by abstaining from sensual, self-indulgence and self-mortification. Gautama believed that we need to embrace spiritualism and materialism which is known as the Middle Path. The four noble truths are life is sorrowful, sorrow due to insatiable desire, sorrow is overcoming desire and lastly the right way to overcome desire.

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The Noble eightfold path consisted of right action, right speech, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right view and right intention. The eightfold path is the self-discipline of the mind, body, and self-development. In his teachings, he taught rebirth, compassion and kindness well known as Dharma.

One of the major sections of Buddhism are Theravada, virtue by wisdom. Theravada stresses on the study of meditation and spirituality. Theravada indicates each person is responsible for their redemption and that only monks are able to reach nirvana.

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In Theravada, a person can achieve enlightenment by becoming the perfect person who overcomes the main causes of suffering known as Arhat. Theravada emphasizes the importance of self-discipline, good deeds, and living a monastic life. Theravada is practiced mainly in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

The second major section of Buddhism is Mahayana, virtue in compassion. Mahayana have some similarities to Thervada because they follow the four noble truths. However, they believe all people have the capability to pursue enlightenment and that people cannot escape the cycle of birth and death. To achieve enlightenment in Mahayana people must understand the concept of suntaya which translates to emptiness. Mahayana is practiced in China, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam and Bhutan.

The difference between Mahayana and Theravada is that Mahayana Buddhism is more religious in nature than Theravada Buddhism .The Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism contrast in the way they see the purpose in life and how to obtain it. Theravada Buddhists seek to become Arhats and their life devoted to becoming monks that obtained enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhists, on the other hand, hope to become bodhisattvas who are enlightened but do not advance into obtaining nirvana for their unselfish reason to help others obtain it as well, as the Buddha did. Mahayana Buddhists teachings convey that enlightenment can be attained in a single lifetime and that a person doesn’t need to be a monk but can be a believer.

Buddhism is very different from other religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islamic as Buddhism believe in the power of karma and good actions. Buddhism is separated into two categories Mahyana and Theravada which both have their own beliefs. Mahyana believes one can achieve enlightenment through the teachings of buddha. On the other hand, Theravada buddhism believes that only monks can achieve enlightenment and to strive to become Arhats.

Emperor Akbar also known as Akbar the Great was an important part in Indian history. Akbar created a strong military and constructed social and political reforms. His empire had expanded in size because of the religious tolerance he built with Hindus. Akbar was an enlightened ruler who sought religious intolerance because he understood the religious differences between the people of India.

Akbar was able to reduce conflict between the Hindus and Muslims through religious toleration. Akbar married off to twenty-five wives all who had different religious backgrounds which grew his tolerance for other religions and made him different from other Mughal emperors. One of his greatest achievements was reducing the conflict between Hindus and Muslims and he did this by revoking the non-Muslim poll tax and the Pilgrimage tax that was placed on Hindus. He had also abolished building restrictions on worship places and gave Hindus high civil and military positions.

Early in life, Akbar was raised as an orthodox Muslim, but he was exposed to other religions which shaped his interest in other religions. He invited many types of religions to discuss their beliefs and financed houses of worship such as Ibadat Khana (House of Lordship) so that religions could discuss their theologies. His pursuit to make India diverse in religions and not an all Muslim state grew his tolerance to religion. In his quest to find harmony in different faiths he decided to compose a religion called Din-i Ilahi “the religion of God, which was of Islam and Hinduism religion and some of the faith in Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. Although it never gained a real following as an official religion its ideals laid the foundations for policies of tolerance throughout the Mughal Empire.

His policy of religious tolerance played a huge role in the success of expanding of his empire because the corporation of Hindus was a major part that helped. The cultural unity between the Muslims and Hindus became stronger than they were before. The creation of Akbar’s religious policy alleviated racial and religious antagonism and developed a more harmonious environment. His religious policy consisted of four pillars, pillar of amenity, pillar of equity, pillar of kindness and pillar of tolerance.

Compared to other emperors Akbar was different because he respected all religions. Akbar opposed having one religion in charge, eliminated the Jizya, and made Persian the official language. He was a figure who brought together a variety of faiths and was truly an enlightened ruler. Akbar wanted to create a friendly relationship with Hindus and get rid of animosity amidst them.

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The Origins and Rise of Buddhism. (2021, May 15). Retrieved from

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