Buddhism and Wellness: How Buddhism Can Better Your Health

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a practice of awareness that can lead to an understanding of the nature of reality. Through a system of controlled meditation, the practitioner can gain a new sense of living in the moment and a sense of compassion and wisdom.  

Where Did Buddhism Start?

The roots of Buddhism reach back to around 563 to 483 B.C.E, in what is now Nepal, a nation situated between India and Southwest China. Its founder was a Hindu prince named Siddhartha Gautama, the son of King Suddhondana, leader of the Shakya clan in the state of Kosala. Legend has it that his father wished his son never be subjected to the pain and suffering of life and went as far as building him fabulous palaces that he would fill with the most beautiful young women and men, and that old and diseased people were banned from these palaces. Yet no matter how much his father shielded his son from the horrors and suffering in life and showered him with luxury, the young Siddhartha sensed that great truth was being hidden from him. At the age of twenty-nine, he left the palace of Kapilavastu to see the outside world. In Buddhism, it is called The Great Renunciation.

What Is the Goal of Buddhism?

What exactly is Buddhism, and what is the purpose of its practices? The goal of Buddhism is what is called the “middle way” of detachment from sense objects and renunciation of ignorance and the illusions of life. It seeks awareness of the present moment and instructs its practitioners on the sources of suffering and the endless cycle of death and rebirth. To achieve an understanding of pain and suffering, Siddhartha, or The Buddha, or The Enlightened One, taught about the Four Noble Truths of existence. They are: Life is suffering. Attachment causes suffering. To cure suffering, free yourself from attachment. 

When a practitioner mastered the first three of these tenants, they would then become aware of The Eightfold Path, which was the road to the end of suffering, and, finally, the extinction of the cycle of death and reincarnation. The result of achievement is called Nirvana, or a blowing out of the self and the ego.

What Are the Different Types of Buddhism?

Now that we know a little about the basic tenets of Buddhism, let us explore the different ways in which it is practiced. There are three main branches of Buddhist teachings. Theravada Buddhism (believed to be the oldest) draws its teachings from what is collectively known as the Pali canon. The next of the three branches is Mahayana Buddhism. It offers assistance through compassionate beings known as bodhisattvas, who sacrifice their own salvation to lead others to their salvation. The last of the three branches is known as Tantric or Esoteric Buddhism. It is also known as Vajrayana. It shares roots with Hindu and Vedic practices and is sometimes referred to as a “short path to enlightenment,” Its practitioners work closely with a guru. 

The Health Benefits of Buddhism and Meditation.

Practitioners of Buddhism will find many health benefits in Buddhism. These include relieving stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting and enhancing memory. In addition, some other possible benefits may assist in varying success in psychosomatic disorders, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions, chronic pain, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Getting Started with Buddhism: Resources

A great place to start is by looking online for local temples in your area. You will probably want to work under the guidance of an experienced bhikkhu or decide to take a class. In addition to this, you can find many online resources to help guide you. The great flexibility of Buddhism is that it is a practice. By joining a local community in your area, you will soon discover a support group that will be there when you need it the most. Consider the benefits of Buddhism and start your journey today.

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