Buddhist Monasticism

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Buddhist Monasticism

Thesis Statement

The New Year is the most significant celebration among Buddhists.


Buddhism originated in northeast India based on Siddhartha Gautama's teachings. The two major branches of Buddhism are the Mahayana, which means the Great Vehicle and the Theravada hat means the Way of the Elders. Buddhism is majorly present in Southeast Asia and East Asia. Theravada is popular in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, while Mahayana is more common in Nepal, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia, China, Korea, Taiwan, India and Vietnam. The total Buddhist population in the world is around 300 million (Chopra, p. 78). His teachings spread widely from India to other Western countries. Believers regard him as a prophet or God. Other than Buddhists Hindus and Baha'i follows him. The philosophical foundation of Buddhism is the theory of Dharmas. According to that theory, all that is, all nature, is a single stream, a whirlwind consisting of elements (atoms). The span of life of an element is momentary or infinitesimal, and everything that consists of them will sooner or later cease to exist, but that which really exists cannot cease. Therefore, all phenomena of nature, both material and spiritual, cannot be called genuinely real being (Smith, p.34).


Buddhist monasticism is sub-divided into two assemblies; bhikkhu (male) and bhikkhuni (female) (Thera and Hecker, p. 140). The Buddha initiated the female assembly after his stepmother, Mahaprajapati, requested to be included as an ordained practitioner. The female monastic communities do not exist in Tibet and Nepal, among the Vajrayana communities. The ordination of females in the bhikkhuni lineage is most common among the East Asian communities. They have tried to prevail in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, but the attempts have failed so far. The focus of the essay is on the Theravada (pronounced — more or less — "terra-VAH-dah") Buddhists. The New Year is the most momentous celebrations, of which, the Theravada Buddhists play the most prominent part. They are the ones who honor ancestors and those who have passed away. The New Year is the most significant due to the rituals of sprinkling water on elders and monks. Also, the New Year marks the beginning of another year or prosperity and rain (Mahathera, p. 60).



The Buddhist tradition, founded on the philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, who was a teacher of spiritual wisdom. There are two main traditions in Buddhism: the Mahayana (great vehicle) Buddhism and the Theravada (ancient teaching) Buddhism. A smaller tradition is the Hinayana (low vehicle) Buddhism. Central Buddhist teachings contain the Four Noble Truths: (1) the nature of suffering (dukkha), (2) suffering's origin (samudaya), (3) suffering's cessation (nirodha), and (4) the way (marga) leading to the cessation of suffering. This “way” (marga), characterized by the Noble Eightfold Path: (1) right view, (2) right intention (wisdom), (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right livelihood (ethical conduct), (6) right effort, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) absolute concentration (concentration). The Noble Eightfold Path contains the ethical “program” of Buddhism (Mitchell, p. 65). The monastic tradition is also very common in Buddhism, because ...
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