The Practice of Buddhism in the United States
University of Phoenix
June 16, 2008
Buddhism in the United States
Buddhism comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors, and a Buddhist can be found almost everywhere in the USA. In our study of Buddhism, Team C has learned that Buddha was not originally a Buddhist; he did not even consider himself a member of any religion, but just as one who traveled around sharing to those would listen to some important truths about life. Even the best known Buddha in the world today, the Dalai Lama, have advised that one does not have to change his or her religion to benefit from the teachings of the Buddhism (Deva, 2006).
The Origin of Buddhism
Buddhism is a way of life, through practice, study, and meditation. Its origins date back to the 6th century BC. Buddhism started as a faith from the “enlighten one,” Buddha, formerly known as Siddhartha Gautama; however, it was not long before this faith was established as a religion. Although Buddhism’s foundation was in India, it quickly spread throughout central, east, and Southeast Asian countries. During Buddhism’s rise in these parts, several branches of Buddhism were developed: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayna. While Buddhism was spreading in the East, King Ashoka, was ruler of the Mauryan dynasty, and a self-proclaimed Buddhist for political reasons only. It was not until after the bloody war of Kalinga, (called Orissa today) did King Ashoka had a make a complete change. He became so distraught over the slaughter that he decided to put an end to the war and live a peaceful life. He began applying the principles of Buddha to his life and empire, and Buddhism rapidly spread through India. (Dhammika, 1995). In reverence to the “enlighten one,” King Ashoka established monuments and stupas that contained the noble teachings of the Buddhist faith all around the country, and sent emissaries around the country, including the West to spread...