72. The Middle Path

72 DAYS.  1,728 HOURS.  103, 680 MINUTES

Welcome back to Religions Week here at Around the (AP) World in 80 Days. (Like that #72? Of course you do... It's the Fridge... An all-time great Clemson Tiger)

Over the past few days we went over the “Super-Old” religions; Hinduism & Judaism.  The 6th Century BCE (500s) was the most important century for Belief Systems in Earth’s history.  Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Greco-Roman philosophy all got their starts here.  Since we went over Hinduism yesterday, Let’s stay in India and look at Hinduism 2.0- Buddhism.

Buddhism stems from the exploits of a Hindu prince (Siddhartha Gautama) as he tried to save the world from suffering.  I’ll cut to the end of that journey; stop wanting.  The cause of your suffering is desire.  If you stop desiring things… You’ll stop suffering.  It’s the transitive property of Nirvana.   This process is known as the Four Noble Truths.

If you desire to see Keanu Reeves re-enact that for you, click here.  If you’re so Buddhist that you do not desire to see that, keep reading…

That prince came to be known as the Buddha or “Awakened One”. They believe that he was the first person to reach Enlightenment.  And, if you want to reach Enlightenment too, you need to follow his lead.  

How do I do that,” you ask?  Just follow the 8-fold Path 

Buddha denounced the Caste System and taught that one should want to leave the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (the end of the cycle is calledMoksha).  

This may have gone down in history as a rando-Indian sect of Hinduism if it weren’t for the efforts of people trying to spread these teachings.  The most famous was the Prince Ashoka who converted to Buddhism and spread the teachings of the Buddha all over Asia.  

CLICK HERE for my page devoted to Buddhism.

This whole story is covered quite nicely by John Green in the second half of the Crash Course video on Buddhism & Ashoka.  Here it is.  Tomorrow? We start looking at the Chinese belief systems: Confucianism & Daoism.

Posted on March 1, 2016 .