Part of this wonderful 30 Days of Witchcraft challenge is to research a path that I don't know about but I'm interested.
I'm honestly not interested in a specific path religiously, but I have always loved Buddhism. I enjoyed learning about it in school so I'm going to share some findings!
Let's learn together!
Buddhism actually isn't a religion; it's more of a philosophy. There is no worshiping of a Buddha, despite what some people like to assume.
The idea is to reach a state of enlightenment, free from suffering, pain, and material needs, which stops the process of reincarnation. It's a belief that you go through the cycle of reincarnation, living life after life and suffering, until you become enlightened.
At the heart of the practice is meditation. Mediating allows you to see past disillusion and illusions within your mind. You then create harmonious mental states for yourself.
My first encounters with Buddhism always came across in school when we went over the history of India. There'd be a movie documentary about Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who lived a couple thousand years ago, who founded the practice.
When he was first born, his father told that he would either grow to become a powerful king or an amazing spiritual teacher. So in order to keep his son where he wanted him, the king sheltered him from the outside world. He was shown no sorrow, suffering, or death.
Siddhartha was married at sixteen, had a child, and lived a ravishing life. However, one day he ventured outside of the palace walls and saw the suffering of the world around him.
During his venture in the outside world, Siddhartha saw Four Sights:
For the next six years, the prince underwent many brutal practices, studied many methods of meditation and self-harm, and other extremist practices. After some time, he realized the path to happiness, no suffering, and spiritual enlightenment was on a path of balance.
It's recorded that he sat underneath a Bodhi tree, meditated through the night to cleanse his mind, and obtained enlightenment.
The key for the Buddhist teachings is to reach enlightenment, not to idolize Siddhartha and his accomplishments. He was a teacher, not a god-figure.
The Four Noble Truths are the basic teachings that must be understood and meditated on before reaching enlightenment.
A practitioner must also follow the Noble Eightfold Path throughout their human life, which involves meditation, wisdom, and morality standards.
There are things that can hinder enlightenment, such as lust or doubt, when practiced regularly.
I've always enjoyed learning and kind-of studying Buddhism because it fits more of my kind of practice.
After living with a set of guidelines in a religious practice for many years, I haven't found anything that I can completely agree with.
Buddhism can be incorporated into witchcraft, as one is a practice and the other is a philosophy. I think that's the appeal for me because, like witchcraft, it's about finding the power and balance within yourself to relieve yourself from the stresses of this world and find harmony.
I also like the idea of reincarnation; I don't think a spirit just sits in the ground while your body "sleeps", waiting for someone to wake it back up.
I like that a spirit can be cyclical.
I enjoy the thought of meeting kindred spirits and souls along my spirit's journey to enlightenment.
I also like the idea of if you don't succeed at achieving spiritual nirvana that you always have another chance in the next life.
If you want to read some more about Buddhism, there's some links here that give sources to books, interviews, and studies about it's teachings.