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Fig 2.8 – Path to Enlightenment

Text: Page 45

Buddhism emerged as a major international religion. Buddha taught that the world was impermanent and that psychological attachment caused human suffering. To end suffering, Buddhism offered specific methods to enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths provided a path to end human suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Pathways were ways to discipline the mind. Many psychotherapeutic approaches have adopted the Buddhist approach to mindfulness meditation, most notably dialectical behavioral therapy. Buddhism challenged the search for a separate independent self because the search led to psychological suffering. Nirvana could occur during this lifetime by the extinction of desire, craving, and attachment. Ultimately, the Buddha warned against reliance on any external authority because everyone had to find their own unique spiritual and psychological path, their own Buddhahood.

A stupa incorporates five basic geometric shapes corresponding to the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space – of which the world and all its atoms are composed. Furthermore, the overall shape of a stupa closely resembles the image of a seated Buddha.
Stupas often contain relics of Buddha and his disciples. Psychologically, relics can symbolize a connection to one’s spiritual and ancestral heritage.

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