The Eightfold Path enables one to overcome selfishness, sorrow, and to
gain perfect freedom and peace. This ideal state is nirvana.
An important virtue to Gautama was love. Outside of Christianity,
perhaps no other religion has stressed the virtue of love quite as much.
RELIGIOUS BUDDHIST LITERATURE
The sacred book of Buddhism is the Triptika, also called the Three
Baskets. The Triptika consists of
The Vinaya Pitaka (Basket of Discipline)
The Sutta Pitaka (Basket of Discourses)
The Abhidhamma Pitaka (Basket of Metaphysics)
Variations occur in the Buddhist Triptika, dependent upon whether Pali or
Sanskrit translations are used.
RELIGIOUS HOLY DAYS AND FESTIVALS
The religious festivals that are observed vary according to the branch of
Buddhism. There are some festivals, however, that are observed by most
New YearsShusho E(January 1) is a day of dedication. At the new
year, a water festival is held. Water is splashed on friends and strangers.
There are parades of decorated cars and floats, images of Buddha are
ceremonially bathed, and monks entertained. Processions of monks and
young men pass through the streets and are splashed with water by the
bystanders. At the pagodas, they pay reverence to the Buddha and then
engage in national dances.
The beginning of the rainy season, from July onwards, is marked with
special offerings to monks. It is said that this is the time when Buddha
sojourned in heaven and preached the Dharma to the assembled gods. The
rainy season has always been the time for teaching and meditation in
Buddhist lands. Since it is not possible to work in the rice fields, during the
rainy season many laymen retire to the monasteries where they live and
meditate. Plays, weddings, or festivals are not allowed to be held during
this season. At the end of the rains, pagodas are full of flowers and incense
is burned by day and lamps lighted at night. Lamps signify the return of
Buddha to earth, and the gods illuminate his path all the way down. Robes
are given to monks and alms are given to the poor.