Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Overview of the Buddhist Culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2221 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

Reference this


The Buddhist culture is one that goes back many generations.  Dating back to 567 BC, the Buddhas teachings have lived on for many years.  The Buddhist culture that lives today has stemmed from basic teachings of the Buddha.  The western world has adopted this culture in variant ways.  Government, arts and crafts, religion, resources, family and learning will all be discussed in detail (2017, Wright, R.).

Overview of the Buddhist Culture 

Buddhism is the teachings of the Buddha and the inner experiences of these teachings. Buddhism isn’t for a certain group, but a widely accepted learning experience that can happen as a part of any culture.  The Buddhist teachings are for anyone who welcomes the thought.  Practicing Dharma is the highest method for refining the quality of our human life because the quality of life depends not upon outside growth or physical development, but upon the inner progress of peace and happiness.  Buddha has been said to have lived in 567 BC.  Since then, his experiences have been well-preserved in a untainted form by being passed down from Teacher to disciple in a continuous lineage that is still alive today.  The Western World of many cultures also includes a very large population of Buddhist.  In fact, the United States is 1.2% Buddhist and 10% worldwide (2001, Gunaratana, B.H). 


Buddhism beliefs are somewhat different from our mainstream religions.  Buddhists believe in reincarnation.  That our lives are constant cycling until we reach enlightenment or Nirvana.  Once this is achieved one becomes a Buddha.  The teachings are revolved around the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path.  The Four Noble Truths are:

   1. Suffering exists

   2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires

   3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases

   4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path

Buddhists believe suffering will continue to exist until Nirvana is achieved.  The reality of that suffering is what draws most to practice Buddhism.  However, Buddhas teachings do not focus on suffering but freedom.  Freedom of the suffering and becoming enlightened.  His teachings do not require an intellectual learning but an internal acceptance that one has the power to overcome the suffering with meditation and mindfulness.  The Eight-fold path includes the right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.  Note that it includes and is not numerical in order.  The teachings are meant to be learned simultaneously in practice.  These eight factors serve to provide aim in find right understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. These factors aim to provide the three necessities of Buddhist practice.  They are ethical conduct, mental discipline and wisdom. Buddha taught man to become compassionate and to obtain wisdom with love.  To follow the eight-fold path to Nirvana and the suffering would end (2001, Gunaratana, B.H).  

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

    Worship for the Buddhists includes chanting and praying to a Buddha statue.  Meditation and mindfulness are the practices of Buddhism.  Not only believing in something but living in the way a Buddha lives.  The Buddha taught that freedom from samsara, the repetitive round of birth and death, is possible through the consideration of not-self but that nothing whatsoever can be stuck to as me or mine. So, rebirth affects those who cling to a sense of self but ends for those who release themselves.  As for what is reborn, the Buddha didn’t answer this question. All the teachings direct us toward the ending of suffering; the Buddha seems to have been more absorbed in helping human beings find their way out of misery than he was into theories (2000, Harvey, P.).

Family life and community

Five Precepts are required ethical orders encouraging personal virtues. They are (1) abstaining from harming living beings; (2) abstaining from taking what is not given; (3) abstaining from sexual misconduct; (4) abstaining from false speech; and (5) abstaining from intoxicants. While none of these precepts directly speaks to the family, by governing social and interpersonal relationships they provide an ethical outline for family life.  Buddhists culture doesn’t clearly outline family because the path to enlightenment requires solidarity.  An abandonment of all suffering. However, one may practice and live up to the Buddha while maintaining a role in the family as clearly stated in the Buddhist teachings.  Marriage is viewed as a civic act and not religious ceremony.   Husbands and wives are to promote respect, honor, and faithfulness towards one another. Parents are responsible for teaching Buddhist ethics and practices to their children and, in turn, children are expected to be compliant and to preserve the traditions of the family.  In a typical Buddhist home, you will find a statue of Buddha.  Daily rituals of prayer and offerings are routine.  The Buddhist culture does not condemn divorce, nor does it condemn any other forms of marriage or sexuality  (2017, Wright, R.).


The study of Buddhism has shown that education plays a large role in the way of life.  It is understood to be necessary for the Buddhist Creed. During his era the study of history, logic, medicine and grammar were included.  Today, there are Buddhist Universities in Bangkok.  However, here in America some Buddhist children may be part of the public-school system as well as part of religious groups surrounding Buddhism such as a Montessori.  Buddhism started as an education verses a religion.  Its teachings took over in China after the “Si” was taken over by the Buddhist teachings.  They combined what we in the U.S. would consider a museum, a library and a school system (2000, Harvey, P.).

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Most Buddhists are thought to be strict vegetarians.  This isn’t entirely true.  While part of Buddhas teachings tells us not to kill it does not mention the strict diet most think of when they are pertaining to Buddhists. A modest diet is appropriate and not being wasteful. Buddhists monks eat a large breakfast early and fast for the next eighteen to nineteen hours.  There diets do include mostly vegetables and very little meats.  Alcohol is also something that most say is forbidden, others argue in moderation.  In addition, strong spices are prohibited to prevent bad breath while teaching the Dharma. The first Buddhist monks did not build monasteries. Instead, they were homeless beggars who pled for all their food. Their only possessions were their robe and begging bowl.  Ceremonial food offerings also are a common exercise in Buddhism. The precise rituals behind them differ from one school to another. Food may be simply and silently left on an altar, with a small bowl, or the offering might be attended by intricate chants and full bowings. However, it is done, as with the donations given to monks, offering food on an altar is an act of connecting with the spiritual world. It is also a means to release selfishness and open the heart to the needs of others (1994, Sumedho, A.).


Buddhist art includes media which portray Buddhas and other entities; notable experts and historical figures; story scenes from the lives of all of these; mandalas and other graphic aids to training; as well as physical objects linked with Buddhist practice such as dorjes, bells, clothing, etc. Researchers fluctuate on whether such symbols represent the Buddha himself, or just refer to his life. The bodhi tree, the site of enlightenment, is offered in as substitute for the Buddha himself.  Buddhist thought an art established through the trade routes between India, Himalayas, Asia, China, Persia, and the West and that explorers sought the protection of Buddhist images and offered gifts to shrines along the way, picking up items and moveable shrines for personal use.  For all of these reasons, Buddhism has made a wide range and amount of objects in art (2001, Gunaratana, B.H.).


The Buddhist are divided into two classes i.e. the Upasakas and the monks.  The term Upasaka is a untrained follower who has taken protection in the Buddha.  The Buddhists have four sacred days in a month which are observed as days of fasting. These days are the new moon, full moon and the two quarter moon days, they are called Uposatha i.e. fast day. On the uposatha days, the Buddhist follow the eight precepts and refrain from worldly desires. They visit the monastery and offer Dana or alms to the monk.  The most holy and the most important festival for all the Buddhist is Vaisaka Purnima.  It is on the full-moon day of Vaisakha which falls in May. This day is the third blessed day as Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and entered nirvana on this day.  According to Buddhist funeral customs, a service may be headed by monks, who will deliver a sermon and perform Buddhist rituals. If a monk is unavailable, others may conduct the service. Rituals that handover merit to the deceased may be performed by family or other funeral-goers, such as offering fabric to the ruling monk on the deceased’s behalf, bucketing water from a container into an overflowing cup, preaching, and giving offerings.  Buddhists appreciate that death is not an end, only a conversion from one form to another, yet, it is acceptable to show pain.  Prayer wheels are another aspect to Buddhist ritual. Prayer wheels are hollow tubes. Inside are scrolls of mantras, or sequence of words or syllables, that are chanted and mounted on rods and spun by Buddhists in lieu of chanting the mantras out loud. Usually, prayer wheels may represent the Wheel of the Law (Dharma) that Buddha set in motion. Prayer wheels are especially popular among followers on pilgrimage (2001, Gunaratana, B.H.).



Buddhism is over 2500 years old and has managed to carry its teachings to the present day. Its customs and religion effect a large portion of the world’s population.  With it’s distinguished teachings and practices, it has changed the lives of millions. 


  • Gethin, R. (1998). The foundations of buddhism. 1st Edition. New York, NY. Oxford University Press.
  • Rupert Gethin introduces the foundations of Buddhism as a religion and as a way of life.  The different traditions of Buddhism are covered as well as the Four Noble Truths and the cosmology of karma.  This resource will provide a basic knowledge base about the religion ways of life for Buddists.  This will be an introduction into the culture. 
  • Gunaratana, B.H. (2001). Eight mindful steps to happiness: Walking the buddha’s path. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.
  • Gunaratana provides an in depth look at Buddhas teachings the Noble Eightfold Path.  Each step is closely evaluated and explained. This resource will provide an in depth look at some of Buddhas actual teachings.  Learning the literature by which a culture lives by will be beneficial.
  • Harvey, P. (2000). An introduction to buddhist ethics: Foundations, values and issues. United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press
  • Harvey has not only provided a clear introduction to Buddhism but has also applied the belief system to some mainstream ideology.  This resource will provide a grand knowledge as to how Buddhist view the world today.
  • Sumedho, A. (1994). The mind and the way: Buddhist reflections on life. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.
  • Sumedho provides a more historical view on Buddhism and the way of life as it effects each of us today.  This resource will provide a more advanced look at Buddhism and how its culture effects other cultures. 
  • Wright, R. (2017). Why buddhism is true: The science and philosophy of meditation and enlightenment. New York, NY. Simon and Schuster Paperbacks.
  • Wright provides a persuasive view on Buddhism and how it works.  This resource will provide an American view on Buddhism and how we view the culture in our lives by viewing the process.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: