Beliefs and Practices of Buddhism

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Communication and comfortability among individuals in a community are two crucial traits that are needed in order to successfully be a contributing member of society in the first couple of centuries. Cities along with different cultures have varying beliefs and ideals but the collection of materials and information that is required to live are found similarly among cities from the western edge of Europe all the way to Africa and extending to the borders of China. Religious values are a center point for the diverse set of societies and cultures in these time periods.

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The spread of Buddhism, Christianity, and later Islam was integral in order for these to become some of the most popular religions back then and even today. The culture of society’s are greatly intertwined to the foundation and beliefs of the religion, which help set up the laws and systems in place. Trade was an essential item throughout the Silk Road, however the cultural transformations that took place formed societies and establishments that had never been seen before. The Silk Road which vastly expanded trade, communication, and religion among other cultural transformations is believed to have been started around 130 BCE, connected the world in a way that had never been seen before. The continued expansion of the Silk Road enhanced trade networks globally, but more importantly it allowed various religions to reach all ends of the eastern hemisphere. Through hellenism helping to advance cultures in the world in the late centuries of BCE, specifically due to the Silk Road it is prevalent that religion was the biggest beneficiary of it rather than trade or other cultural advancements that were made.

The formation of the Silk Road triggered trade and communication to prosper but it also allowed for the first expansion of religion to other cultures as Buddhist monks expanded the words and teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism began on the Four Truths of; one, life from birth to death is full of suffering, two, all sufferings are caused by desires, three the only way to rise above suffering is to renounce desires, and four only through adherence to the Rightful Eightfold Path can individuals rid themselves of desires and thus reach a state of contentment or nirvana. The points of the Rightful Eightfold Path are represent wisdom, ethical behavior, and mental discipline. One of the key differences between the beginning teachings of Buddhism and other popular religions at the time is how Buddhism had no space for deities to dictate human lives. The Buddha was notoriously known to walk place to place in order to gain followers and spread the word of his beliefs. This was then carried on through monks who enriched the culture by developing new forms of Buddhism allowing the religion to skyrocket in popularity along the Silk Road.

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