Buddhism takes the largest part of Myanmar religion. The Buddhism of Myanmar is Theravada Buddhism, the Doctrine of the Elders, which is the Buddhism of the original preaching of Buddha. As such, it is differrent from Tibetan or Japanese Buddhism, Magayana or Greater Vehicle, which contains later developments.
The essence of Buddhism is the self-reliance and self- effort in the great endeavour for liberation from the eycle of rebirths.
Budda was born about the middle of the sixth century B.C. at Lumbini in present Nepal on the Indian border as Prince Siddattha, son of king Suddhodana.
Foretold that He would one day renounce the princely life, the King had him sheltered from the world. However, He saw a sick man, an old man, a corpse and an ascetic. Prince Siddattha thought:
“Though I am well now, this body is liable to sickness; though I am young and strong now, this body will Hoon become weak with old age; though I am now alive, this body will surely come to death. Perhaps the way of life of an ascetic may enable Me to understand the world.”
One day, He renounced the princely life and prac- tised the austerities, but at the end of six years He realised that giving pain to the body did not develop the mind. So He practised meditation and finally purified His mind, and attained Enlightenment.
All things are transient. Transient things do not follow your desires. Hence, there is suffering. Desire is the root cause of suffering. There is a way to end this suffering. It is the Middle Way of morality, concentration of mind and liberating knowledge. The wheel of Samsara is broken and Nirvana attained.
Buddha’ last words were: “Transient are all com- pounded things. Strive on with mindfulness.”