Why is Buddhism called “The Middle Way”?
“Buddhism” refers to a religious practice that originated in India and is practiced by many people in many other countries around the world. The thoughts and practices of Buddhism are attributed to the teachings of the “Buddha,” or Siddhartha Gautama. Various beliefs in Buddhism include those that relate to the life and/or death cycle, “karma,” reincarnation, and other topics are considered “The Middle Way.” This is mainly because the people that existed in pre-Buddhism times believed in two basic principles about life, namely, eternalism and nihilism. “Eternalism” refers to the belief that one’s life or soul will be reincarnated after death and will just transfer to a new body or being. “Nihilism,” on the other hand, promotes the belief that life literally ends after a person dies. These two beliefs are exactly the opposite of each other. And through the Buddha, practices and thoughts were preached for people to follow neither of the two paths but, rather, to follow The Middle Way or principle of life. From then on, Buddhism was known as The Middle Way in terms of religious practice and teachings.
Based on Buddhism’s teachings, the middle path is the path that should be chosen by people if they want to achieve liberation. “Liberation” is a high state wherein a person is able to detach him/herself from his/her consciousness and own desires and focus on internal peace and joy. This state is also achieved after a person goes through the common cycle of life and death with the end result of freeing the person from hardships and giving a feeling of freedom and enlightenment. Through liberation, people are said to be more likely to choose the correct paths for their actions. “Non-extremism” is preached so people will choose the middle way of not being too self-indulgent and not being too hard on oneself. In literal terms, every action should be done in moderation as taught by The Middle Way practice of Buddhism.
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