The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, was born around 563 BCE into a wealthy family. Gautama, however, rejected his luxurious life in favor of a simpler existence based on self-discipline, or asceticism. After 49 consecutive days of meditation, Gautama became the Buddha, or “enlightened one.” His teachings, according to Khan Academy, are the foundation for modern Buddhism.
Junior Thanthaphorn Rueangnopphasit was raised Buddhist and has continued practicing into adulthood. A self-proclaimed “curious Buddhist” since the first grade, she said has been mixing elements of Christianity into her denomination of the Buddhist faith.
“My branch is called Theravada,” Rueangnopphasit said. “We follow a scripture that the monks wrote when the Buddha passed away. In the scriptures were the Buddha’s teachings, and we follow that [as a guide].”
The scriptures of the monks have been passed down for Buddhists to follow since the time of the Buddha’s death, according to Rueangnopphasit, and these writings are the focal point of Theravada Buddhism.
Rueangnopphasit said that she believes that as long as she practices what she preaches and gives basic respect to others, she is following her inner faith. She also said that she wants to give her perspective on her faith and stand as the voice for her religion on campus.
“I just want to share that it’s ok that people are going to do their different faiths or even [have] no faith. We should have people who are going to learn to accept each other and not being like their faith is the best,” Rueangnopphasit said. “Even though we are different, we are still human.”