What is Buddhism?

English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a f...

English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a formal ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path — a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood. An enlightened being sees the nature of reality absolutely clearly, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.

       Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshiping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion in the normal, Western sense. The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. So Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, caste, sexuality, or gender. It teaches practical methods which enable people to realize and use its teachings in order to transform their experience, to be fully responsible for their lives (Buddhist Center).

B31)      Suffering in Buddhism

       The Four Noble Truths are about suffering: “They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering”. All of life is suffering or dukkah.  Suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and it has a cause to bring about its end.  Suffering is more than pain in your body or mind; dukkah is enduring physical or mental occurrences that we as human find unpleasant or want to avoid as well as losing people and tings that we cherish i.e. loved ones or belongings.  Knowledge is the key for human beings and there is an Eightfold Path to overcome suffering:

1.       Right view – learn about illness, endures illness and is released from illness.

2.       Right aim—be prepared to reject connection to the world and give compassion and kindness.

3.       Right speech – don’t lie, slander or be insulting.

4.       Right action –don’t take life, don’t steal and no sex.

5.       Right living—live a life that is above reproach per the fourth step.

6.       Right effort—through meditation to keep away from evil, focus on good within yourself.

7.       Right mindfulness – Stay mindful, self-possessed and devoted and overcome cravings and dejection common to others.

8.       Right concentration – stay away from evil desires and sensuality  and enter the first jiana or meditative state where you are cognizant and deliberately seek joy and seclusion.

References Cited

Matthews, Warren.  World Religions.  Belmont: Wadsworth.  2010. Print.

Thailand:  Jewel of the Orient – The Basics of Buddhism.  PBS.  Web.  25 April 2013.

 “What is Buddhism?  The Buddhist Center.  Web.  25 April 2013.

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