Essentials of Buddhism

When you are strolling through some personals and you come across somebody who’s a Buddhist, what are some of your thoughts? Many people have heard of Buddhism, but not many know what it truly is. Though it’s classified as a religion, Buddhism can be better defined as a way of life. In some Asian countries, “Buddhism” is practiced as Taoism on a large scale, where a great number of temples and statues are erected, in worship of Buddha. Yet, many of these “Buddhists” don’t even know the teachings of the Buddha. A true follower of Buddha may talk about “The Gateless Gate,” or seek Enlightenment. Here are some of the essentials of Buddhism.

Four Noble Truths

·        There is Suffering: To live is to suffer. Birth, sickness, old age, and death are some of life’s sufferings.

·        The Cause of Suffering: Most of the sufferings in the world are related to greed and ignorance. People should know about the law of karma and cherish what they have.

·        The End of Suffering: Nirvana is the state of being awakened. When people become enlightened, suffering ceases.

·        The Path to the End of Suffering: Follow the Noble Eightfold Path, or the Middle Way.

Noble Eightfold Path

·        Right View: Learning to view the world through Buddha’s eyes, gaining wisdom and compassion.

·        Right Thought: “I think, therefore, I am.” By thinking clearly and kindly, the Buddhist can build a strong character.

·        Right Speech: The tongue can be poison or silver. The Buddhist must speak helpful and kind words.

·        Right Conduct: “Actions speak louder than words.” The Buddhist must act in kind and helpful ways.

·        Right Livelihood: “Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy.”

·        Right Effort: The Buddhist must practice goodwill towards the world without engaging in harmful endeavors.

·        Right Mindfulness: Buddhists must be conscious of their words, deeds, and thoughts.

·        Right Concentration: To achieve total peace of mind, the Buddhist must be singular in thought, focusing on one thing at a time.

Three Characteristics of Existence

·        Impermanence (Anitya): Nothing lasts forever. Everything passes.

·        Suffering (Duhkha): Nothing is satisfactory. True happiness is unattainable.

·        Not-self (Anatma): Nothing is the self. Since nothing is permanent, nothing is self-inherent.

Five Hindrances

·        Sensual Desire: Refers to the lust of the flesh.

·        Anger or ill-will: Unwholesome feelings towards others.

·        Sloth-torpor or boredom: Unconvincing action without any focus.

·        Restlessness-worry: Being unable to put the mind at peace.

·        Doubt: A lack of faith.

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

·        Mindfulness: Awareness of the moment.

·        Investigation of the Dhamma: Wisdom to interpret the Three Characteristics of Existence.

·        Persevering Effort: Balanced mental state culminating in illusions.

·        Rapture: Increase in interest as a result of seeing the “real,” resulting in true joy.

·        Calm: In the state of rapture, true peace of mind is achieved.

·        Concentration: Attaining calm, the mind is not roaming anymore.

·        Equanimity: In optimal concentration, the universal illusion and the ultimate truth are attained.

The Buddha teaches that everybody can achieve enlightenment and gain Nirvana. Though it may not come easily, the Buddhist must not give up easily.

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