The Basics of Buddhism

understanding and dealing with life as it really is

The Five Precepts - required to consider yourself a Buddhist

I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying or harming any living creatures.

I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.

I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.

I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

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The Four Noble Truths - the Basics of What The Buddha Taught

1. Life means suffering.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

 

1. Life means suffering.

To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and -in a greater sense- all objects of our perception. Ignorance is the lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardor, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.

 

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

The cessation of suffering can be attained through nirodha. Nirodha means the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment. The third noble truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion. Nirodha extinguishes all forms of clinging and attachment. This means that suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas. Nirvana is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

There is a path to the end of suffering - a gradual path of self-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are merely "wandering on the wheel of becoming", because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.

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The Noble Eightfold Path

1. Right View

2. Right Intention

3. Right Speech

4. Right Action

5. Right Livelihood

6. Right Effort

7. Right Mindfulness

8. Right Concentration

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The Triple Gems

I go to the Buddha for refuge.

I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

I go to the Sangha for refuge.

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The Diamond Sutra is the oldest known book in existence

here are the last few lines of the Diamond Sutra as spoken by the Buddha himself.......

"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."

"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."

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Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a way of life

Buddhism is a "Path of Awakening" The teachings taught by The Buddha are means of getting the listener to question their own cherished beliefs and view of life; when through investigation and insight is opened the door to truth, the teaching can be put aside.

Buddhism simply asks human beings to put The Buddhas teachings to the test and come see for themselves. If no value is found then simply walk away from it with no further thought.

This barely scratches the surface of what Buddhism is all about

below are links to more information as well as recommended books to read :

Description
Hyper Link
What The Buddha Taught - a book by Walpola Rahula - The best book for teaching the basics of Buddhism in an easy to read understandable way - Highly recommended

available new and used on Ebay and Amazon.com -

sells for $10.00 - $12.00 or less

Very Easy to listen to Downloadable Audio Talks in MP3 format by Rev Kusala Bhikshu - Highly recommended and FREE !

A modern translation of The Diamond Sutra -The Perfection of Wisdom - one of The Buddhas most compelling techings - Also the oldest known dated printed book in the world - 868ce
Access to Insight - Readings in Thervada Buddhism - the earliest surviving record of the Buddha's teachings - Highly recommended
The Big View of Buddhism - enlightening views on Buddhism in plain English. - very good & easy to understand