Buddhism answers many questions that bother today’s materialistic society. It provides deep psychological insights into individual and social ills of our times and offers natural solutions.

Buddhism is a path of practising spiritual development in commune with the true nature of existence, a path that ultimately culminates into a state of Enlightenment. It is a vision that enables a person to see nature with clarity and to live in harmony with it, thus attaining the end of suffering.

Buddha, the Enlightened One, was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakya tribe in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in the sixth century BC. At the age of 29 he left the comforts of the royal home to enquire into the meaning of all-encompassing human misery and suffering that he saw around him. After six years of rigorous Yogic training, he went into deep meditation under a bodhi tree where he finally attained the enlightenment.

Thereafter he wandered the plains of north-eastern India teaching the enlightened path or Dharma that he gleaned from his meditation, until his death at the age of 80, gathering as he went a large number of followers from every tribe and caste.

Buddha’s teachings are summarized in the Four Noble Truths: (1) Suffering exists. (2) Suffering is the result of attachment to desires. (3) Suffering ceases when one frees oneself from the attachment to desires. (4) This freedom can be attained by practising an eight-fold path.

This eight-fold noble path consists primarily of wisdom (right view and right thought), morality (right speech, right action and right livelihood) and meditation (right effort, right mindfulness and right contemplation).

Furthermore, Buddha’s teachings include three chief characteristics of existence: transiency, sorrow and selflessness. The path to enlightenment is met with hindrances of unwholesome mental states like sensuous lust, ill will and aversion, sloth, restlessness and worry, and scepticism and doubt.

Enlightenment, however, can be attained by striving towards: mindfulness, investigation, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration and equanimity.

Buddha did not claim to be a god, he taught the path to enlightenment from his experience. Buddhism is a practical way of life and does not include the idea of worshipping a creator or God.

Buddhists do not worship idols; they pay respect to the statue of Buddha, personifying tranquillity with a compassionate smile, in gratitude to his noble teachings.

Buddhism is tolerant of other religions, accepts their moral teachings; wisdom and understanding being the long term purpose of life.

Article Written by Dolphi D'Silva [420 Words]
Posted on Oct 14, 2013 with Views.

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