Buddhism: Basic Beliefs

Buddha discovered Three Universal Truths and Four Noble Truths, which he later conveyed to the general public during the next 45 years.

Three Immutable Realities

  • Everything in existence is transient and constantly evolving.
  • Since nothing is everlasting, a life centered around owning possessions or individuals does not bring about happiness.
  • There is no everlasting, unchanging soul and “self” is simply a compilation of altering characteristics or attributes.
  • Four Noble Realities

  • Human existence entails a great deal of anguish.
  • Greed is the root cause of suffering.
  • There is a cessation of suffering.
  • The path to alleviate suffering is to adhere to the Middle Way.
  • Eight guides follow the Middle path. It is neither a path of excessive fasting and hardship nor a path of luxury and indulgence. Not leading a life meant the Middle Way. He taught that Nirvana was the way of the Middle Way. He said that individuals should take responsibility for their own actions and lives. Buddha then taught people not to worship him as a god.

    The Path of Eightfoldness

  • Correct comprehension and perspective (based on the Four Noble Truths).
  • Proper principles and mindset (empathy instead of self-centeredness).
  • Ethical communication (refrain from falsehoods, refrain from using harsh, abusive language, refrain from engaging in gossip).
  • Ethical behavior (assisting others, living with integrity, refraining from causing harm to living beings, and preserving the environment).
  • Engage in meaningful work (perform tasks that are beneficial, refrain from occupations that cause harm to others).
  • Right endeavor (promote positive, beneficial thoughts, discourage harmful destructive thoughts).
  • Proper mindfulness (be conscious of your emotions, thoughts, and actions).
  • Proper meditation (tranquil mind, engage in meditation that leads to enlightenment).
  • Buddhists search internally for the truth and comprehension of Buddha’s teachings. Contemplation is a fundamental ritual for the majority of Buddhists. It surpasses language – it is not a condition that can truly be elucidated in words. They pursue enlightenment, or nirvana, in this manner. Nirvana is liberation from unnecessary pain and existing completely aware and engaged in one’s existence.

    Meditation pertains to the practice of focusing the mind with the aim of achieving a feeling of inner tranquility that ultimately results in a state of enlightenment. There exist different forms of meditation.

  • It can involve sitting peacefully next to a stunning display of stones, reflecting on its magnificence.
  • It can be practicing a martial art such as karate or aikido since they require mental and physical control and strong concentration.
  • It can involve concentrating on a puzzle like “What is the noise produced by a single hand clapping?”.
  • It can be reflecting on a haiku or brief poem that captures a moment in time.
  • It can be in a meditation chamber of a monastery.
  • It can include reciting.
  • It can involve the utilization of a mandala to concentrate attention on the imperceptible point at the heart of interconnected triangles.
  • Peacefully observing the inhalation and exhalation of one’s breath is a possible form of meditation that can take place anywhere and at any time.
  • The first written collection of palm leaves, known as the Tripitaka or Three Baskets, consisted of rules for monks and the thoughts and sayings of Buddha. After Buddha passed away, his teachings were gradually written down, preserving what people remembered.

    Today, there are more than 500 million individuals who follow the Buddhist faith. Various sects of Buddhism emerged after the passing of Buddha, as his followers held differing views. Among these sects, Theravada is a prominent one that expanded its influence to countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. On the other hand, Mahayana spread to Nepal, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan, and it assimilated elements from the local cultures, resulting in the development of three distinct branches: Vajrayana Buddhism (also known as Tibetan Buddhism), Pure Land Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism.