To be honest, I've always
been interested in reincarnation and this stuff. A personal tragedy made me wonder
about Buddhism and it's positive affection on me. The X-Files episode "all
things" deals with
Buddhism as well as with basic questions about life and time. Scully experiences
some kind of revelation ... "all things" has such a huge effect on me, still.
I read a lot about Buddhism and got informed. I also had some (long) talks
with my friend Kelsang Pagpa, who taught me the basic ideas of Buddhism.
He also wrote this FAQ for me. I am really thankful for this, because I
am no monch and I would give vague information only. But luckily
Kelsang is a monch and who could better speak about Buddhism? I think,
"all things" also tried to introduce Buddhism, so all thingx does the same:
Who was Buddha?
In general, ‘Buddha’ means
‘Awakened One’, someone who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and
who seems things as they really are. A Buddha is someone who is free
from all faults, suffering and mental obscurations. There are many
people who have become Buddhas in the past, and many people will become
Buddhas in the future.
Who is the founder
The Buddha who is the founder
of the Buddhist religion is called Buddha Shakyamuni. He was born
as a royal prince, Prince Siddhartha, in 624 BC in India. He saw
the sufferings of birth, ageing sickness and death and, out of compassion,
became determined to find a solution to this suffering.
Through meditation, he eventually
attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya in Northern India,
and taught this path to freedom to fortunate disciples until he was 81.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism, or Buddhadharma
is the collection of Buddha’s teachings, and the inner realisations that
come from practising these teachings. Buddha taught that happiness
and suffering depend upon the mind. Real happiness arises from peaceful
and positive states of mind, and suffering arises from negative or unpeaceful
states of mind and actions motivated by these. From this, we can
see that happiness and suffering does not exist outside ourselves.
Positive minds are called
‘virtuous minds’ and include faith, love, compassion, patience, wisdom
and many more. Negative and disturbed minds are called ‘delusions’
and include anger, attachment, pride, jealousy and many other minds.
Buddha taught that we can eliminate delusions and develop virtuous minds
until we experience permanent inner peace, which is called ‘Nirvana’
What is meditation?
Meditation is a method for
acquainting ourselves with virtuous states of mind. At the moment,
our virtuous minds are quite weak, and so they cannot easily give rise
to their effect, happiness. However, our delusions are very strong
and can give rise to their effect, suffering very easily! Through
meditation, we can change our state of mind. We can strengthen our
virtuous states of mind so that they arise more easily and frequently.
This will weaken our delusions until they cease altogether. When
this happens, we will experience the everlasting inner peace of Nirvana
- permanent happiness.
By training in meditation
we can experience increasing happiness and contentment in daily life through
peaceful minds. It is the supreme method for accomplishing inner
Why are there many
traditions of Buddhism?
There are many different
traditions of Buddhism - Theravada, Tibetan, Kadampa, Nicherin, Pure Land,
Zen, as well as many Western traditions.
Buddhism has spread across
the world since Buddha’s passing away. In every country it has travelled
to, Buddhist practice has absorbed the culture and customs of that society.
Buddha gave 84,000 teachings during this life, and each tradition of Buddhism
emphasises different meditation practices. This accounts for the
differences between them, but pure traditions of Buddhism keep strictly
to the original vision of the Buddha and all share the same basic teachings.
Written by Kelsang
Thank you so very much,
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