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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 of Buddhism?
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 peace.

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.

More information:
www.accesstoinsight.org
www.kadampa.org
www.buddhanet.org

Written by Kelsang Pagpa
Thank you so very much, my friend!

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