The essence of Buddhism
Paraphrased from various sources.
Buddhism is a way of life that can lead to enlightenment; enlightenment facilitates the elimination of human suffering.
How do Buddhists strive to do this?
First, recognize and accept the Four Noble Truths.
Second, avoid extremes by following the Middle Way.
This is the way to enlightenment.
The Four Noble Truths:
1) There is suffering.
2) Suffering is caused.
3) Suffering can be extinguished by eliminating the causes of suffering.
4) The way to extinguish the causes of suffering is to follow the Middle Way.
The Middle Way has three parts:
Wisdom comes from steps one and two on the Noble eightfold Path:
1) Right views
2) Right resolution
Correct Conduct comes from steps three, four, and five on the Noble Eightfold Path:
3) Right speech
4) Right action
5) Right livelihood
Mental Discipline comes from steps six, seven, and eight on the Noble Eightfold Path:
6) Right effort
7) Right mindfulness
8) Right concentration
Gautama Siddhartha, the original Buddha, like Christ, left no written record of his teaching. Some of Buddha’s followers recorded and collected 423 verses that were taught by Buddha during his ministry of about forty-five years. These have become known as the Dharmmapada, which is about as close to what Buddha actually said as we can get.
One example from a translation of the Dharmmapad by Narada Thera:
“Hatreds never cease through hatred, but through love alone they cease.”
Sounds rather Christian, doesn’t it; but Gautama Buddha lived, attained enlightenment, taught, and died about 400 years before Christ was born.
Buddhism, like many religions, has evolved into a variety of interpretations.
Discussion of the various interpretations of Buddhism is beyond the scope of this post.