Buddhism is more of a way of life than a hard and fast religion. It is about personal journey of the body and soul.
A lot of the teachings and premises from Buddhism are just plain common sense, its just labeled differently.
– what goes around comes around
– you reap what you sew
– everything you do ripples and there are consequences around the world that you may not understand
– if it is not yours don’t take it
– treat others the way you want to be treated
On a personal level you may not agree with all of the teachings of Buddhism. There is much controversy about what happens to the soul after death. Buddhism embraces reincarnation. What happens to a soul after death is completely based on faith. There are many theories and beliefs, and it simply comes down to a matter of personal faith.
The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama and lived around 500 BC. He was the son of an Indian warrior-king. This entitled him to a most extravagant lifestyle and great worth in the community. Eventually he became bored with the royal life and went out to find himself. He witnessed what is called now as the Four Sites that changed his direction in life.
He gave up his title and became a monk. He denied himself of all worldly possessions and began to search for truth. It is believed that Gautama found the truth of how to be free from all suffering and achieve salvation. It was at this time he was proclaimed as Buddha, meaning the “Enlightened One”. The Buddha then spent the rest of his life traveling and teaching others what he had come to discover.
There are Four Noble Truths in Buddhism
Life means suffering
To live is to suffer. The body comes with aches, pains, and it is never perfect. There are also psychological sufferings like frustration, sadness, anger, depression and desperation. This truth can not be avoided, but it does not need to be the focus of life.
The origin of suffering is attachment
Ignorance is a lack of understanding. Attachments are formed to transient things. Transient is a very broad term and is covers many things. Attaching to fame, passion, pursuing of wealth and idea of self are all done because of ignorance.
The cessation is attainable
The third noble truth is about leaving behind all forms of attachments. The suffering can be removed simply by removing the cause. It is about reaching a state of mind called Nirvana. Nirvana is a state where there is freedom from all troubles, worries, complexes and ideas.
The path to the cessation of suffering
The path is a gradual process. It is much like climbing a very tall and steep mountain. It takes place a few steps at a time. The cycle of rebirth happens so cravings and ignorance will dissipate over several life times.
Typically people don’t jump into Buddhism headfirst. They begin by simply learning to relax and put things into perspective. Maybe the world would be a better place if all people just did that much. It is hard to see why anyone would come to harm by living this peaceful lifestyle.