Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Brief Introduction to the Beliefs of Buddhism

I want to apologize for this post taking so long to appear! To my defense I have been busy with my shop and I recently wrote a new article for Ye Olde Witches Brew. I now have my own blog there as well as starting a column where I take pagan themed questions from readers and post their letter and my answer on the column. If any of my readers here have anything they would like to see addressed on that column feel free to contact me through this blog or through the online publication!
With all that said, today's post is about Buddhism. I recently purchased a book on Zen and am greatly enjoying my read. I decided to share some of this with you.

The Enlightenment of the Buddha is central to Buddhism. The word "Buddha" means "enlightened" or "awakened". It refers to a fully enlightened being who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance or who is enlightened about both his or her own nature as well the nature of the world. Historically, the word Buddha is most often used to refer to Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of the Shakya clan in ancient India (sixth century BC) who, after a long spiritual struggle, had a great spiritual awakening and became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. As the enlightened sage (muni) of the Shakya clan, he also came to be known as Shakyamuni Buddha.
In his enlightened experience, the Buddha gained insight into the suffering or pain that pervades our existence. He discovered a new mode of awareness and way of living driven neither by the grasping of desire nor by the aversion of hatred. This enlightened awareness is free of the ignorance and delusion that is characteristic of our normal consciousness. It finds expression in a host of positive qualities, most importantly, great wisdom and great compassion. These are exemplified in the life of the Buddha.
The Buddha embarked on a long life as a teacher in Northern India in order to communicate this experience, with its liberating knowledge, to others. He founded a community of followers establishing the basic patterns of institutional life, meditative practice, and philosophical and religious thinking known as Buddhism.
The teachings of the Buddha are preserved in the Buddhist scriptures (sutras).

Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels:
The Buddha, who has realized enlightenment
The Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha
The Sangha, the community of Buddhist practitioners.

The young prince Siddhartha Gautama is depicted as having everything one could desire-wealth, bodily beauty, intelligence, a beautiful wife and child, abundant leisure time and so on-yet something was lacking in his life. Despite all that surrounded him, he was still troubled by the fact of death and by the fundamental questions of existence. Awareness of his own and others pain provided the starting point for Siddhartha's spiritual quest. A long search culminated in his becoming the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
It is said that when the Buddha had his awakening, his great enlightenment experience, he doubted whether he could communicate something so profound to others.
After some hesitation, he set out on his quest to teach the knowledge he had gained.
Rather then talk about his great experience, even though it is what made him the Enlightened One, Shakyamuni made the fact of suffering and pain the starting point of his teaching. Acknowledgement of pain is the entry point into a deeper investigation of reality, an opportunity to begin to know things as they are rather then as we might imagine them or wish them to be.
The truth of suffering is the first of the Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths:
The truth of suffering, dunkhaThe truth of the arising of suffering
The truth of the cessation of suffering
The truth of the path to the end of suffering

According to the Buddha, the cause of the angst in our lives is to be found in the patterns of clinging and aversion that dominate our minds and govern our actions. From moment to moment, we are driven by the desire to get rid of or avoid pain. So enmeshed have we become in patters of desire and avoidance that these patterns have assumed lives of their own and come to control our lives. We do not act in clear awareness, but under the control of often unconscious drives and emotions. Our actions, rather than satisfying our desires, often result in further frustration and antagonism.

That is a brief introduction to Buddhism. It is so much more then what I have provided here and I have found what I have read so far to be completely enlightening!
I hope you enjoyed the read and that it has inspired you to look further into this enlightening way of looking at life on your own. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Don't forget to let me know if you would like to be the first reader featured on my new column at Ye Olde Witches Brew. Send in your questions or what nots!
Brightest Blessings,


Jen said...

I love this post. I have grown an interest in Buddhisma nd began reading about it last winter but found all the different teachings so confusing that I stopped for a while until I can find a book that is easy to explain and follow and I'll move from there :)

Also, if you want me too, I will post a blog about your Blog and Column on Ye Olde Witches Brew on all my sites. if there is an address you want me to use so people can email you, message me at

Hope you are doing well and that your weekend isp eaceful!~