Daily Buddhist News
First Approach"Buddhism is a journey into the depths of one’s heart and mind, the inner reality of one’s essence, an exploration of who we are and what we are.
This spiritual journey is nothing more and nothing less than discovering this inner reality." The Venerable Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Soon after His Enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree in Bodh-Gaya, Buddha Gautama was requested by the main Devas, Indra and Brahma, to turn the Wheel of Dharma. He then travelled to Sarnath, near the city of Varanasi, where he began to offer teachings based on his own experience to a small assembly at a place called Deer Park.
These teachings, known as the 'Buddhadharma', were a series of discourses between the Buddha and his disciples on philosophy and view, as well as practical instructions on how to relate to everyday life and how to work with one's own mind.
The Buddhist path can be summed up as:
- To lead a moral life,
- To be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
- To develop wisdom and understanding.
The way to begin this journey is by applying traditional practices such as meditation as a means to develop the qualities of awareness, loving kindness, compassion and wisdom. These practices developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years, and provide an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path, which ultimately results in Enlightenment or Buddhahood.
The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching, usually referred to as the Four Nobel Truths, are straightforward and very practical:
- Everything is changing and unsatisfactory;
- There is a cause to suffering;
- Suffering can be ceased;
- How? The eightfold Noble Path.
Buddhism addresses itself to all people. It teaches practical methods, which enable people to realize and utilize its teachings in order to transform their experience, to be fully responsible for their lives and to develop the qualities of Wisdom and Compassion. To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more a philosophy or even a way of life.
Shakyamuni Buddha established the spiritual tradition of Buddhism, called "buddha-dharma" or "the teachings of the awakened one" over 2500 years ago in ancient India. After engaging in different ascetic practices for many years, prince Siddhartha Gautama realised that the path of asceticism was not leading him to his goal of discovering the cause of suffering. He then discontinued that practice and decided instead to sit quietly under the bodhi-tree. There he attained the complete realization of the true reality of all phenomena. Thus he became known as the "Buddha," which means "the awakened one."
The historical Buddha traveled to Sarnath, in northern India, where he began to offer teachings based on his own experience to a small assembly at a place called Deer Park. These teachings—known as the "buddha-dharma", which means "teachings of the awakened one", encompass what is known today as Buddhism.
The teachings of the Buddha show the path and practices that lead to the state of complete enlightenment, the freedom from cyclic existence known as samsara. Buddha proclaims in his teachings that all sentient beings have the potential of wakefulness within, which can be fully realized through the methods on the path. The process of awakening mainly consists of two elements of accumulation of merit and wisdom through developing the right philosophical view and then going through the process of meditation practice. The methods of the path are passed down from generation to generation, which is known in Vajrayana as the "lineage."
Buddhism and Science
To modern society, science is knowledge which can be made into a system. It depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fits into this definition, because the Four Noble Truths (mentioned above) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true.
To see Buddhism as a form of ‘science’, we are not referring to the dry science of analyzing material things. The meaning here is something much deeper. We are talking about going into the depths of the reality of our inner world, which is the most powerful world. The teachings of Lord Buddha set forth a path that frees one from disturbing emotions and fundamental ignorance. This dharma frees us from existence in samsara, defined by samsaric fear, and leads us towards the fruition of independence, the fruition of the state of complete freedom and fearlesness. By closely looking at Buddhism, we see that it is a genuine science of the mind that allows one to uncover the inner reality, the nature of the mind and the phenomena that our mind experience.