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Buddhism created by Buddha, is a historical men. After he died, Buddhism split into several branches, but all branches is also mentioned: the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path. If someone says he is a monk, but do not teach those things(For noble truths and Eightfold path), that is wrong.
- Four Noble Truths are:
1. Life means suffering.
To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and -in a greater sense- all objects of our perception. Ignorance is the lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
The cessation of suffering can be attained through nirodha. Nirodha means the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment. The third noble truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion. Nirodha extinguishes all forms of clinging and attachment. This means that suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas. Nirvana is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.
There is a path to the end of suffering - a gradual path of self-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are merely "wandering on the wheel of becoming", because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.
- Eightfold Path:
The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.
1. Right View
Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.
2. Right Intention
While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.
3. Right Speech
Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path. This aspect is not self-sufficient, however, essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.
4. Right Action
The second ethical principle, right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind. Again, the principle is explained in terms of abstinence: right action means 1. to abstain from harming sentient beings, especially to abstain from taking life (including suicide) and doing harm intentionally or delinquently, 2. to abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty, and 3. to abstain from sexual misconduct. Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others. Further details regarding the concrete meaning of right action can be found in the Precepts.
5. Right Livelihood
Right livelihood means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), 3. working in meat production and butchery, and 4. selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs. Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided.
6. Right Effort
Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four types of endeavours that rank in ascending order of perfection: 1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states, 2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen, 3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and 4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.
7. Right Mindfulness
Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. contemplation of the body, 2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral), 3. contemplation of the state of mind, and 4. contemplation of the phenomena.
8. Right Concentration
The eighth principle of the path, right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity, namely concentration. Concentration in this context is described as one-pointedness of mind, meaning a state where all mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. Right concentration for the purpose of the eightfold path means wholesome concentration, i.e. concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions. The Buddhist method of choice to develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses on a selected object. It first directs itself onto it, then sustains concentration, and finally intensifies concentration step by step. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated levels concentration also in everyday situations.
You should read and think carefully about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path and then continue read. Because this life is suffering that people should believe and practice what the Buddha taught. Basically you have to take refuge in the Triple Gem, and keep “Five precepts”:
- Trust, to rely on the Buddha
- Trust, to rely on the Buddha's teachings (you should find out more, but most important is the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path)
- Trust, to rely on the Increase
“Five precepts” :
1. Do not Kill
One must not deliberately kill any living creatures, either by committing the act oneself, instructing others to kill, or approving of or participating in act of killing. It is a respect to others' lives.
One should not deprive others (animals not excluded) of the right to live. If one is hurt or killed, one's family, relatives, friends will suffer. It is the cause of rebirth in Three Evil Paths. The effect of killing to the performer are brevity of life, ill health, handicapped and fear.
In observing the first precept, one tries to protect life whenever possible. Furthermore, one cultivates the attitude of loving kindness to all beings by wishing that they may be happy and free from harm.
2. Do not Steal
It is a respect to other's properties and the right to own property. If something is not given, one may not take it away by stealing, by force or by fraud. Besides these, one should avoid misusing money or property belonging to the public or other persons. In a broader sense, the second precept also means that one should not evade one’s responsibilities. If an employee is lazy and neglects the duties or tasks assigned to him, he is, in a way, "stealing" time that should have been spent on his work.
In its broadest sense, observing the second precept also means that one cultivates the virtue of generosity. A Buddhist gives to the poor and sick because of their need. He makes offerings to the monks, nuns and masters because he respects the qualities they possess. He is generous in his gifts to his parents, teachers and friends because of the advice, guidance and kindness they have shown him.
Besides giving material things to the needy and the worthy, Buddhists should also offer sympathy and encouragement to those who are hurt or discouraged. It is said, however, that the best of all gifts is the gift of the Dharma in the form of teaching it or in the production and distribution of Buddhist books.
Greed is one of the Three Poisons, which leads us to attachment and suffering. The bad effect of stealing are poverty, misery, disappointment, etc.
3. Do not Indulge in Sexual Misconduct
Though the moral standards are different in different countries and in different times, rape, adultery and other abnormal sexual behaviour that involve physical and mental injury to others should be prohibited. It is also a matter of respect for people and personal relationships.
Sexual desire is one of the main causes of rebirth in the Six Paths. If we wish to end the birth and death cycle, we should not indulge in sexual misconduct or any other abnormal form of sexual relationship.
The effect of sexual misconduct are having many enemies, always being hated, and union with undesirable wives and husbands.
4. Do not Lie
To refrain from telling lies is to show respect for the truth. No good can come from telling lies, be it out of fun or malice. When a Buddhist observes the fourth precept, he refrains from telling lies or half-truths that exaggerate or understate, and instead cultivates the virtue of truthfulness. Once people uphold the respect for truth, there will be fewer quarrels and misunderstandings and fewer cases of false accusations in the courts of justice. Society will then become more peaceful and orderly.
5. Do not Take Intoxicant
Buddhism emphasises wisdom. Taking intoxicant will descend and lose the seed of wisdom. Intoxicants, such as drugs, liquor, smoking, etc., are harmful to health. It seems that taking intoxicant is not hurting others. However, if we are drunk and lose our consciousness, we may easily commit evil deeds and hurt others. Therefore, one who breaks this precept will tend to break all other precepts along with it.
The fifth precept is based on respect for mental health. It guard against the loss of control of one’s mind. It is particularly important to those who meditate because, by refraining from taking intoxicants, they can more easily cultivate awareness, attention and clarity of mind. Thus the observance of the fifth precept not only contributes to happiness in the family and peace in society, it also prepares a person for the practice of Mental Development.
* Conditions In Violating Precepts
Five conditions of panatipata (Killing)
1. The being must be alive.
2. There must be the knowledge that it is a live being.
3. There must be an intention to cause death.
4. An act must be done to cause death.
5. There must be death, as the result of the said act.
If all the said five conditions are fulfilled, the first precept is violated.
Five conditions of Adinnadana (Stealing)
1. The property must be in the possession of another person.
2. There must be the knowledge that the property is in the possession of another person.
3. There must be an intention to steal.
4. There must be an act done to steal.
5. By that act the property must have been taken.
If all the said five conditions are fulfilled, the second precept is violated.
Four conditions to kamesumicchacara (Sexual Misconduct)
1. It must be a man or a woman with whom it is improper to have sexual intercourse.
2. There must be an intention to have such sexual misconduct with such man or woman.
3. There must be an act done to have such intercourse.
4. There must be enjoyment of the contact of the organs.
If all the said four conditions are fulfilled, the third precept is violated.
Four conditions of musavada (Telling lies)
1.The thing said must be untrue.
2. There must be an intention to deceive.
3.There must be an effort made as a result of the said intention.
4. The other must know the meaning of what is said.
If these conditions are fulfilled, the fourth precept is violated.
Three conditions of taking intoxicant
1. It is intoxicant.
2. There must be an intention to consume.
3. It is consumed.
If these conditions are fulfilled, the fifth precept is violated. However, taking intoxicant for medical purpose does not violate this precept.
***This is what's basically a Buddhist. When you become a monk, you have to keep many more rules. I will send you more in other posts. In this email I have to use some materials on the internet, i would like to thank those authors.
Some book relative Hsu Yun: Empty Cloud (author: Charles Luk), "biography of venerable master hsu yun", "chan & zen teaching series 1"
This article i sent to Sofia in email, but someone want to read about Buddhism, so i post it. Thanks for wiewing.
great, I love to hear the teachings again and again.
Very informative, thank you! :)
May all beings come to know True Love, True Peace, and True Happiness :)