Although to many, the teachings of Buddha, or Buddhism, may seem complex, the essence is a combination of being understanding and following a life of simplicity. In a sense, that is what makes the concept difficult for many to grasp, and yet the beauty of it is that it is so easy that a child can understand it.
Who is Buddha?
Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Guatama, Shakyamuni Buddha, and today, known simply as Buddha, was born a prince and realized happiness was not based on conditioned experience. He went in search of obtaining happiness and found it through deep meditation, from which he spent the rest of his life teaching those who were willing to learn about true enlightenment.
Buddhist Concepts of Life
In Buddhism, the universe is composed of different qualities, conditions and consciousness. The Gods are highly evolved forms of consciousness and are not beings or entities, but rather degrees of truth. Thusly, the concept of nature is a combination of different means of realization or the inward knowledge of truth.
Our purpose of life is essentially to reach the understanding that illusions distract us into believing that there are separate existences. These illusions are not eternal; it is our goal to know that we are all one, when that is understood, we will reach what is called Nirvana.
Buddhists believe, the abstraction is impossible to form a thought. If you are evil in a previous life your next life will be filled with great misfortune as a result, so we come back life after life trying to eliminate all evil and replace ignorance with wisdom.
To Buddhists, the universe is called the Not-Self. In the Not-Self, humankind is reincarnated, nature grows and dies, all that is within the Not-Self will eventually vanish. What is left is the Self, everlasting and limitless. Before this can happen, humanity has to pass through the two immutable Laws: Reincarnation and Karma, without exemption.
The Path to Follow
One must follow Eight Truths, or disciplines, in order to achieve happiness. Samma precedes each Truth, meaning one of the following: ‘whole’, ‘proper’, ‘complete’, or even ‘right.’
Samma-Ditthi— The holding of Perfect Vision: free yourself of prejudice, illusion, doubts, fear and animosity.
Samma-Sankappa — The living of the Highest Standard of Conduct: act from love and compassion.
Samma-Vaca — The Control of Speech: always speak the truth with an open and honest heart.
Samma-Kammanta — Right Conduct: have an ethical and honest relationship with oneself and all other living things.
Samma-Ajiva — The Practice of Harmlessness: Neither cause pain, emotional or physical to another entity.
Samma-Vayama — Perseverance in Nobel Action: Deliberate persistence to overcome the illusions of life and consciously evolve.
Samma-Sati — Right Thinking: Direct the mind to understand what supreme wisdom is.
Samma-Samadhi — Whole Meditation: Experience the practice of the inner-self, fixed at one point but go beyond being consciously aware to reach enlightenment.
To accomplish the Eight Truths, one must overcome Ten ‘Fetters’ or forms of bondage. The following fetters are illusions that distract humankind from finding peace within self and complete understanding.
The soul is immortal.
Salvation is possible.
External religions, rites and prayers will lead to salvation.
Senses and passions are real.
Evil and hatred exist.
Love of life and of the world are real.
That there is life beyond this existence in heaven or another form.
Superciliousness (arrogance to others) is real.
Ignorance is in us.
To realize that in order to reach truth one must understand that these are all illusions, and not to be believed. That allows for the Buddhist to live the noblest life and reach that which is most sought after, the end of all illusions and Nirvana.