About Buddhism

Siddhartha GautamaBuddhism originates in the life and teaching of the Buddha, whose proper name was Siddhartha Gautama. Born into a royal family in north India (now Nepal) in the fifth century B.C., Gautama was raised in the wealth and luxury befitting an aristocrat, but he soon found that worldly comfort is not enough to guarantee true happiness and contentment. In his twenty-ninth year, moved by the suffering to which humanity is prone, he renounced his life in the palace and set off to find the key to human happiness. After six years of struggle and ascetic practices, in his thirty-fifth year he discovered the path that leads to complete release from all bondage and misery. Pursuing this path, he attained Perfect Enlightenment, the consummation of his quest, and from that point on came to be known as the Buddha, the Awakened One. For the remaining forty-five years of his life he traveled all over northern India teaching others the Dharma, the truth that he discovered, and the path to Nirvana, the state of ultimate bliss. He also established a community of monks and nuns, called the Sangha, to carry on his teaching after his death. In his eightieth year the Buddha passed away peacefully, surrounded by his many devoted disciples. Continue Reading »

Becoming a Buddhist Lay Disciple

One becomes a Buddhist lay disciple by means of two steps: Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels and undertaking the Five Precepts. By going for refuge one makes the solemn commitment to accept the Three Jewels — the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha — as the guiding ideals of one’s life. By taking

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The Four Noble Truths

All the Buddha’s teachings center around the Four Noble Truths, the formula into which he compressed the essence of his realization. The First Noble Truth teaches that life involves suffering. It is impossible to live without experiencing some kind of discomfort or stress. Possessing bodies, we have to endure sickness, injury, fatigue, old age, and

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The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path covers every aspect of life – intellectual, ethical, social, and psychological – and thus contains everything we need to develop ethically and spiritually, in the process benefiting ourselves and others. The steps of the path are: Right View : clearly understanding the fundamental laws of life and the nature of things

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Making a Fresh Start in Life

A talk given at the Chinese New Year assembly at Bodhi Monastery, February 9th, 2008 For Buddhists, the new year should not be an occasion merely to celebrate and enjoy good food and the company of friends. It is an opportunity to take a new birth and start a new life, a time to renew

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