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Who Was The Buddha?

Almost 2,600 years, ago. about 563 B.C.E. Siddhartha Gotama, Prince of the Sakyas, was born in northern India in an area that is now part of Nepal. In his late 20's, Siddhartha saw the miseries of sickness, old age. and death. He left his family and embarked on a quest to find the meaning of life and a solution to the problem of human sufferings

What is Buddhism?

After years of wandering, searching, and meditation, Siddhartha Gotama attained enlightenment He was then called the Buddha, the "Awakened One." When Sakyamuni Buddha achieved this final state of perfect liberation, he decided to reveal What he had learned to others. Buddhism is the way of life taught by the Buddha.

The central tenet of Buddhism is that all beings possess Buddha-nature or the potential for full and complete enlightenment.

Buddha first taught the Four Noble Truths:

The Eightfold Path:

Buddhism teaches that one's life does not begin with birth and end with death but is a link in a chain of lives, each conditioned by volitional acts (karma) committed in previous existences. The concept of karma, the law of cause and effect, suggests that selfishness and craving result in suffering. Conversely, compassion and love bring happiness and well-being. Therefore, only by eliminating desire can one find peace of mind. The ideal Buddhist aspiration is to attain perfection through Nirvana (Nibbhana), an indescribable, immutable state unconditioned by desire, suffering, or further rebirth, in which a person simply is, yet is completely at one with his surroundings.

Buddhism teaches the way of Oneness-a non-dualistic view of life and the world.The meaning of life is living in awareness and deep appreciation.

Buddhism emphasizes the Buddha as a teacher, not a deity. Statues of the Buddha are not idols to be worshipped, but symbols of enlightenment representing the highest ideals of perfect wisdom and compassion.

Buddhism is based on the teachings of a man who made no claim to being a prophet, a god, or a son of a god. Yet, the Buddha set out to bring hope and peace of mind to people around him-many of whom suffered from despair and fear.

For 45 years the Buddha taught throughout northern India, spreading the Dharma (teachings) and attracting a large group of disciples. He spoke about impermanence, ignorance the cycle of existence. and the law of cause and effect.

When, at the age of 80. he was preparing to die, he gave final instructions to his disciples. "My brothers," he said, "all component and created things are subject to decay. So it is with rne. Work out your own salvation with diligence. Be lamps unto yourselves."

Throughout his life, the Buddha sought to free man from the bonds of the accepted, the customary He stressed effort-right effort. Laziness and torpor were to be avoided as much as evil desires and false views.

Buddhism is a path of behavior, learning, mental attitude, and respect for all life-upon which the historic Buddha walked, a path which is open to others who are earnest as well.

Buddhism has extended its influence throughout the world. It has been adapted to conditions all over the globe by people of different races, cultures, and languages. As a result, the practice of Buddhism varies from country to county, fitting the needs of particular cultures. The basic tenets and teachings are the same throughout the world, and the different emphasis given to one teaching or another within an ethnic or cultural milieu is a point of mutual appreciation rather than argument. Indeed, argument or anger are not the way of Buddhism, and there has never been a war fought in the name of the Buddha.