Our beliefs are our hallmarks. That is to say, it differentiates us from a large uniform populace. It sheds more light on where we are coming from, the direction our being is heading toward. And, most importantly, it defines those who accept, what we do and those who do not.
Buddhism overtime happens to build its teachings around certain beliefs, philosophies, and ideologies. Hence, these Buddhist philosophy happens to steadily draw the focus of a growing number of people present.
At the end of this write-up, We are going to cover Buddha’s original views, findings, and teachings. In addition, we will answer certain questions as related to the philosophy of Buddhism.
The teachings of the Buddha were passed down by words of the mouth. Thus, Buddhists refer to the practice as an oral tradition. However, in general, the teachings collectively is the dharma.
He described it as a raft that aids crossing to the other end of the shore. But, it is worthy to note that the teachings are not something to cling to. In other words, the teachings do not change the course of things for you. Instead, the goal is to make you aware of the very nature of things. Thereby, helping you to reach your destination.
Thus, one becomes more mindful of the destination.
The Buddha subjected his human nature to luxury, suffering and finally meditation. Afterward, he came up with answers that address his curious soul.
These answers formed the basic philosophy of Buddhism. Thus, they include the:
- Four Noble Truth
- Noble Eightfold Path
- Middle Way
- Three Marks of Existence
- Five Precepts
- Karma and Rebirth
The Four Noble Truth
The teachings of the four noble truth include:
The First Noble Truth/Dukkha
This is the reality of the existence of suffering. The Buddha as a young Prince leads a luxurious and pleasurable life, in the secluded corners of a palace. Well, that is Until he encountered the world outside. Thereafter, it occurred to him that there is an unpleasant and dark side to life. These sides physically include physical pain, sickness hunger, poverty and finally death.
In addition, there are also feelings that torture the soul which includes anger, greed, frustration, hate, jealousy, and disappointments.
The Second Noble Truth/Samudaya
This is the cause of suffering. Suffering goes deeply into clinging to the ephemeral offerings of life. For example, attaching oneself to wealth, power, class. As a result, when we always try to please the senses, it replaces content and happiness with more cravings, frustration, and anger. Obviously, this leads to more suffering.
The Third Noble Truth/Nirohdha
We can end suffering. The mind can experience a complete state of bliss and peace. However, this is when we put an end to cravings and wants. Also, utmost liberation called nirvana can finally come. Eventually, the mind will be purged of the ill feelings assailing it.
The Fourth Noble Truth/Magga
The end of suffering is following a defined path. This path is the noble eightfold path.
The Noble Eightfold Path
Buddha’s Noble Eightfold teachings are of three categories.
Samma dithi/Right Understanding
This means understanding the true essence of the Four Noble Truth. Most of all, seeing it from an angle of truth.
Samma sanskappa/Right thought
Channeling the mind in the right direction. Ensuring it yearns for true enlightenment.
Sila/Morals and Virtue
Samma Vacca/Right Speech
let your words instill peace, love, and harmony. In other words, desist from lying, gossip, and hurtful talks.
Samma Kammanta/Right Conduct/Action
Doing good deeds by borrowing a leaf from the five precepts. Thus, the Five Buddhist Precepts includes, do not kill, lie, steal, misuse sex or take alcohol.
Samma Ajiva/Right Livelihood
Earn and support yourself honestly. Hence, do not step on the toes of any being while doing this, Animals inclusive.
Samadhi/Focus and Meditation
Samma Vayama/Right Effort
This is channeling one’s energy toward the promotion of good thought and acts. As a result, one need not feed bad thoughts to grow once seeded.
Samma Sati/Right Mindfulness
Paying detailed attention, becoming more aware of the body, states of the mind, our feelings. Most importantly, feeding it with positive energy to strengthen positive attributes and fade opposing ones.
Samma Samadhi/Right Concentration
A core practice in meditation. It aims to steady the mind’s focus, towards good and positive transforming attributes. Basically, it involves the four stages of deeper concentration. Thus,
The Dyana: This is the first phase, in which one achieves happiness and wrong intents deleted.
The second stage: All mind activities stop, for bliss to steady itself.
The third stage: Happiness gradually fades.
The fourth stage: Bliss gives way for an innermost peaceful state and equanimity. Thereafter, it gives rise to a deeper sense of happiness.
The Three Marks of Existence
This is the basis and root of the four noble truth. It includes:
- Annica/Impermanence: Everything existent, lacks continuity. It will never last.
- Annatta/No Self or Soul: There is nothing fixed or unchanging in us. Therefore, the idea of self is illusory. More so, it keeps fanning the flames of suffering. Especially, if we continually nurture this false idea. Our endless cravings established its root on the fact that we put our own interests above any other interests. In general, there are only five things that interact to make up a being. They include physical forms, ideation, feeling, mental forms and consciousness.
- Dukkha: This means suffering and the fact that it exists to assail us.
The Middle Way
Similar to Aristotle’s golden mean. The Buddha was born into luxury. More so, he encountered an ascetic monk, leading a chosen life of renouncing sensual pleasures. Of course, he did borrow a leaf and experienced that too. At this point, it occurred to him that neither intense suffering of the body nor extreme pleasure brings right understanding. It was then he ventured into meditation under the bodhi tree. Certainly, there he gained enlightenment. Afterward, he focused more on how humans react to circumstances that assail them.
Karma and Rebirth
This is the belief that every action and intention get rewarded accordingly. In reality, it might be immediately, in the long run, or in the next life. Hence, every life experience we encounter might be as a result of karmic effects which pays us back in our own coin. This equally explains inequality in life, why some people appear gifted and the others handicapped.
Because the self is not fixed. It is transitory. As a result, every dead being is going to reincarnate to any of the existent six realms. Most noteworthy, you do not get to choose. The deeds in the past life determine whether one’s intended existence will be better than the last one. There are realms of the gods and realms of hungry restive spirits. Therefore, the reward of your previous actions chooses for you.
Thus described as complete enlightenment and liberation, the abode of peace, or the farther end. In other words, you may not think of Nirvana as a place. Instead, you can view it as a state in which:
- One perfectly understands that there is no self.
- One’s cravings and longings in life are no longer existing.
- There is cutting out from continuity and becoming.
- One attains true happiness, innermost peace, and equanimity. In other words, one becomes more at peace with his soul and surroundings.
To attain Nirvana, one has to go through right meditation. Practically, it takes the form of gradually deleting wrong intents and instilling happiness and finally peace.
The Five Aggregates
They are sets of moral conducts. Furthermore, it is mostly monks who chose the ascetic path that undertakes the five precept. It includes:
- Do not kill
- Avoid taking that which is not given
- Do not lie
- Do not misuse sex
- Avoid alcohol, intoxication and drug misuse
What Is the Goal of Buddha’s Philosophy?
The goal is that every true disciple finally finds his/her way out of suffering. Thence, this is what he described as Nirvana.
Importance of Buddha’s Philosophy
- It gives Buddhism dimension
- Provides insight in the manner of a true living
- It aims to end suffering
- Meditation a core Buddhists ideology is extensively practiced today. Basically, to address some physical and emotional problems.
Origin of Buddhist’s Philosophy
Siddhartha Gautama is a young Prince. He was Born between the 5th and 6th century B.C.E. Thereafter, he originated Buddhism when he achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha. Therefore, he was mindful about his existence.
So, he paid attention to every detail of both sides of life. Also, he had the opportunity to experience them in its profundity.
The Buddha having found true enlightenment while meditating under the Bodhi tree decided not to keep all these to himself. Instead, he decided to reveal his findings for the benefit of other humans. Consequently, this became the birth of Buddhism.
Initially, his journey started from the deer park at Benares. This was where he garnered a few disciples. Subsequently, he taught for the next 45 yrs until his death.
Buddhism challenged the Vedic religion existent then. This is so because its teachings and that of the Vedic religion is entirely not in harmony.
Afterward, from India, Buddhism finally spread to other Asian countries. For example, China, Tibet, Sri-lanka. Thus, today, it is presently fast growing in the western world. Amazingly, even as Buddhism originated in India, they rarely practice it there presently.
Does Every Buddhist Sect Practice Buddha’s Original Teachings?
There are three main sects in Buddhism. It includes Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism. Generally, these sects gave rise to the eighteen schools of thought in Buddhism. This includes Amitabha, Zen or pure land Buddhism and so on.
The various branches of Buddhism, even with their differences, still practice the teachings of the Buddha. However, Theravada Buddhism is more firmly rooted in Buddha’s original teachings. This includes self-enlightenment, becoming a Saint, and achieving nirvana.
In Mahayana Buddhism philosophy, it is all about giving your being for others. Hence, it believes more in uniting one being with other beings and the universe. This is different from the Theravada Buddhism which focuses more on self-enlightenment.
How to Cultivate Buddhism Philosophy and Teachings Within One’s Life
Starting up the practice all by your self, probably because you read somewhere can be pretty challenging. Moreover, you are going to need to work your body physically through yoga. And, mentally, through reflection, more reading, and chanting of mantra.
Also, meditation the core approach should not be left out. Thus, the need to do each of these things right. It helps to feed energy to the physical body and internal mind. Consequently, this aids a perfect understanding of the teachings more. More so, this is the first steps to start cultivating Buddhism philosophy.
Yoga and Buddhism Philosophy
Yoga calms and energizes the body physically. Basically, it expunges physical bodily tensions that might get in the way of perfect understanding and practice. As a result, those seeking to give Buddhism teachings their best shot, should not leave yoga practice out.
Meditation and Buddhism Philosophy
The Buddha, before he could gain enlightenment underwent a series of meditation under the Bodhi tree. Firstly, a soul not meditating appears to be warring and conflicting within. Meditation can calm, focus and disciplines the mind. Moreover, When we expel the tensions within, we tend to get a truer picture of what we are getting at.
Which Buddhism Philosophy is Extensively Practised Today?
Every true disciple, should not practice some teachings more at the expense of others. Hence, doing everything in the right manner with consistency is the key. However, many extensively practice meditation a part of Buddha’s enlightenment tool. This is regardless of if one is a disciple or not. Above all, the seemingly growing is the mindfulness part.
Who Should Key Into Buddhism Philosophies?
The practice of Buddhism and it’s philosophy is not a forceful thing. Therefore, anybody who wishes to key into the philosophy should answer the question, if it is right for him. Although, one can keep a Buddhist philosophy article handy. It helps one understand what the philosophy is all about. And, if it is in synchrony with what you want.
The Buddha also advised that we test and see the teachings for ourselves. And, not to digest everything hook, line, and sinker. In general, take whoever wants to practice Buddhism philosophy can do it.
The Buddha began teaching his insights when he knew that no matter what, people who seek to understand what he teaches will definitely understand.
What Does Buddhist Philosophy Say About Other Religions?
Buddhism teachings on other religions include live and let live. Thereby, the Buddha never projected non-participation in the religion as a do or die thing. Buddhism believes in peaceful co-existence with other religions. Most importantly, let everybody teach what they believe. And, whomever it appeals to will definitely key into it.
Does the Buddhist Philosophy Recognize God?
Buddhism philosophy does not recognize the existence of a supreme being, who acquits and punishes. Thus, in Buddhism, Nirvana is the ultimate goal and Karma punishes.
In addition, the statue of the Buddha in Buddhist shrines does not depict a god to be worshipped. Instead, it symbolizes compassion and what disciples look at to internalize and reflect on the bigger picture. Noteworthy, the gods in the six realms are equally not meant for worship. A being can transcend into the god’s realm, with better karmic effect.
The Difference Between Buddhist Philosophy and the Religion
I advise beginners not to separate the philosophy from religion. Most especially, if it comes with the right practice. In other words, if one practices rightly what the philosophy contains, he/she is already a true disciple of the religion.
Buddhism Philosophy Quotes
” Silence the angry man with love, Silence the ill-natured man with kindness, Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth”(Buddha, Dhammapada verse 223).
This is originally from the words of the mouth of Siddhartha Gautama himself. In general, this lays emphasis on love, compassion, charity, and truth. Moreover, this is from us to others and even to ourselves. Also, it is regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
”If scientific analyses were conclusively to demonstrate that certain claims in Buddhism are false we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims”. (H.H. Dalai Lama XIV).
This is originally from the Mahayana Buddhism sect. Certainly, Dalai Lama is the head of a popular school of thought in Mahayana sect. This school of thought is Tibetan Buddhism. And, the quote has to do with Buddha’s philosophy being in synchrony with scientific findings. Thus, scientific analysis is in essence tested and trusted. It equally sheds light on the nature of the universe existence.
Some Key Terms In Buddhism Philosophy
- Dharma: This is a collection of Buddhism teachings.
- Dukkha: suffering.
- Samudaya: cause of suffering.
- Nirohdha: an end to suffering.
- Magga: Ending suffering through the Noble Eightfold Path.
- Panna: wisdom.
- Sila: virtues and morals.
- Samadhi: focus and meditation.
- Karma: retributive Justice.
- Anatman: This means no-self.
- Nirvana: absolute enlightenment.
- Samsara: opposite of Nirvana.
- Skandha: The only thing consistent in a person. This includes Ego, feelings, matter, mental formations, and consciousness.
- Dana: charity.
Buddhism Philosophy’s Take On World Peace
We can attain World peace if we individually achieve peace within us. Hence, the cause of wars is negative emotions. We can live in harmony if we truly abandon these emotions. And, in place, let Love and compassion seed in us.
The Spread of the Philosophy
The teachings from India first of all spread to other Asian countries. As a result, the countries it touched first includes China, Tibet, Sri-lanka, Japan, Myanmar, and others. Presently, it is growing in the Western world. Of course, the philosophy of Buddhism is traveling the world around.
Who Should Teach Buddhist Philosophy?
It takes one with deeper understanding. Most importantly, one who has come to test what it contains and understood Buddha’s point of view. Presently, there are a lot of teachers. I advise that beginners or those who wish for a deeper experience to join any of the schools of thought. Thereafter, get close to any of their teachers. Above all, always try to find out things for yourself.
Buddhism philosophy is as old as time itself. Of course, it has come a long way. Born of Buddha’s curiosity and mindfulness of his existence.
It centers more on the right attributes and living to gain enlightenment. As a result, it abhors the wrong living. Thus, the Buddha admonished those seeking to practice to test for themselves and see the outcome. Most noteworthy, these ideas should not distract one’s mind from the bigger picture – NIRVANA.