Thursday, August 2, 2007

Teachings of Buddha – a brief Outline

Among the world religions Buddhism occupies a special place with around 350 million followers worldwide. As a matter of fact it is the fourth largest religion in the world. Buddhism derived from the word “Buddha Dharma” is not only a simple religion but it also extends to the entire philosophy, psychology and existence of its followers.

The Buddhist belief system lies on the spiritual enlightenment of its followers through a process of religious practices, spiritual cultivation, and meditation. This process awakens the mind and thus the person will become a Buddha like the original founder of this religion Guatam Buddha. Study of his teachings, moral life, and practice of virtuosity and through purification of the mind followers of this religion can attain enlightenment or what people say popularly as “bodhi”.

Among the teachings of Buddha the most popular and important are the Four Noble Truths and the Night Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths are regarded as the first statements of Gautam Buddha after his enlightenment. These Four truths are very fundamental to Buddha's Teachings and regarded as the very central theme of the experience of Enlightenment. These truth is said to be insightful and in fact a properly planned cognitive methodology. It is not only a simple theological perspective but have much more meaning and significance than that.

The Four Noble Truths according to the Macmillian Encyclopedia of Buddhism are “suffering; arising of suffering; end of suffering and the way that leads to the end of suffering”. There is also an another interpretation of this noble truths given by authorities studying about Buddhist Teachings. They say that the Four Noble Truths are not suffering but actually interpretations or statements about suffering. They regard the following as the Four Noble Truths – Firstly, that there is suffering; Secondly that there is a certain cause of suffering which is Craving; Thirdly that there is an end or cessation of suffering called Nirvana and Finally there is certainly a way that leads to the end of suffering which is called the Noble Eightfold Path.

After this the next Important Teaching of Buddha is the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path as indicated earlier is a part of the Four Nobe Truths. These Path means the ways by which the followers of Buddhism can attain cessation or end of their sufferings. People often debate whether the Noble Eightfold Path should be followed in a certain sequence or can be practiced as one wishes. But you should remember that regardless of which oath you choose your main aim should be attainment of Enlightenment or “Boddhi”

The Noble Eightfold Path are - Right Speech, Right Actions, Right Livelihood, Right Effort or Exercise, Right Mindfulness or Awareness, Right Concentration or Meditation, Right Understanding and finally Right Thoughts.