Buddhism · Core Beliefs

Core Beliefs in Buddhism

Buddhism is a religion practiced by an estimated 488 million in the world, representing 9% to 10% of the world’s total population. Buddhism as a philosophy exists across many cultures, time periods, and with varying teachings and practices. Despite the differences among Buddhist traditions, they share a common set of core beliefs.

In Buddhism, the primary purpose of life is to end suffering. The Buddha teachings emphasize that humans suffer because we continually strive for things that do not give lasting happiness. Buddhism teaches the importance of recognizing the impermanence of all things and freeing oneself from attachment to them. This will lessen suffering and eventually end the cycle of rebirth.

Reincarnation

One of the core beliefs in Buddhism is often referred to as reincarnation. Reincarnation is the concept that people are reborn after dying. The concepts of rebirth and reincarnation are different. In reincarnation, the individual may recur repeatedly. In rebirth, a person does not necessarily return to Earth as the same entity ever again.

Karma

Buddhism teaches the belief in karma. Karma means that all actions have consequences in an interconnected world. The consequences of acts undertaken in this and earlier lifetimes will be felt in a next one during reincarnation. It is a Buddhist aim to educate oneself and meditate in order to escape from this cycle of rebirth and to enter Nirvana.

core beliefs in buddhism

Mediation

Another core belief in all Buddhist groups is the importance of meditation. Meditation is the key. Without calming our mind, and examining our mind’s nature and its beliefs, we can never reach enlightenment.

The teachings of Buddha are expressed most briefly in the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts, which together form the foundation of belief for all branches of Buddhism.

The Four Noble Truths

  1. All of life is marked by suffering.
  2. Suffering is caused by desire and attachment.
  3. Suffering can be stopped.
  4. The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path

According to the fourth Noble Truth, one can permanently escape suffering by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

  1. Right View/Understanding

See things as they truly are without delusions or distortions for all things change. Develop wisdom by knowing how things work, knowing oneself and others.

  1. Right Thinking

Decide to set a life on the correct path. Wholehearted resolution and dedication to overcoming the dislocation of self-centered craving through the development of loving-kindness, empathy, and compassion.

  1. Right Speech

Abstinence from lies and deceptions, backbiting, idle babble and abusive speech. Cultivate honesty and truthfulness; practice speech that is kind and benevolent. Let your words reflect your desire to help, not harm others.

  1. Right Conduct

Practice self-less conduct that reflects the highest state of the life you want to live. Express conduct that is peaceful, honest and pure showing compassion for all beings.

  1. Right Livelihood

Earn a living that does not harm living things. Avoidance of work that causes suffering to others or that makes a decent, virtuous life impossible. Do not engage in any occupation that opposes or distracts one from the path. Love and serve our world through your work.

  1. Right Effort

Seek to make the balance between the exertion of following the spiritual path and a moderate life that is not over-zealous. Work to develop more wholesome mind states, while gently striving to go deeper and live more fully.

  1. Right Mindfulness

Become intensely aware of all the states in the body, feeling, and mind. Through constant vigilance in thought, speech and action seek to rid the mind of self-centered thoughts that separate and replace them with those that bind all beings together. Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, body, and world as they exist in the present moment. Your thoughts create your reality.

  1. Right Concentration

Deep meditation to lead to a higher state of consciousness (enlightenment). Through the application of meditation and mental discipline seek to extinguish the last flame of grasping consciousness and develop an emptiness that has room to embrace and love all things.

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The Five Precepts

The Five Precepts are basic ethical guidelines for the followers of Buddhism. They are undertaken voluntarily, rather than as commandments from a god.

  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicants.
Buddhism · Buddhist

The Four Holy Places in Buddhism

Buddhism is about teaching the beliefs, practices, and tradition based on the teachings left by Gautama Buddha. It is a spiritual tradition that focuses on the personal and spiritual development of a person, as well as the attainment of Nirvana state which is a state of enlightenment. Nirvana state is when a person’s individual desires and suffering go away. It is a place of perfect peace and happiness which provides deep insight into the true nature of life.

The pilgrimage is a concept that is developed by devotees and not prophets. According to his teachings, Buddha chose four spots for his followers to visit in future pilgrimages. These four spots are the locations of his birth, enlightenment, first sermon and his death. Members of the Buddhist faith recognize four holy places on earth and hold them dear to their hearts. Although it is not prescribed, many Buddhists make a pilgrimage to the 4 holiest sites.

The four holy places refer to those destinations that have been witness to some important event in the life of Lord Buddha. The most important Buddhist Holy Pilgrimages are Lumbini, Sarnath, Kushinagar and Bodh Gaya.

Lumbini (The Birthplace of Lord Buddha)

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Lumbini is the Birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is located in the Southern region of Nepal. Lord Buddha was born from Queen Maya Devi in 623 BCE as Siddhartha Gautama. He was born as the son of the chieftain of the Sakya clan. On his birth, the astrologers had predicted that there were chances that the prince would abandon everything and pursue a path of his own. He spent most of his childhood in Lumbini in luxury and comfort without any trace of knowledge about pain, suffering, aging, and death. The day came when Siddharta came face to face with the miseries which served as the turning point in his life. He then discarded worldly pleasures and set out in search of the truth of life. Today, some of the popular places to visit in Lumbini are Maya Devi Temple, Kapilvastu, Devdaha, Ashoka pillar and Tibetan Temple.

Bodh Gaya (The Enlightenment of Buddha)

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Bodh Gaya is one of the four holy places and is the spot where Buddha attained ultimate enlightenment. After leaving his birthplace, Lord Buddha attained “Enlightenment” under a pipal tree. That pipal tree is known as Bodhi tree. It was said that Siddartha, seeking true spiritual awareness, took a seat beneath the pipal tree and vowed not to move until enlightenment had been attained. While in deep meditation, he did spiritual battle with Mara, the Lord of Illusion. Siddhartha prevailed, and the Buddha was born. Bodh Gaya was the key pilgrimage site where Buddhism started. Thousands of visitors, pilgrims, and Buddhist followers visit this holy site located in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. Bodh Gaya is famous for Mahabodhi temple, bodhi tree, and various ancient Buddhist culture.

Sarnath (First Teaching)

Sarnath

Sarnath is located in the north east of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. This place is the 3rd of the four holy places where the Buddha met His five disciples and delivered His first sermon at Deer Park in Sarnath.  Sarnath is the place where he taught about Dharma.  From here started a remarkable journey which not only elevated the Buddha’s status but also laid down the foundation of one of the greatest religions of the world, Buddhism. Lord Buddha also preached about the Four Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path, and various Suttas. The Four Noble Truths are: there is Suffering, Cause of Suffering, End of Suffering, and Eightfold Path to end the suffering. The Noble Eight-Fold Path consists of the Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

Kushinara (Death of Lord Buddha)

Kushinara

Kushinara is also in Uttar Pradesh, India. The Buddha preached for the next 45 years and finally died at Kushinara. Buddha’s death is known as the Mahaparinirvana or “the great passing away.” Today, it is the site of the Mahaparinirvana Temple, which was built by the Indian government in 1956 to commemorate 2,500 years since the Buddha’s passing. Inside the temple is a statue more than 6 feet long of the Buddha lying on his side on a stone couch also known as the Reclining Buddha.

These four holy places stand as the pillars of a Buddhist life. A Buddhist pilgrimage would not be complete without going to these four holy places.

Buddhism · Buddhist · Buddhist Monks · Kung-Fu

Do Buddhist Monks Know Kung-Fu?

Buddhism has gained a lot of followers over the past decades. More and more people are attracted to this religion which seems to have the key to happiness. Westerners, born in totally different cultures feel they have to embrace this new lifestyle, as they seek for peace and love. Instead, the society gives them to war and an endless fight to be the best, to survive in the urban jungle, and to bring home enough money to feed their families. All these people take the philosophy of Buddhism and adapt it to suit their needs and their personal lifestyle. They can’t give up all their properties just yet because they don’t know how to live without their comfort and their material possessions.

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However, there’s another side of Buddhism, the one that can’t be seen in the western civilization. There are people who are so committed to bringing peace in their souls, that they accept to leave everything behind them to become Buddhist monks. They live in monasteries, they prey and they preach Buddha‘s teachings to others. They are the ones who have manages to make peace with their inner self, the ones who live without envy, greed, anxiety and anger. They are simply happy, and their biggest wish is to help to spread happiness all over the world. Some of them have become monks after living a life of luxury and parties, just like Buddha himself. Others have embraced this religion during their childhood. Whatever their walk of life, they are all trained to be kind rather than to be right.

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Under these circumstances, it would be interesting to know if Buddhist monks know kung-fu. In order to elucidate this enigma, you have to go back in time to the era of Shaolin monks. You may discover amazing facts that lead to the point that Shaolin monks had lots of Buddhist philosophy elements in their code of conduct and lifestyle. As they were also great in martial arts, it wouldn’t be surprising to discover they actually practiced and taught kung-fu in their temples and monasteries.

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A monastery may seem to be a holy and peaceful place. While this is true, it is also true that monks have to know how to defend themselves and their assets in case of trouble. They need to be able to survive in a tough world, full of criminals of all sorts. If these monks didn’t have any weapons or fighting skills, they wouldn’t have lasted for so long. As martial arts were widespread across China and the extreme orient, we can safely assume monks of all ages and religions had the ability to fight. However, they were only using these skills for defense purposes, as they weren’t interested in leading holy wars like the adepts of other religions in the history of humanity. On the other hand, they couldn’t afford to allow their monasteries to become easy targets for burglars and vandals. They needed some effective weapons and fighting tactics. As kung-fu is one of the martial arts that best fit this profile, it wouldn’t be surprising to discover that Buddhist monks were among the best fighters. Even though they want peace, they also want to be left alone to live their life as they wish, without anxiety or fear. When you can’t defend yourself and your shelter, it’s very hard to leave anxiety behind you. Only strong people are able to be calm and serene no matter what. These monks are so calm and peaceful that they surely know the secret kung-fu techniques of their ancestors. If you don’t believe it, go read some history books, and see for yourself.

Buddhism · Buddhist

How To Gain A Better Understanding Of What Is Buddhism

While many people believe Buddhism is just another religion, there are some who swear by it to be a lot more than a simple set of beliefs and rituals meant to worship a god. Nobody can actually know why Buddhism seems to be more a life purpose rather than a religion, but those who are interested to discover it should consider taking some in-depth studies.

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Over the past decade, Buddhism has gained quite a big number of adepts in western countries. This may seem unusual, but in fact, it is nothing else but the consequence of a hectic lifestyle that leaves very little room for personal reflections and meditation. People feel the need to know their inner self better, but most of the fail to find the time to sit, relax and meditate to all things that really matter. They don’t know what matters anymore. They are confused and puzzled by the difficulties of life, by all financial problems they have to overcome each and very month and by the lack of compassion people around them display.

All these people hope to find answers to their most difficult life questions. As these answers are very hard to find, they try to make use of whatever seems to be working well for others. Buddhism appears to be working just fine for its adepts in the oriental world, so there’s no wonder all the rest of us want to feel enlightened just like our Easters friends.

Unfortunately, modern materialistic societies and the doctrine of Buddhism don’t have too much in common. Very few of us are ready to give up their material possessions and try to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind. Since we need money to maintain our current lifestyle, we can’t afford to meditate and to enjoy life to the full. We are too busy to earn more, to climb the social ladder and to strengthen our position in our communities. We need this money because we want our children to have the highest quality education possible, and that’s not free. We need money to buy the comfort that enables us to be creative and to do more of the things we like. Unfortunately, this money madness takes over our life, preventing us from doing what we really love.

As a matter of fact, Buddhism has started after Buddha spent the first part of his life in wealth and luxury. Born into a royal family, he had to reach the age of 29 to realize that luxury and comfort don’t guarantee happiness. During six years, he studies various teachings and philosophies of different religions, and he came to the conclusion that there was a path to the enlightenment, but that didn’t consist of accumulating wealth. Since then, he spent the rest of his life trying to show others the way to happiness.

It appears Buddha was right. We are all able to reach a state of happiness by developing love and peace within ourselves. True Buddhism is tolerant of all other religions and beliefs. As a matter of fact, there are multiple branches of Buddhism, as it has been understood and implemented differently in various parts of the world. This makes this religion and this way of living unique and glorious. If you want to understand it better, you should try yo find yourself a Buddhist mentor and follow his teachings. Spending time in Buddhist communities can also help you find your personal path to enlightenment and happiness. If all people would do like you, this could be the end of all wars on our planet.

Best Meditation Retreats · Buddhist · Meditation Retreats

The Best Meditation Retreats

Retreats are a great way to initiate a personal exploration of Buddhism and also on yourself. There are thousands of Buddhist Monasteries and dharma centers that have sprung up in the west and offer many kinds of retreats for Buddhist. There are workshop retreats that focus on Zen art such as Kung fu, retreats for silent meditation and families retreats. Below are 5 of the world best Buddhism retreats.

Spirit rock, California

130624151200-med-retreat-spirit-rock-horizontal-large-galleryThe meditation center is in Marin county. Native Americans used this land to perform spiritual rites. The center hosts a full program of a day long and residential retreats that are held throughout the year, run as long as two months as well as the classes that explore the themes of meditation and its relation to life in modern society. People go for the healing of the heart or healing of the body. Others may go when they are in life transition and need to listen deeply to what is the next thing that is asked of them or even how to deal with some changes in their lives. When people walk in nature they get to listen to their own breath and their feelings and through this they grow a sense of stillness and clarity. The guests normally look 10 years younger after a week of retreat in Spirit Rock.

Retreat centre, Kwazulu, South Africa

3691662690_5c27b2a085_b_960_472_80auto_s_c1_center_bottomThe centre is just 90 minutes drive from Durban. It is located in Lxopo. The former president Nelson Mandera awarded the center, National heritage status because of using environmental friendly approach to using indigenous plants and helped to save the endangered species of Blue swallow. The centre is perched a top ridge overlooking indigenous valleys, rolling hills and forest. People of all types go to this retreat center to experience peace and tranquility. This place offers a gentle and sympathy to ensure that you are still and you get in touch with oneself. People who enjoy solitude and want to escape from the modern world, this Buddhist centre is the place to visit.

Kalyana centre for mindfulness, Ireland

shutterstock_140669782The centre for mindfulness is located Dingle Peninsula. The classes and retreats are based on mindfulness meditation and stress reduction. They usually intergrateNye and Tibetan healing yoga. The longer treats are residential and you spend mostly in silence. The meditation includes lying down, walking, and sitting. They also practice loving kindness as well as compassion practise in some of the retreats.

Londolozi, South Africa

Londolozi Yoga

Londolozi is a private game reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park region of South Africa. It is a luxury hotel renowned around the world for it’s spiritual connection to nature. Londolozi offers a number of spiritual activities during their guests’ stays, including yoga practise and meditation.

Middle way meditation, Thailandmiddleway1

The centre is surrounded by lush tropical forest and rolling green hills in the northeastern. The practice is centered around Dhammakaya which focus on the centre of the body to have consciousness. It has outdoor and indoor meditation space, outdoor dining. In the centre, guests are required to avoid any destructive behaviour, for example, killing a mosquito.

Osho meditation, India

osho-meditation-resortHere many people reconnect with themselves as a part of meaningful life. The resort includes extensive Zen gardens, meditation auditorium and seminar place. They focus on active meditation. Following Osho beliefs., guest are required to wear dark red robes.

Book One Of These Retreats With Iconic Africa.

Africa · Best Buddhist Retreats In Africa · Buddhist · Buddhist In Africa · Buddhist Retreats In Africa

Best Buddhist Retreats In Africa

For those who believe, Buddhism and its practices offer a wide range of ways to grow as a person, in this and future lifetimes. Though these principles originated in the Indian subcontinent, a growing number of Buddhists are finding the equally ancient and diverse lands of the African continent to be quite conducive to their spiritual growth. Here are the 5 best Buddhist retreats in Africa.

Emoyeni

emoyeni-conference-centreBuilt in North West Province, about 100 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, Emoyeni is a Buddhist retreat in South Africa that is a registered non-profit organization that is built into the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg mountains. Built around Buddhist principles and meditation techniques, the retreat offers a wide range of options for people seeking to refresh their spirits. They welcome all people, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike, to their retreat, which is built around the idea of creating an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The retreat is free from distractions such as televisions and video games, and there is a deep preference for functionality over luxury at Emoyeni. A retreat package there can accommodate up to 14 guests and comes with three lactovegetarian meals, as well as fresh linens. People can stay for a wide range of times, be it a day, a weekend or a longer stay for those who wish to truly take the pressure off.

Bodhi Khaya

img_9515Built inside the Baviaans Fonteyn Farm area, the present owner of the area, Georgina Hamilton, has converted the old buildings and landscapes into a sanctuary for those who wish to experience spiritual renewal on the Cape. Likewise intended to run on Buddhist principles, these principles suffuse the retreat’s business principles. They work to honor Buddhist principles of non-harmfulness, offering vegetarian food to all catered retreat packages. They provide fresh mountain spring water that is safe to drink and handcrafted gifts such as all natural incense and cosmetics. Though mobile phone reception and limited wireless internet are available, the area is otherwise free of modern distractions. During retreat periods, however, Bodhi Khaya generally can not accommodate children on the premises. Additionally, they can not accommodate pets and be feeding the local baboons is against the retreat’s policies as these animals are best left in peace.

Dharmagiri

home_bannerAnother mountain retreat, Dharmagiri is built near the uKhahlamba mountains (also known as the Drakensberg mountains in Afrikaans), this retreat offers not only a Buddhist spiritual retreat but a connection to the land itself through the use of ancient rock paintings of the San people that date back upwards of 40,000 years, an area inhabited by human beings longer than even the Himalayas Prince Siddhartha first shared his doctrine on. A non-profit charitable organization (Section 21), Dharmagiri (“Sacred mountain” in Sanskrit) exists to support the study and practice of the core principles of Buddhism, as well as supporting interfaith efforts at education and conversation. They offer a number of retreats at different times of the year, and retreats begin around supper time (roughly 5 PM) on the starting day and end around noon on the end day. Retreats run from a single day to up to six days, though the schedules and subjects of these retreats are liable to change.

Vajrapani Kadampa Buddhist Centre

1462265156-21-vajrapani-kadampa-buddhist-centreLocated in in the suburbs of Johannesburg, the Vajrapani Centre offers a retreat for those who wish to better understand the Buddhist way of life in the suburban world. Offering regular meditation classes and group meditations and prayers for adults and children alike and a beautiful meditation room lined with small shrines, the Centre also offers a wide range of courses and study programs for those who wish to learn about Buddhism, be it as believers or those who are simply curious and open minded about this ancient faith.

The Buddhist Retreat Centre (BRC)

brc_features_10_20121127_1696371070Located in Ixopo in KwaZuku-Natal, this retreat is located in a valley with an entire vista showcasing the natural world of South Africa. A 300-acre property with a wide number of paths through a diversity of sights and other sensations, the BRC has a year-long schedule of retreats for those who need to be refreshed. These retreats cover a range of topics, from combining Buddhism with the arts to training people as Buddhist teachers.