Monday, May 22, 2006

Buddhism one-on-o.. well all

Basic Buddhist Teachings

Buddha's most basic teaching of Dharma is known as the "Four Noble Truths," the four facts seen as true by highly realized beings. He saw that everyone faces (1) true problems. Although there are many joys to be had, there is no denying that life is difficult. Sickness, old age and death in oneself and one's loved ones, frustrations in life, disappointments in one's relations with others and so on are difficult enough. But people make these situations even more painful because of their attitudes based on confusion.

(2) The true cause of problems is lack of awareness or ignorance of reality. For example, all people think that they are the center of the universe. When, as a small child, they close their eyes, it appears as though everyone else ceases to exist. Because of this deceptive appearance, they feel that they are the only one who is important and that they must always have their own way. As a result of such a self-centered, self-important attitude, they create arguments, fights and even wars. But if it were true that they were the center of the universe, then everyone should agree. No one, however, would agree, because everyone else feels that he or she is the center of the universe. They cannot all be right.

It is possible, however, to achieve (3) true stoppings of all problems so that one will never experience unhappiness again. This will happen if one adopts (4) a true pathway of mind with which one understands reality. In other words, if one gains full realization of the fact that everyone is interconnected and interdependent, and that no one is the center of the universe, then it will be possible for people to find the solutions to their problems so that they can live together in peace and harmony. The basic approach in Buddhism, then, is scientific and rational. To eliminate problems, one must identify and remove their causes. Everything follows the laws of cause and effect.

Originally published as part of
Berzin, Alexander. Buddhism and Its Impact on Asia. Asian Monographs, no. 8.
Cairo: Cairo University, Center for Asian Studies, June 1996.


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