Buddha Shakyamuni, the first enlightened one of our era, having discovered his true nature more than 2500 years ago in India, was not going to preach, believing that no one could understand this teaching.
For sure this fact is puzzling for manyAnd various kinds of questions. But imagine yourself in his place: like a Buddha, you leave your home - a luxurious palace, become a hermit, with only a staff and a bowl for alms, then turn into an ascetic who eats one rice grains a day. And at the same time tirelessly searching for the meaning of life for years. You are a pioneer on this path. There are no tips, no research grants, no books, no assistants ...
Discovering the truth, the Buddha remained silent for 49 days. And it can be understood: to whom and how can you describe this extremely difficult path? Are there really those who will understand and believe that it is possible to get rid of suffering and that their root is exclusively in the human mind?
According to legend, the deities of Indra and BrahmaAppealed to the Buddha with a request to bestow a teaching for the benefit of all beings. And this petition of the gods inspired the Buddha to utter the first sermon in the Deer Grove in Sarnath.
Talk less, work more
One of the disciples of Buddha once asked a teacher,Whether the universe has a beginning and an end. The Buddha replied thus: "Imagine that someone has shot an arrow at you. What will you do, wounded and bleeding? First of all, you must turn to the medicine and remove the arrow from your body. But if you start to talk about who launched this arrow, where it came from and what was the bow loaded with that arrow, then you die sooner than you get the answers. There are many exercises that can be used in practice, but often we waste time in vain, asking unnecessary questions. "
In this parable, one of the most important principlesBuddhist teaching - practice without unnecessary words. However, those who have not yet begun to practice, ask questions, take an interest and study are not only possible, but also necessary.
Three ways, or where to start
• The path of karma. Buddhism is based on the idea of reincarnation. Impulses from past lives, certain karmic prints can push you to some direction. It will naturally be the most understandable, and you will easily find the answers in it.
• The path of intuition. However, if you doubt the very idea of rebirth, you can perceive the choice of method as an intuitive attraction to a particular type of practice.
• The path of knowledge. Those who do not experience anything like this should study the available information and try various methods. And it's best to look at a living example that truly inspires, and decide if you want to be like this person.
Buddha taught various aspects of the spiritual path. Historically, it has happened that one of the traditions - Theravada - was written in Pali and was distributed primarily in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. It focuses on the practice of awareness and the monastic way of life.
Another tradition was originally based on Sanskrit sources and was transferred from central Asia to China, and from there to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. This tradition is known as Mahayana. The Mahayana East Asian Buddhism is divided into two main forms: Zen, Emphasizing the strict meditative practices for a breakthrough to the meaning of reality, and Tradition of Pure Land, Whose followers repeat many timesMantra, thus seeking to be reborn in the next life in the Pure Land, that is, in Paradise. It is believed that there the conditions are most conducive to achieving enlightenment.
Another wave of Mahayana Buddhism, also foundedOn Sanskrit sources, spread from India to Nepal and Tibet, and from there to Bhutan, Mongolia, Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva. This tradition preserves all the achievements of Indian Buddhism and is built on a logical approach to Buddhist teachings, the system of debate, as well as on the tantric practices presented in their entirety and integrity. Tantra Implies the use of imagination and workWith different images of Buddhas with a lot of faces, hands, feet and so on. Also in Tibet, unlike China, came the tantric tradition of working with internal energies, chakras and channels, which are used to achieve the most subtle level of the mind.
All the traditions of Buddhism provide tools for achieving enlightenment, but the Mahayana's distinctive feature is the goal-directed attainment of complete enlightenment for the sake of the good of all living beings.
The very essence
As Buddhism spread throughout the world,The overlapping cultural features that were accumulating in it made it increasingly difficult to understand. Such external attributes as the use of fragrant smoking candles, handbells, colorful headdresses, which are peculiar to theistic religions, attract the attention of people, but at the same time they can become obstacles on the way. Taking all this for Buddhism, people often overlook its essence.
The essence of Buddhism Can be expressed in two sentences, in whichThere are four noble truths revealed to people by the Buddha: "Suffering has a cause. Eliminating the cause, I eliminate suffering. " In other words: try to help others, and if you can not help - at least do not harm. Here you can argue that these principles are applicable to any spiritual path, not only to Buddhism. And yet, Buddhism has one unique feature - following the law of cause and effect.
You can be born in a completely non-BuddhistCountry, in a non-Buddhist family, do not wear special clothes and do not shave your head, eat meat, adore Madonna and not miss a single concert of Depeche Mode. These factors do not mean that you can not be a Buddhist. A true Buddhist recognizes that:
• everything is unstable;
• all emotions are suffering;
• All things have no independent being (that is, they are subject to the law of cause and effect);
• Nirvana is rest.
There is another definition of a Buddhist: He is the one who does everything possible to get out of samsara (the wheel of suffering and rebirth) and achieve the state of Buddha. Its main motivation is to help all living people.
Is Buddhism a religion?
Here it will be useful to bring the definition proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, who divides Buddhism into:
• Buddhist science;
• Buddhist philosophy;
• Buddhist religion.
Buddhist Science Correlated with psychology and addressed to the worldEmotions. It explains how to control negative emotions, how to deal with problems arising in the process of concentration. This aspect of Buddhism is useful to everyone without exception.
Buddhist Philosophy Talks about the nature of reality and is designed to helpPeople overcome the misconceptions about the world order. It is based on logic and can also be useful to everyone. As the Buddhist reasoning develops, one can consider the example of a leisurely statement: "All men are from Mars, and women are from Venus". If the average person agrees with this comparison, then the Buddhist thought will evolve approximately like this: "The statement gives the clue only to some of the already obvious reasons and conditions of the discord, but does not affect many of the hidden factors in the inter-sex relationship."
Buddhist religion Offers various methods for achieving goodReincarnation, liberation from the endlessly arising from life into the life of a circle of problems and, ultimately, gaining enlightenment. This approach to Buddhism is for those who want to follow Buddhism as a religion.
Those who practice Buddhism as a religion, usuallyStudy simultaneously both Buddhist science and philosophy. Those who focus on Buddhist philosophy and science do not necessarily have to profess Buddhist religion.
Who is in charge?
Many mistakenly think that the Buddha is a godBuddhists. Even among those who live in the so-called Buddhist countries - Korea, Japan and Bhutan - there is a similar notion of Buddha and Buddhism. However, the Buddha himself pointed out that one should not honor a man, but the wisdom that he teaches. "Behold the state of enlightenment, but not me," he said.
Unlike Christianity, Judaism and Islam,Buddhism is not based on historical facts. He does not depend on one person or messiah, who once appeared and indicated the path of salvation. Each of us can independently understand the meaning of reality, not relying on any historical facts.
However, Buddhism plays a huge role Spiritual master. Yes, the founder of the teachings beyond any doubtIs considered Siddhartha Gautama, afterwards received the name Buddha Shakyamuni. But at the moment we do not have access to it. Therefore, the disciples need a master who will guide them along the spiritual path. Many will agree that the most highly qualified of the living teachers is His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV.
The concept of hell
In Buddhism it is said that, by inflicting on othersBeings pain and suffering, we thereby create a karmic cause for the occurrence of similar suffering in the future. This is not a punishment, but a mechanical action of the law of cause and effect. You will have to experience what you have created.
The mind can experience different experiences - fromHappiness to severe pain. For example, with regard to sight, hearing or smell, here human abilities are limited: we can not experience the whole range of sensations (after all, a dog hears and smells much more than a person).
The range of sensations is limited by our body. Going to a certain pain threshold, people lose consciousness, that is, the body can not survive too much pain. Thus, under the kingdom of hell in Buddhism is meant a state in which there is a consciousness not limited by the human body and capable of experiencing much greater pain and immense suffering.
The concept of enlightenment
Enlightenment means the end of the circle of incarnations (births and deaths) and a complete realization, in which the most subtle traces of ignorance about the nature of reality are destroyed.
Unfortunately, in words it is difficult to describe enlightenment: Words generate distortions, so there are so many misconceptions about nirvana. With this, nothing can be done. Do not think that somewhere there is only one exact description of enlightenment! This state can be compared with awakening from night dreams. In a dream, the mind is involved in existence in illusion and does not realize it, because the dream seemed so real that the question of its reality simply did not arise. But you woke up and realized that it was just a mirage.
Thank the Buddhist, Doctor of PhilosophyHarvard University Alexander Berzin for help in writing the article. The site www.berzinarchives.com has a large Russian-language section, which contains reliable and objective information about the Buddhist teachings.