Basic beliefs of Buddhism
As the fourth largest religion in the world, Buddhism bases its practices and principles on the virtues of peace, loving kindness and wisdom. With only Christianity, Islam and Hinduism having more followers, Buddhism is a popular religion and is practiced by believers around the globe.
One of the basic beliefs of Buddhism is the conviction that happiness and good fortune are attainable to all, regardless of age, race or background. Buddhists believe that all negative mental states or "delusions" as they are referred to, can be overcome through the practice of meditation. By learning how to meditate, humans can develop peaceful and positive mental states or "virtues", and be able to solve the problems associated with their daily lives.
Reincarnation is another essential component of Buddhism. Buddhists believe that humans are reborn after dying, and adhere to the notion that most humans go through many cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. These cycles will end when the attachment to desire and the self is released. Once this is accomplished, a state of liberation and freedom from suffering is achieved. This is the state of Nirvana and the desired destination for believers of the Buddhist faith.
There are three main trainings, or practices in Buddhism. The first is Sila, which applies to virtue, good conduct and morality. Sila is based on two fundamental principles: the principle of equality and the principle of reciprocation. The first refers to the belief that all living things are equal, no one form should be considered above another. The second can be likened to the "Golden Rule" of Christianity, which refers to the practice of treating others as you would like to be treated. The second main training in Buddhism is Samadhi, which refers to concentration, meditation and mental development. Buddhists believe that developing the mind is the true path to wisdom; this in turn leads to personal freedom. The third main practice associated with Buddhism is Prajna, which concerns itself with discernment, insight, wisdom and enlightenment.
Faith in the Five Precepts is of utmost important amongst the basic beliefs of Buddhism. These precepts are similar to the Ten Commandments found in Christianity. They are:
1. Do not kill, be kind to all creatures 2. Do not steal, give rather than take 3. Do not lie, be honest and open 4. Do not misuse sex 5. Do not consume alcohol or use recreational drugs.
The basic beliefs of Buddhism also include "The Four Noble Truths", which explore human suffering. The first truth is called Dukkha and it says that suffering exists and is universal. The second truth is referred to as Samudaya. This truth states that there is a cause for suffering. Nirodha, the third truth, states that there is an end to suffering and it ceases when one reaches the state of Nirvana. The fourth and final noble truth is Magga, which says that in order to end suffering you must follow the Eightfold Path.
The Buddha's Eightfold Path is one of the most important basic beliefs of Buddhism. The first part begins with Panna, or discernment and wisdom. Included in Panna is Samma Ditthi, the understanding of the Four Noble Truths and Samma Sankappa, which refers to following the right path in life through correct thinking. The next section is called Sila, the practice of virtue and morality and includes the next six paths. Samma Vaca, the practice of right speech; no lying, criticism, condemning, gossiping or harsh language is acceptable. Samma Kammanta, the practice of right conduct, which is attained by following the Five Precepts. Samma Ajiva, the right livelihood. Support yourself without harming others. Samma Vayama, the right effort. Try to have good thoughts and dissuade evil ones. Samma Sati refers to right mindfulness. Become aware of your mind, your feelings and your body. Samma Samadhi, correct concentration. Meditate to achieve a higher state of consciousness.
By following the basic beliefs of Buddhism and adhering to its practices and principles, it is believed that true peace, wisdom and personal freedom can be achieved by all of humankind.