Monday, December 28, 2015

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

Have you ever wandered around the famous Buddhist cities such as Bagan in Burma, Bangkok in Thailand, Lalitpur in Nepal? If you have visited these cities then, these cities are known for their beautiful and most creative artifacts of Buddha statues, Buddha images, statues related with other popular Buddhist figures. Most of you have seen the statues with number of hands like it seems thousand hands. That particular statue is the statue of famous Bodhisattva known as Avalokiteshvara. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is known for the thousand hands Bodhisattva in order to provide the helping hands  to all the prayers who are suffering due to ignorance, greed etc and suffering in these difficult life. There are hundreds of thousands of beautiful statues of Avalokiteshvara all over the Buddhist countries especially eastern Asian countries due the relation of Avalokiteshvara with Amitabha Buddha.

Introduction of Avalokiteshvara


Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is known as the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion and is considered as the iconic figure of Bodhisattva in all Buddhist history. Mahayana Buddhism have number of Buddhist schools in all over the world. And all these Buddhist schools considered Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara as the ideal Karuna or simply compassion. It is even said that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was the earthly manifestation of the ruler of Pure Land or Sukhvati i.e. Amitabha Buddha. And Amitabha Buddha is representation of mercy as well as wisdom.

The name Avalokiteshvara means "The One Who Hears the Cries of the World" and "The Lord Who Looks in All Direction" and is believed to appear wherever and anywhere when someone is in danger and distress and someone called for Avalokiteshvara name. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara had made vow to help all the sentient beings in times of great danger and distress and postpone his Buddhahood.

Avalokiteshvara as Thousand Hand Bodhisattva


Among all the Buddha statues and Buddha images, the statue of thousand hand Avalokiteshvara is very popular and there is a very interesting tale behind Avalokiteshvara thousands of hands.

See Statues of Avalokiteshvara: Click Here.

After taking vow to postpone his own Buddhahood in order to help all sentient beings in danger, sufferings, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara also took one other vow.

"Should He ever become disheartened in saving sentient beings, may his body shatter into thousand pieces."


But despite Avalokiteshvara great effort to help sentient beings in needs, he was unable to help countless life of sentient beings. Being unable to fulfill his vow, his heads shattered in to 11 pieces and his hands also shattered in number of pieces.

But Amitabha Buddha seeing his great effort gave Avalokiteshvara a new form with thousand hands of Compassion and eye of Wisdom in each hand and thousand heads to hear the cries of all sentient Beings. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nirvana

Nirvana, one of the most important terms in Buddhism as well in various Asian religions, holds quite various as well as different meanings in those religions. Every Buddhist monks and followers studied the Buddhateachings and practice various techniques in order to truly achieve the highest goal of Buddhism.

"Nirvana cannot be imagined rather feel through inner self instead of speculating the Nirvana." – Lord Buddha

In general, Nirvana is also known as Nibbana in Buddhism and is considered as the highest goal one have to attained. The Buddhism started after Lord Buddha attained Nirvana in BodhGaya in India after six years of meditation. Rather than talking about how lord Buddha achieve Nirvana, let's discuss about true meaning of Nirvana in Buddhism as well as in various Buddhist tradition.


Various Buddhist tradition believes and agreed that Nirvana is not any sort of place but it is the state of mind where one attained unlimited amount of knowledge as well as wisdom about the universe, space and life as well as death, rebirth in various realms.
As mentioned above, Nirvana is the final stage in Buddhism which can only be achieved after learning and understanding the true meaning of Noble Four Truths. And Noble Four Truths can only be truly understood after learning Middle Way or popularly known as Noble Eightfold Paths.

Read More: What is Middle Way

Nirvana is considered as the liberation from the concept of samsara or cycle of Life and death. One can only be liberate from samsara through understanding and letting go of fear, ignorance, greediness. There are many theories that one can only liberate from cycle of samsara after being reborn as a man. But all the sutras of Buddhism and lord Buddha never mentioned of such condition.

Concept of Nirvana in Mahayana Buddhism


In Mahayana Buddhism, Buddhist monks learn and meditate in order to achieve the Bodhisattvas vows they made i.e. to help all sentient beings to be free from the pain and suffering. Even though Nirvana is the highest goal in Mahayana Buddhism, the monks focuses more on the Bodhisattvas vows because it is believed that individual Nirvana is nonsensical.

Concept of Nirvana in Theravada Buddhism



The Therevadins monks usually use Pali word i.e. Nibbana. In Theravada Buddhism, Nibbana can be categorized in two different words i.e. Nibbana and Parinibbana. Nibbana means a living enlightened beings or Arahant. Arahant are the beings who have true conscious of pleasure, pain and suffering and these beings are not bound by these pains and suffering. Parinibbana means to enter the death. Lord Buddha said that Parinibbana is the end but the true beginning of knowledge and wisdom. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Trikaya in Buddhism - Three Bodies of Lord Buddha

Trikaya, also known as the Three bodies of Lord Buddha is believed to be the three manifestations of Lord Buddha. Trikaya Doctrine that existed in Mahayana Buddhism even mentioned the three different ways of Lord Buddha's manifestation. It is believed that the True nature of Lord Buddha can be understood through understanding the Trikaya doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism. The Trikaya Doctrine also teaches us about the nature of Buddhahood as well as true reality.
According to Trikaya Doctrine, Trikaya mentioned that Lord Buddha has three kayas or bodies. They are:
  1. The Dharmakaya
  2. The Sambhogakaya
  3. The Nirmanakaya

In Mahayana Buddhism, these three kayas are heard quite number of time. The Trikaya doctrine also teaches us about the meaning of the existence i.e. Absolute existence & relative existence.

The Three Bodies of Lord Buddha


As mentioned above, the three Kayas that are mentioned in Trikaya are Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya. Let's see a detailed information on these three kayas.

The Dharmakaya

The Dharmakaya is translated as the "Truth Body". It symbolizes unity of all sentient beings as well as things that existed in the human realms. It is also the unity of all unmanifested phenomena thus Dharmakaya is regarded as the absolute existence. The Dharmakaya is regarded as the special place for all those who attained buddhahood, but it is regarded as the fundamental of all sentient beings and doesn't compare between Buddhas and normal sentient beings.

Sambhogakaya

Sambhogakaya is also translated as the "Bliss body" and also known as the "reward body". It is believed that Sambhogakaya also known as Bliss body is the kaya that shows the feelings of the bliss that represents the Enlightenment. It symbolizes the Buddha as a bliss object of devotions. It is also said that many Buddhist tradition introduce various Buddha statues that are depicted as Sambhogakaya in order to represent these Buddha images as object of devotion to Nirvana. It is also said that various Buddhas of same realms as well as different realms who reign over the Pure Lands such Amida Buddha are considered as Sambhogakaya Buddhas.

Nirmanakaya


Nirmanakaya is mostly translated as the body of emanation. Nirmanakaya can be considered as the mortal body that is born in the earth, walks the earth and dies in the earth as well. Shakyamuni Buddha is the most relevant example of Nirmanakaya, who took birth in land of Shakya, walks the earth teachings theBuddha's principle, and dies in the land of earth. But Shakyamuni Buddha also represents the Sambhogakaya as well as Dharmakaya. It is believed that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas took the form of Nirmanakaya in order to help all the sentient beings to be free from the cycle of life. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Top Twelve Life Lessons Taught by Buddhism

"Peace Comes From Within
Do Not Seek It Without" – Lord Buddha
Buddhism, one of the most popular religion in the world and is known all over the world for peaceful religion. There are numerous things that we can learn from the Buddhism especially important life lessons. Here are the top twelve important Life lessons one must learn from Buddhism.
  1. Always Start from SmallOne must always start from small things and just give up gaining the big things at the start. And there is nothing to be regretful for starting small because it is okay to start from small.
    "Drop by Drop is the water pot filled" – Buddha
    A wise man always gathers little by little and fills himself with goods. It can be found in the verse 122 of the Dhammapada.
  2. Forgiveness"The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person." – Buddha.
    Forgiveness has always been one of the important teachings taught by Buddha and Buddhism in the present world. One has to forgive oneself in their mind before starting to forgive others.
  3. Show Kindness to all"He who receives kindness should never forget it.
    But he who performs it should never remember it."From what we learn from Buddhism is that one should be always kind to others and should never expect anything in return. But if we receive kindness from others we should never forget those kindness in the life and should be influenced to show kindness to others.
  4. Always seek to fully understand"In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves."
    Whenever anger is going to overtake you, let yourself control the anger and try to seek others perspectives and understand them and then you can find peace within yourself.
  5. Try to let go of your fear" The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed."Letting go of fear is one of the important lessons one must learn from Buddhism. Let go of all fear that keeps you on bay from choosing the truth.
  6. Conquer Yourself"To conquer oneself is greater task than conquering others."
    It may seems that if conquering thousands of people is greater task then you are mistaken. One must conquer oneself and trust it, it is far greater success than conquering others.
  7. Control your mind or Else"Since everything is reflection of our minds,
    Everything can be changed by our minds."
    Mind is an important part of us, human beings and mind is very powerful. One must control one's mind and through controlling one's mind, one can change everything i.e. their perspective, their thinking etc. Right Mind is very important in one's life and in Buddhism too.
  8. Always Live in Peace"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without."
  9. Admire One's Success "Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself"
    Never become jealous of others success, good qualities. Rather than being jealous, you should admire others and try to achieve those qualities and success walking in a true path.
  10. Let go of all Attachment"The Root of suffering is attachment."The above quote is the universal truths in Buddhism. The root of suffering, pain, is attachment. One should let go of all the attachment in order to throw the root of all suffering.
  11. Accept Failure"The only failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows."
    One should always accept their failure then they can truly find inner peace. If one is unable to see their failure then they will truly fail in their lives also.
  12. Look for Peace Within yourself"Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions"Always live in peace and the moment you find inner peace and you can control your mind, your action, your emotions, your attachment.



Friday, November 27, 2015

First Sermon of Lord Buddha

Even after attaining Enlightenment, Lord Buddha spent his time lonely without teaching any of his wisdom and knowledge. The legend said that Lord Buddha was approached by many souls of human beings, as well as animals so that they could lead Lord Buddha to teach his omnipotent wisdoms and knowledge. The Lord Buddha decided to proclaim the Dharma that he just realized in the Bodh Gaya and wanted to entrust this doctrines to five ascetics who followed Lord Buddha i.e. five ascetics lead by Kaundinya. At that time, these five ascetics were staying in Isipatana i.e. Sarnath in present time. Then at the deer park, Lord Buddha met these five ascetics and thus began Lord Buddha's first preaching about Dhamma.

In the Deer Park, Lord Buddha addressed disappointed five ascetics
'Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable.'
After hearing these words, Kaundinya and four other ascetics realized that Lord Buddha had attained highest level of knowledge and started to listen Buddha first teaching. It is also said that many Gods and angels were also present during Lord Buddha preaching but Kaundinya and other four were the first human beings who listened Lord Buddha first teachings.

Then Lord Buddha started to teach the five ascetics about the Four NobleTruths i.e. the truth of suffering, cause of suffering, end of the suffering, and the way to end the suffering.

"The world is full of pain and suffering; the cause of suffering is craving or desire; the end of suffering is possible through Nirvana; the way to achieve Nirvana is through Middle Way." – Lord Buddha

Middle Way, the way that one can achieve nirvana is also known as Noble Eightfold path. These eight paths are right understanding, right attitude, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration

See More: Noble Eightfold Path

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Importance of Meditation in Buddhism

Introduction


Meditation is one of the important techniques widely used in Buddhism. In general, Meditation is the practices that are associated with the involvement of religious as well as spiritual and philosophy regarding the Buddhism. According to Buddhism, one must take responsibility for their states of mind, body and soul. And this can help to lead away the fear, anxiety, sorrow and pain. And Buddha teaches that practicing meditation is the most probable techniques to achieve that state of mind.
According to Buddhism, Meditation is the process of transferring the control of mind and body to mind, and it helps to develop concentration, emotional positivity and calmness. Meditation is considered as the effort made in conscious mind to change the working pattern of mind. Buddhistmeditation is the combination of various number of techniques that was originally developed in order to develop one's concentration, mindfulness, insight and tranquility.

Types of Meditation


Over the thousands of years in Buddhism, number of Buddhist meditation practices were developed that helped to develop the one's control on mind, concentration, positivity etc. These various meditation practices are simply referred as "mind-trainings" but each Buddhist tradition have their own approaches to these meditation practices. Buddhist monks and Buddhist followers follow these practices based on their instinct since each meditation practices can be simple to different sorts of Buddhist monks and followers.

Some of the important Buddhist meditation practices that are widely used by Buddhist monks in Buddhist community and Sangha are Mindfulness of Breathing and Loving-Kindness meditation practices. It is believed that LordBuddha originally taught these two practices to Buddha followers. Mindfulness of Breathing is a simple Buddhist meditation practices that especially focuses on breath as a medium for concentration and it is also considered as the excellent method of absorbing intense meditation through various gestures such as Dhyana Mudra. Loving-kindness Meditation practice was originally known as Metta Bhavana. This meditation focuses on development or cultivation of something you feel in your heart i.e. love.

Importance of Meditation


Is Meditation important? Yes, it is quite important as stated above. Meditation helps to develop awareness, calmness, positivity in the mind of the people. If the mind is calm, aware then one can easily differentiate between good and bad, anger and wrong deeds and it helps to control their body through sheer power of mind. And this can only attained through meditation practices.

Meditation is quite popular in Buddhist art in many Asian countries. Meditation also helps Buddhist monks to understand the true meaning of principles of Buddhism i.e. NobleEightfold Path, Noble Four Truths, Dharma, Karma etc. Even Lord Buddha attained the Enlightenment through meditation and he succeeded since his mind had calmed down and was free of anxiety. Many Buddhist monks and followers practices meditation in front of Buddha statues. Because the Buddha statues are believed to hold important meanings behind their history such as Standing Buddha Statues are believed to represent Lord Buddha blessing to all sentient beings. Happy Buddhastatues are believed to represent happiness, joy and prosperity. That is also the reason why meditation are quite important.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sangha

Sangha-Buddhist Community with Senior Buddhist monks

In Buddhism, The term three jewels hold an important meaning for all the Buddhist followers all over the world. These three jewels are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Buddha can be considered as the embodiment of Enlightenment and Buddhahood and Dharma is considered as the teachings left the Buddha and Sangha is the Buddhist community where all the Buddhist followers all over the world learn the teachings left by Lord Buddha in order to attain the Nirvana, also known as the final goal in the religion of Buddhism.

"Taking refuge in the Buddha
Taking Refuge in the Dharma
Taking Refuge in the Sangha"

Basically Speaking, Sangha is the Buddhist community where all the Buddhist monks and other followers live and learn the Dharma, Buddhist sutra and principles of Buddhism. Sangha is also sometimes referred as the monastic orders of Buddhist monks and nuns. And sometimes it is also known by the term "Buddhist, Lay and Ordained". In order to enter the Sangha, Buddhist monks and nuns must undergo the official Ordination ceremony in order to become full-fledged monks and nuns and to start the homeless life of wandering monastics as Lord Buddha underwent during his life.
In eastern countries, it is believed that Sangha is the Buddhist community for monks as well as nuns and there also exist the "Fourfold Sangha" and it means all ordained monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen are the part of the Sangha. In Western Countries, Sangha has the same meanings of the term Church. But if seen properly then Sangha is the place where Buddhist monks and nuns, as well as Laymen and Laywomen, can help each other by helping each other and senior Buddhist monks can provide helps to the newly ordained monks and nuns to walk on the path of the Buddhahood.

Taking Refuge in the Sangha



"So taking refuge in the sangha basically means able to work with your fellow monks, your brothers and sisters in the dharma, while being independent respectively," – Chogyam Trungpa
The so above statement mentioned by Chogyam Trungpa shows the importance and basic interpretation of Taking Refuge in the Sangha. Even though it is said that Buddhist monks and nuns must overcome the problem of life and death and achieve Nirvana by themselves, it is necessary and helpful if a proper guidance is provided so that others can easily overcome these obstacles since it can be referred as the same teachings provided by Lord Buddha to all the disciples.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Buddha and Teachings of Buddha

As mentioned the previous articles, Lord Buddha is known as the “Enlightened One” and is the founder of the Buddhism. Around 2500 years ago, Lord Buddha attained Nirvana while sitting under the Bodhi Tree.

See more:  About the life of Buddha

After the awakening, Lord Buddha thought that he would not teach the knowledge he attained after being enlightened. But then various spirits started asking Lord that they have been waiting for him for thousands of years, and asked Lord Buddha to free them from the cycle of rebirth and cycle of life. After hearing such genuine request from all form of life and spirits, Lord Buddha finally realized his main aim to realize the true meaning of life and finally set the destination to teach his knowledge to all sentient beings. After being enlightened, Lord Buddha spend the rest of his life teaching his knowledge to every sentient beings who asked to be taught.

Basic Teachings of Buddhism


During his life, Lord Buddha found the ultimate truth about three basic questions that have existed throughout the eternity. These three ultimate truths are explained below:

  1. Nothing is lost in the Universe
    The first fundamental truth is that “Nothing is lost in the Universe”. Let’s take an example of an old solar system. When a solar system is old then it starts to disintegrate but these old solar systems disintegrate into cosmic rays. We are the child of our parents and later we will become the parents of our children. 
  2. Everything changes and keeps on changing
    Everything that exists in the world keeps on changing. Before human beings existed, dinosaurs and other large animals used to rule this earth but after millions of years, human beings, and other small animals rule this earth. And after millions of years, other species will rule this world. Life can be taken in a form of a river. It keeps on flowing forward and always keeps on changing sometimes providing life to the earth and sometimes destructive destroying the life on the earth. 
  3. Law of Cause and Effect
    “The kind of seed sown
    will produce that kind of fruit.” – Dhammapada

    The third truth is the basic translation of Karma. If we do something good in the life then it will reap into good thing and if we do something bad in the life then it will reap into something bad. This is the law of Cause and Effect. The law of Cause and Effect is mentioned in the sutra of Dhammapada.

Four Noble Truths

In the first sermon that Lord Buddha preaches, he mentioned the basic meanings of three ultimate truths, the meaning of Dharma and its importance, and other principal teachings of Buddhism. Noble Four Truths is considered as the first principle teachings of Lord Buddha. Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta is considered one of the foremost sutta of Buddhism and it is mainly centered in Four Noble Truths.
These four Noble truths are:
1.    Noble Truth of Suffering or Dukkha 
2.    Noble Truth of the cause of Suffering
3.    Noble Truth of the End of Suffering
4.    Noble Truth of the Paths that Ends the Suffering

Read More: Noble Four Truths

Noble Eightfold Path

Basically, the fourth truth is the Noble Eightfold Path. Noble Eightfold Path is also known as “Middle Way” or “Middle Path”. Buddha mentioned the path through which all sentient beings can find Enlightenment. There are eight paths and they are represented in the form of Dharmachakra since the eight spokes of Dharmachakra represents the eight elements of the path.
These eight elements of Middle Way are:
1.    Right View
2.    Right Intention
3.    Right Speech
4.    Right Action
5.    Right Livelihood
6.    Right Effort
7.    Right Mindfulness
8.    Right Concentration

Read More: Noble Eightfold Path

Triple Jewel

The triple Jewel are considered as the three things that Buddhist Monks take refugees in. The triple Jewel is also known as “Triple Gems”, “Three Refugees” and “Three Treasures”. The Buddhist take refuges in these three jewels and practice their meditation and sutras and look for and provide guidance with other Buddhists. These Three Jewels are:
1.    Buddha
2.    Dharma
3.    Sangha
Read More: Dharma
Read More: Sangha

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dualism in Buddhism

There are many terms in Buddhism that have depth meaning in Buddhism such as Dharma, karma, Sunyata, Dualism, Non-dualism. One of the most repeated questions asked in Buddhism is:
“What is the meaning of Dualism?”
Dualism is a concept where one understands that everything can be concluded into two fundamental categories which include the reality itself too. In western philosophy, the term dualism represents the state of two parts. Basically speaking, Dualism is the way to perceives everything as a contrasting pair such as male and female, good and evil, light and dark etc.
Dualism in a simpler form, argues that all phenomena can be located within a duality since all these phenomena must be either mental or material and are reducible to others. It is the state of the mind where one becomes confuses on the mental states as well as physical states.
There are various philosophies on Dualism in Buddhism. According to one philosopher, the term Dualism doesn’t exist in Buddhism. Dualism claims that Consciousness exists independently, but this concept contradicts dependent origination. Buddhism is closer to materialism than that of Dualism since Buddhism teach us about conscious experience that happens in conjunction with sense organs.

Dualism in Theravada Buddhism


Buddhism In recent years, Theravada Buddhism has been facing one of the most challenging issues and that is the issues between the Classical Theravada Buddhism vipassana meditation and Non-dualistic tradition. According to Theravada Buddhist monks Bhikkhu Bodhi, Theravada Buddhism is neither Dualistic nor Non-dualistic. But in the world of Theravada Buddhism, dualism do exist. Some of the duality are good or bad, wisdom or ignorance, suffering and happiness and most significant duality that exists is between Samsara and Nirvana. Samsara represents the realm of suffering and Nirvana represents the liberation from the cycle or samsara of sufferings. Bhikkhu Bodhi states on this matter:
"There is not the least insinuation that this reality is metaphysically indistinguishable at some profound level from its manifest opposite, samsara,"

Dualism in Mahayana Buddhism


The teachings of Buddha are based on simple two truths such as Conventional truths and Ultimate truth. And those who don't understand the difference between these two truths is not suitable to achieve liberation. One who understands the true conventional truth cannot know the importance and significance of ultimate truth. Mahayana Buddhism mainly focuses on Non-Dualism rather than dualism. According to Mahayana, all phenomena inter exists dependently and all phenomena are the way it is and nothing is separate and independent.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Karma


Aside Dharma, there is another important term in Buddhism, Karma. Karma is the term that most of the Buddhist monks all around the globe knows and what it means. Karma can be simply described as the law of cause and effect. But there is much deeper meaning to Karma than it seems. Basically saying, Karma is the action or law of moral causation. Karma cannot simply be explained since it carries the weight of original Buddha’s teachings and whole teachings related to Karma haven’t been translated in The English language.
“I declare, O Bhikkhus, the volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.”- Lord Buddha 
In Buddhism, it is believed that Karma acts in loops with multiple feedbacks. The actions or karma of the past and present can influence the present and actions of the present can influence not only future but present also. But early Hindu schools of India believed that Karma acts on a linear path and operates in the straight lines. The actions of the past influence the present and the actions of present influence the futures. However, the early Buddhist Karma is non-linear and quite complex to be truly understood.
When one knowledge seeker asked Lord Buddha about the cause and reason of all the pain and suffering as well as death, old age, the reason for poverty and rich, good or bad, Lord Buddha reply was this:
“All living things have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is karma that differentiates beings into low and high states. ”
Karma is the phenomena that connect one from all actions of present, past, and future. Buddha taught that one is totally the reason of what one is, one will not absolutely of who one is. In order to truly understand the meaning of how Karma works, one must have total faith and devotion to Lord Buddha and his teachings such as Noble Eightfold path, Noble Four Truths and other Buddhist doctrines.

Cause of Karma

Basically speaking, one action is the cause of one’s karma. If one have done a good deed then good karma will be bestowed upon him and if one have done bad deeds then bad karma will be bestowed upon him. Ignorance is considered as the chief cause of Karma. Not knowing things as they truly are, is the cause of all the karma one is bestowed upon. Another root cause of Karma is ally craving and it is considered as the cause that is associated with ignorance.
Who you are true, where is one from, these questions are not necessarily important when it comes to Karma. What truly matters is what one’s mind is doing at the present. If one is from low caste or poor, it doesn’t mean that he has bad karma and if one is from high caste or rich, it doesn’t mean that he has good karma.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Dharma - Principle Factors of Buddhism

Dharma is a word that holds one of the key concepts in the Buddhist tradition. Dharma is also recited as Dhamma in Pali language. Dharma is simply described as “Teachings of Buddha” and it holds much more deep meaning in Buddhism. In Buddhist tradition, Dharma is learned as the truth told by Lord Buddha but the depth meaning of Dharma is gradually uncovered through regular practices and prepared mind.
Dharma is also the second jewel of Three Jewels. The other two jewels are Buddha and Sangha. Dharma basically means cosmic law and order. It refers to the nature of existence or the manifestations of reality. Buddhist monks and practitioner believed that there is no word wider than Dharma itself. Everything inside and outside the universe, every aspect of good or bad, are included in Dharma.


“If you were to follow the Dharma purely out of love for me or because you respect me, I would not accept you as a disciple. But if you follow the Dharma because you have yourself experienced its truth because you understand and act accordingly – only under these conditions have you the right to call yourself a disciple of the Exalted One.” – Said By Lord Buddha in Old Path.

Dharma as Buddha Teachings

Buddhist monks referenced Dharma as the fundamental teachings of Buddhism and commonly called as Buddha-Dharma. According to Dharma doctrines, it includes the sutras related to Noble Eightfold Path and Noble Four Truths. Many Buddhist tradition regarded Dharma as the ultimate truth or the source of all the things that is believed to exist beyond “three realms”. It is said that Dharma is seen as “the 84,000 different aspects of Buddha teachings”. During early Buddhism, after the death of Lord Buddha, Dharma was considered as the teachings left by Lord Buddha but later after new Buddhist traditions were evolved, the addition of sutras and interpretation was also included in Dharma teachings. Lord Buddha referred the path of Dharma as the “Dhamma-Vinaya” which means “This path of Discipline”. This discipline prevents oneself from
  1. Sexual Activity
  2. Code of ethical behavior
  3. One’s effort in cultivation of Mindfulness and wisdom

Mahayana Buddhism

In Mahayana Buddhism, use of Dharma generally refers to the teachings of Buddha and further the realization of Nirvana. “Three Turnings of Dharma Wheel” was often used by early Mahayana Buddhist. These early Mahayana scholars refer these three turnings as the three revelations of Buddhist teachings. Mahayana Buddhist practitioner must realize that dharma is not all about reciting the sutras or Dhamma-Vinaya, but it is a state where one can realize the true meaning of Dharma.
Mahayana Buddhism referred Dharma in many sutras such as Heart Sutra as well as Lotus sutra.
“Oh, Sariputra, all dharma are emptiness”
Here Lord Buddha taught Sariputra that all phenomena (all dharma) are empty self-essence (Sunyata).
In Lotus Sutra:
“Of all dharma to be without duality
Just like empty space”
Here, all dharma means all phenomena.



Theravada Buddhism

Dharma in Theravada Buddhism is used to indicate all aspects of existence whether it is a factor that is inside or outside the universe or it good or bad. In Theravada, Dharma has a fourfold meaning and they are:
  • It takes phenomenal world as it is
  • Law of nature
  • Duties needed to be performed in accordance of law of nature
  • Outcome of duties performed

In Theravada Buddhism, dharma is not just a specific doctrine of Buddha teachings but it is the very teachings of Lord Buddha, it is the practice related to teachings of Buddha, and attaining enlightenment having read and practiced the teachings of Buddha.

Qualities of Dharma in Buddhist teachings

Dharma is believed to possess six supreme qualities as the teaching of Buddha. They are:
  • Svakkhato (Self-proclaimed)
    The teachings of buddhism in not based on the belief but the realization of the universal law of Nature. Dharma is taught based on the analysis of Natural phenomena such as death, birth, old age etc. 
  • Sanditthiko (Able to be examined)
    Dharma is not based on the belief and is open to every kind of scrutiny. Anybody can test Dharma teachings by self-practicing and study. 
  • Akaliko (Timeless & Immediate result)
    One can easily see the timeless and immediate result after learning Dharma and one should not wait for the future or next life.
  • Ehipassiko (Come & See)
    Every living being are welcome to see the teachings of Dharma and test it by themselves.
  • Opanayiko (Leading one close to)
    Dharma isn’t something that can be learned through hearing from others, but it can only be learned by practicing by yourself. 
  • Paccattam Veditabbo Vinnuhi (meant to perceive directly)
    No one can help other to attain Nirvana. It can be only attained by noble disciples who have developed their practice in supreme wisdom. Dharma cannot be bestowed to one by others, but one have to practice enough to learn Dharma.
"He Who Lives By DhamraIs Protected By Dharma"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Birth of Buddha & Buddhism

Religion is recognized as the collection of belief systems, cultural systems that is related to spirituality, humanity and belief of God and higher power. There are around 86% of total populations in the world who are religious and follow different religions. According to statistics, there are around 4200 world religions that existed in the world and among them, only a few are widely spread in the world. They are Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and etc.
One of the widely followed religions in Eastern and Western Asian Countries is Buddhism. The Buddhism religion started around 2500 years ago and was started by Gautama Buddha. Buddhism was founded on the teachings of Lord Buddha. According to world religious statistics of 2014, around 396 million people are following Buddhism in the present time, making it one of the major religions of the World.


How Buddhism was born?

In order to know how Buddhism started, we need to know the biography of young Prince Siddhartha. Around 2500 years ago under the roof of the Himalayas, the lands were ruled by many royal clans and Shakya clan was one of them. Shakya clan was reigning over Kapilvastu, which is now present in Lumbini, Nepal. King Suddhodhana was the current king of Shakya clan and Queen Maha Maya was the wife and current queen of Kapilvastu. According to Buddhist legends, Siddhartha was born in the way when Maha Maya was traveling to her birthplace and it is also said that Gautama Buddha took seven steps after prince Siddhartha was born.
After prince Siddhartha was born, King Suddhodhana invited many experienced Scholars and astrologer in order to know the future of Prince Siddhartha. Everyone except one young scholar predicted that Prince Siddhartha will either become great emperor or leave all the royal life and became Enlightened One who will lead people away from Samsara. But Kaundinya, who later became the disciples of Lord Buddha, predicted that young Prince Siddhartha will become the Enlightened One leaving the life of royalty.
Upon hearing such future of young prince, King Suddhodhana immediately ordered his men to build a beautiful palace away from the every aspect of life and decided that young prince would never have a glance of pain, death, sick, disease, etc. And young Prince started living the life of beauty, comfort without any hardship. But there was incident when young prince along with other Shakya Princes were playing, prince Devadatta shoot a flying duck with an arrow and wounded duck fell in the ground, and prince Siddhartha defended the duck from Devadatta from killing it and cured it and freed the duck.
When Siddhartha become an adult, he felt the feelings of vacant in his heart in the palace that King Suddhodhana built for the prince. At that time, the prince was already married with Shakya princess Yasodahara, daughter of King Suppabuddha and Queen Pamita, sister of King Suddhodhana. In order to reduce these feelings, the prince asked King Suddhodhana to visit the kingdom and see the life of kingdom with his own eyes. King Suddhodhana accepted prince wishes and ordered his men to announce that the Prince was visiting the kingdom and band any kind of violence, suffering, old people and dead people. But the fate wanted the exact opposite, Prince saw an old man walking from his house and transportation of dead man. Later, Prince Siddhartha along his trusted men went behind King Suddhodhana’s back and went to look the kingdom alone without any preparation. Prince saw all the aspects of life like sick people, dead people, old people, and violence. Seeing such condition of the life, he wonders the answer to these aspects of life. After much thinking, Prince Siddhartha wanted to find the answer and decided to leave the palace. During his last days at the palace, he visited his wife Yasodhara, and his newly born son, Rahula.
After leaving the palace, Prince Siddhartha seeks the knowledge of so-called “Enlightened saints” but the knowledge of these saints couldn’t satisfy the hunger of the young prince. Later he went to Rajagaha began his ascetic life and begging the alms in the street. The king Bimbisara of Rajagaha upon knowing the quest of Prince Siddhartha offered him the throne of Rajagaha. But prince rejected the offer and left Rajagaha and finally meets two hermit teachers and masters their teachings. But unsatisfied prince left the two hermit teachers and started performing extreme meditation practices like meditating without eating any food and so on.

Awakening
gautama buddha in Nirvana form
Lord Buddha With Halo Under Bodhi Tree

After much extreme practice, his body wasn’t able to sustain and his health started to degrade and reach on the verge of death. While the ascetic prince was sitting under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, a young girl named Sujata seeing his condition, offered him Payasam(pudding with milk and jaggery) in a bowl. After eating the Payasam, he started to reconsider his path and started meditative dhyana with much more focus and concentration, and found the right way to Enlightenment. At the age of 35, Prince Siddhartha is believed to attain Nirvana while meditating under Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, and finally discovered the Middle Way or Noble Eightfold Path.
After attaining “Nirvana,”, Prince Siddhartha was called “Enlightened One”, “Gautama Buddha”, “Shakyamuni Buddha”, “Buddha”, etc. Then Lord Buddha seeks his two hermit teachers but knowing that they were dead, he met two merchant brothers known by the name Taphussa and Bhallika. They were known as first lay disciples of Lord Buddha. Later he met five scholars led by Kaundinya, who prophesized Buddha future and passed on his knowledge to these five scholars. Kaundinya became Stream Enterer after hearing Lord Buddha first preaching. Later five scholars became arahants and established the Sangha and started teaching Dharma to the newly ordained Monks.
Ordination in Sangha
Buddhist Monks being Ordained in the Order of Sangha

From that moment, Buddhism was founded and gained significant numbers of followers. Many great kings started following Buddhism not long after. King Bimbisara of Rajagaha was one of the great followers of Gautama Buddha. According to Buddhist philosophers, Shakyamuni Buddha made 200 vows before attaining Buddhahood.