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Beliefs and Practices of Buddhism
Many people that practice Buddhism
find that it uncovers a natural peace
within, sometimes referred to as the
heart’s rest. With this, a tremendous
feeling of trust and openness develops
towards the Buddha, the Dharma - the
teachings of the Buddha - and the
Sangha - the community of practitioners.
These are known as the Three Jewels.
This is then formalised with the ritual of
Taking Refuge, which can be done very
simply or as a more elaborate ceremony.
The Buddha's teachings also consist of
codes for living, to help one be free of
tensions and at peace with oneself and
the world at large. The vows to uphold
and guide these aspirations are the Five
Precepts: not killing, not stealing,
refraining from wrong kinds of sexual
activities, not lying or indulging in false
speech, and not taking drink or drugs
that confuse the mind.
In his infinite wisdom the Buddha saw
that each of us has a different level of
spiritual awareness and experience. It is
said that he could therefore tailor his
teachings to fit each individual’s
approach to life. Each path, however, is
equally precious and they all share the
common goal of reaching
enlightenment, which is totally freeing
oneself from confusion and negative
emotions and awakening to the vast
potential of wisdom and compassion our true nature of mind - sometimes
called Buddha Nature
The profound logic of Buddhism is quite
powerful and its' ethics are based on
reasoning. For example, the harming of
others actually harms you, while helping
others really helps you as well. To find
the logic and reasoning behind this
statement, we can look deeply at the
effects our actions have on others and
ourselves. Let's say we get very angry
with someone and we react unkindly, by
shouting or being aggressive. The
outcome of this is that we experience
both a physical and mental jolt. Often,
we come away unsettled on both levels
and don't feel so well. On the other
hand, when we are caring or helpful
towards others it usually makes us feel
well or good inside. This is one of the
many ways of reflecting on this, that is
quite simple and logical when reasoned
It is motivation that gives rise to
everything on the path of Buddhism. It
is said that if your motivation is good the
result will be good. Equally, if your
motivation is bad there will be a similar
negative result.
This quite naturally leads on to Karma,
which is fundamental to Buddhist
teaching. Karma means action, it is the
natural law of cause and effect. It tells
us that whatever we do, has a result.
Every action, however big or small,
positive or negative, has a corresponding
This may all seem like a lot to take in
and in one way it is! Yet the important
thing to keep coming back to, is the
basis of all this. That is that
enlightenment is attained through
individual experience of the disciplines
and practices and not just what we are
1. Explain the following terms:
The Three Jewels
Taking Refuge
The Five Precepts
Buddha Nature
2. What similarities do you see between the practice of Buddhism and your own
3. What differences are there?