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Static Wikipedia: Italiano -Inglese (ridotta) - Francese - Spagnolo - Tedesco - Portoghese
 
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Buddhism

From Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia written in simple English for easy reading.

The great Buddha statue in Lantau Island, Hong Kong
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The great Buddha statue in Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Buddhism teaches people how to understand themselves better. Some see it as a religion, other people think it is a philosophy. The teachings of the Buddha - a man who lived between about 563 and 483 BCE - tell us how to go about living a good life. The Buddha was a rich prince. He gave up everything to work out how best to live. His teachings, started in India and slowly spread, after his death, through most of Asia, to Central Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and the East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.

Contents

[edit] Quick facts

The Buddha's teachings are about suffering and how to overcome it. Overcoming suffering allows a person to be truly happy. Buddha taught that if people make good decisions they will be happy and have peace of mind. The Buddha taught that life is imperfect and that we suffer (Dukkha). He taught that we suffer because of desire, and he showed that we can end our suffering by letting go of desires. The letting go of craving and desire and the ending of suffering is called Enlightenment (Nirvana meaning "ending", like a fire going out.)

"To avoid all evil.
To do good.
To purify one's mind.
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas."
--Dhammap?da, XIV, 5

Buddhism teaches non-harm and moderation or balance, not going too far one way or the other. Buddhists often meditate, or think deeply, while sitting in a special way. They often chant and meditate while walking. Buddhists sometimes do these things to understand the human heart and mind. Sometimes they do these things to understand the way the world works. Sometimes they do these things to find peace.

Buddhism does not say if gods exist or not, but one can read about many gods in Buddhist books. Buddhists do not believe that people should look to gods to save them or bring them enlightenment. The gods may have power over world events and they might help people, or they might not. But it's up to each person to get to enlightenment. Many Buddhists honor gods in ritual. Many believe the gods are just stories that teach us about parts of ourselves.

[edit] What is a Buddha?

Buddha is a word in the very old Indian languages P?li and Sanskrit which means "one who woke up". The word "Buddha" often means the historical Buddha named Buddha Shakyamuni (Sidhartha Gautama), but "Buddha" does not mean just one man who lived at a certain time. It is used for a type of person, and there have been many. There were Buddhas a very long time ago, and there will be for a long time in the future.

A Buddha is a human being who has woken up and can see the true way the world works. This knowledge totally changes the person. Some say this puts them beyond birth, death, and rebirth. Others think this represents the final extinction of desire. This person can help others become enlightened too.

To learn more, read: Buddha.

[edit] Who was the first Buddha?

According to Buddhism, there were countless Buddhas before Gautama Buddha and there will be many Buddhas after him. In short, he is not the first, nor will he be the last.

However, counting from the present kalpa (the beginning of our present universe) Buddha Gautama is considered the fourth Buddha. The first is Gakusandho Buddha, second Gonakamano Buddha and the third Gassapo Buddha. The last Buddha of this kalpa will be Mettaya Buddha. Then the universe will renew itself and from then begins a new kalpa.

Old stories say that Siddh?rtha Gautama was born around the 6th century BCE. He was the one who would become the first Buddha in written history. Some Buddhists believe that Siddh?rtha Gautama was a perfect person.

He was born a prince, but he wanted to learn the answer to the problem of human suffering, or pain. He gave up all his money and power, and became a monk without a home. He walked from place to place, trying to learn the answers to life.

At last he found enlightenment while sitting under a big tree called the Bodhi Tree. He was the first person to teach Buddhism to the people, and Buddhists love him for that.

After Siddh?rtha Gautama died, his students taught the Buddha's teaching to more people. After a time, they wrote down all the things that he had said.

To learn more, read: Siddh?rtha Gautama.

[edit] What do Buddhists believe?

[edit] The Three Jewels

Buddhists often talk about the Three Jewels, which are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Dharma is the way the Buddha taught to live your life. The Sangha is the group of monks and other people who meet together, like a congregation

Buddhists say "I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha." This means that these three things keep them safe. They give themselves up to the community and teachings inspired by the Buddha.

To learn more, read: Three Jewels.


[edit] Four Noble Truths

The Buddha's first and most important teachings are the Four Noble Truths.

  1. Everything in life is painful. There is no way to avoid pain. Nothing in life is ever good enough.
  2. The reason for this pain is our desires. We want more and more, so we feel pain.
  3. There is hope. There is a way to end pain.
  4. The way to end pain is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

To learn more, read: Four Noble Truths.

[edit] Noble Eightfold Path

The Buddha told people to follow a special way of life called the Noble Eightfold Path if they want to understand the Four Noble Truths and end suffering. These are:

  1. Right View
  2. Right Thought
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Job
  6. Right Effort (or Right Working)
  7. Right Mindfulness (or Right Awakeness)
  8. Right Concentration (or Right Deep-thinking)

To learn more, read: Noble Eightfold Path

[edit] Five Precepts

Most Buddhists follow five precepts, or rules, that say what not to do. These are similar to the Ten Commandments in Christianity, or the Yamas and Niyamas in Hinduism.

These are the Five Precepts.

  1. I will not hurt a person or animal that is alive.
  2. I will not take something if it was not given to me.
  3. I will not have sex in a way that is not right.
  4. I will not lie or say things that hurt people.
  5. I will not take intoxicants, like alcohol or drugs.

In some types of Buddhism, when a person wants to be a monk, he will follow other precepts also.


[edit] External links