introduction to buddhism meditation

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    Introduction to Buddhism

    Historical Background Buddhism was born in northeastern

    India in the year 588 BC founded by Siddhattha Gautama

    Buddha. He was born on the full moon day of the sixth lunar

    month 623 years before Christ at beautiful Lumbini Garden,

    located between Kapilavatthu and Devadaha City south west of

    the country known as Nepal today. His father was King

    Suddhodana and his mother was Queen Sirimahamaya or

    Queen Maya. He married Princes Yasodhara when he was

    sixteen years old and became a monk at the age of 29. He lived

    a luxurious life during his 29 years in me palace. After he left

    me palace, he studied and practiced meditation with the very popular gurus of his time, Arala

    and Utaka, passing many levels of concentration or tranquil meditation. When he completed

    the causes of study from those teachers, he left them to find the way known as Atthanggika

    Magga or Middle Eightfold Path, and he attained enlightenment in the sixth year of his

    monkshood. His mind became free from all the ten fetters:

    1. Personality-belief (sakkaya-ditthi),

    2. Sceptical doubt (vicikiccha), 3. Clinging to mere rules and ritual (silabbatapramasa;

    upadana), 4. Sensual craving (kama-raga), 5. Ill-will (vyapada), 6. Craving for fine

    materiel existence (rupa-raga), 7. Craving for immaterial existence (arupa-raga), 8.

    Vanity (mana), 9. Restlessness (uddhacca), 10. Ignorance (avijja).

    His mind filled with clear understanding, rationality, understanding of cause and effect,

    understanding of cause and effect of sensual craving and how to let go of craving. His mind

    filled with acceptance of the way things really are, and with loving-kindness and compassion,

    clear comprehension of born visible and invisible mental objects, the value of a simple and

    humble way of life, and he shined with the light of right understanding. He became known as

    The Buddha, the Awakened One.

    What the Buddha Taught

    The Buddha taught us the Four Noble Truths, the truth of all beings with and without

    consciousness. They are:

    1. Noble Truth of Dissatisfactoriness or hardship of maintenance (Dukkha).

    2. Noble Truth of Cause of Dissatisfactoriness (samudaya).

    3. Noble Truth of Cessation of Dissatisfactoriness (nirodha).

    4. Noble Truth of Path leading to the Cessation of Cause of Dissatisfactoriness (magga).

    Dukkha: The Noble Truth of Dissatisfaction or Suffering. Buddhism did not view anything in

    an optimistic nor pessimistic manner, but Buddhism views everything in a realistic way. When

    Buddhism talks about Dukkha or suffering or Dissatisfactoriness it means the hardship of

    maintenance and the problems in daily life, such as birth, old age, diseases, death, sorrow and

    frustrations of every kind. What is undesirable is painful, so too is not getting something

    desired. All problems are unwanted but although people try their best to avoid trouble and to

    be free from suffering, they cannot protect themselves from it The truth Buddha taught solves

    the problems and problematic situations which, when observed and comprehended by self-

    investigation, helps us learn for ourselves whether the teaching is true. With careful

    observation of life, we can see mat all life is unstable, decaying and subject to change.

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    Samudaya: The Noble Truth of Origin of Dissatisfaction (dukkhosamudaya-ariyasacca); The

    origin (origins) of dissatisfaction are many, depending upon the conditions. Every kind of

    dissatisfaction has its origins in craving (tanha) or selfish desire, which is the result of

    ignorance (avijja) or delusion, resulting in hatred, destruction, violence and suffering in

    society in the past, today and in the future. Craving produces re-existence and re-becoming

    (ponobbavika), and is bound up with passionate greed (nandiragasahagata), finding fresh

    delight now here and now there (tatratatrabhinandini), namely 1. Craving for sense-pleasures

    (kama-tanha), 2. Craving for existence and becoming (bhava-tanha) and, 3. Craving for non-

    existence or self-annihilation (vibhava-tanha). It is this craving, desire, greed, manifesting

    itself in various ways, that gives rise to all forms of suffering and continuity of beings. It

    should not be taken as the first cause, for there is no first cause possible as, according to

    Buddhism, everything is relative and hater-dependent

    Nirodha: The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (dukkhanirodha-ariyosacea), which is

    Nibbana or Nirvana in Sanskrit To uproot the suffering, the Buddha introduced the Path

    (magga) leading to the cessation of suffering. It is the cessation of craving, cessation of hatred,

    cessation of illusion or ignorance. There are great details in the suttas about the way to practice

    to put an end to these mental defilements.

    Magga: The Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering. Dukkhanirodhagaminipatipada-

    ariyasacca). This is known as The Middle Way (majjhima-patipada), because it avoids two

    extremes; one extreme is to search for happiness through the pleasures of the senses which is

    low, common, unprofitable and the way of the ordinary people; the other method is the search

    for happiness through self-mortification in different forms of asceticism, which is painful,

    unworthy and unprofitable. The Buddha himself tried these two extremes and having found

    them to be useless, the Buddha discovered through personal experience. The Middle Path,

    which gives vision and knowledge and leads to experiencing Calm, Insight, Enlightenment,

    Nibbana. This Path is known hi Pali as Ariya-Atthangika-Magga because it is composed of

    eight categories, namely:

    Wisdom level

    1. Right Understanding (Samma-ditthi)

    2. Right Thought (Samma-sankappa)

    Moral level

    3. Right Speech (Samma-vaca)

    4. Right Action (Samma-kammanta)

    5. Right Livelihood (Samma-ajiva)

    Samadhi level

    6. Right Effort (Samma-vayama)

    7. Right Mindfulness (Samma-sati)

    8. Right Concentration (Samma-samadhi)

    The whole teaching of the Buddha, to which he devoted himself for 45 years, deals with this

    Path. Buddha explained the Dhamma in different ways with different words to different

    people, according to the stage of their development and their capacity to understand and

    follow him, but the essence of those many thousand discourses scattered hi the Buddhist

    Scriptures are found hi the Noble Eightfold Path and summarized hi the Threefold Doctrines

    namely;

    1. Not to do bad

    2. To do good, and

    3. To purify the mind from its impurities or mental defilement

    The eight categories of the Path should not be followed and practiced one after the other in the

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    numerical order as given the list above, but they are to be developed more or less

    simultaneously, as far as possible according to the capacity of each individual. The eight

    factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of the Buddhist training and

    discipline:

    1. Moral Conduct (Sila),

    2. Mental Discipline (Samadhi),

    3. Wisdom (Panna).

    Moral Conduct:

    Moral conduct is the basic principle of Buddhism for the training and developing of an

    ordinary person to become a perfect human being. It consists of commitment to (1) avoid

    killing and harming living beings while trying to develop loving-kindness and compassion; (2)

    avoid taking what is not given while trying to develop sincerity and respect for ownership and

    the possessions of others; (3) avoid sexual misconduct while trying to develop honesty and

    respect toward the opposite sex; (4) avoid false speech while trying to develop truthfulness and

    sincerity; (5) avoid taking intoxicating drink and harmful drugs while trying to develop

    mindfulness and awareness in daily life.

    Mental Discipline:

    When we develop moral conduct, we are certain to have peaceful family and peaceful

    society, and then we are ready to go for meditation practice for more training in mental

    culture. Mental culture develops the human mind to become a noble being and finally to

    become a perfect noble one through wisdom training. There are two lands of mental culture,

    namely; Concentration meditation (Samatha Bhavna) and Insight meditation (Vipassana

    Bhavna). The details of meditation practice cannot be given here but those who want more

    information about meditation practice may contact Wat Thai,D.C. at the mailing address

    provided below.

    Wisdom Training:

    Wisdom is the way to see the ultimate truth of reality. When the mind of the meditation

    practitioner becomes calm, dear and peaceful, he or she may apply peaceful mind to look at

    the ways of all thing visible and invisible as they really are. Their ways are as follows;

    1. Impermanence (Aniccam)

    2. Hard to maintain (Dukkham)

    3. Out of control (Anatta)

    When the mind understands the way of everything as it really is, the mind does not

    cling and does not attach to anything, the meditation practitioner will see and view all things

    with a realistic approach. At that level of meditation the mind becomes free from all kinds of

    mental defilement, becoming a mind that can be called free mind, ind