What does Buddhism teach

The basics of Buddha's teaching

Buddha explained how the world works - what is ultimately real and what is conditioned. This understanding enables lasting happiness to be experienced.

The four noble truths form the core of his teaching:

  1. There is sorrow: As long as the spirit has not recognized itself, there is joy in life, but also suffering. Old age, illness and death in particular are inevitable and experienced as painful.

  2. Suffering has a cause: There are reasons why the mind does not recognize itself and one does not experience lasting happiness.

  3. There is an end to suffering: Everyone can recognize their spirit and thus end the state of suffering and experience lasting happiness (state of enlightenment).

  4. There is a way to end suffering: Buddha has taught for over 45 years how to make your way to enlightenment and ultimately experience lasting happiness.

Buddha's teaching knows no dogmas - nothing has to be believed or assumed without examination. Their goal is the full development of everyone's inherent possibilities. In addition to building up knowledge, meditations are used as the practical means to achieve lasting happiness: through them, what you understand becomes your own experience. In addition, especially in Theravada, one takes care to avoid suffering behavior. In Mahayana this focus shifts to avoiding anger, in Varayana to always experiencing the world from a rich and self-liberating point of view.

Based on the work of the historical Buddha, Buddhism developed into a world religion with uninterrupted tradition. It is aimed at all searching people. In doing so, it always puts people in their own responsibility (see cause and effect). It is also characterized by tolerance and non-violence.

Karma is a central concept in Buddhism. It does not mean fate, but the interaction of cause and effect: everyone is responsible for their own life. This understanding makes it possible, through conscious action, to build up impressions in the mind that lead to happiness and avoid future suffering.

However, this is not related to an indifferent attitude towards the suffering of others, because a Buddhist assumes that all people constantly act out of the pursuit of happiness. The reason for suffering acts such as killing, theft, sexual abuse or fraud is therefore not in any "malice", but rather in the fact that the agents are not aware of the lawfulness of cause and effect.

Anyone who experiences suffering has created the causes for it in the past. However, this was done out of ignorance and can now no longer be reversed. That is why a Buddhist should help impartially and courageously wherever possible.

In Vajrayana, karma that has not yet matured in the form of experiences can be changed: the positive can be strengthened, the negative can be reduced.

Next: The Buddhist ways and traditions

Figures on Buddhism in Germany

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The Buddhist ways and traditions

Buddha's teachings are taught in many different traditions today

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What is meditation

What is meditation and what role does it play in Buddhism?

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