Buddhism and Buddhist teachings

All Buddhist have an aim in life and that’s to reach enlightenment and escape samsara (the cycle of death and rebirth.) To do this they have to follow certain rules and teachings, which affect their daily life in many ways, for example their diet, Buddhists aren’t aloud to eat after midday.

The numbers 3,3,4,4,5,8 and 10 may seem like a long list of numbers but in fact these numbers help me to remember the Buddhists teachings and beliefs…

3 stands for the three signs of life. Every Buddha wants to escape samsara the cycle of death and rebirth. To do this they must cope with the three signs of being, Dukkha, Annicca and Anatta.

Dukkha means ‘suffering’ everyone has to suffer to succeed in something, it means more than just pain. Being uncomfortable or even bored. “Nothing in life is perfect and the Buddha said that no one can escape dukkha” meaning everyone has to suffer sometime in their lives, for example, losing a relative or close friend and no one can escape this happening to themselves or anyone else.

Annicca means everything changes, for example, humans change, plants change and animals change, nothing lasts, and Buddhists believe that there is no rest except nirvana.

Anatta means no soul. Buddhists believes that you don’t own your soul your soul owns you. In other words your soul owns you until you gain enlightenment and escape the continual samsara cycle.

The other 3 stands for the three jewels. Buddhists have to live a basic life as possible. Their most precious beliefs are the three jewels: “I take refuge in the Buddha” this means they respect the Buddha because he showed them the way to enlightenment. “I take refuge in the Dharma” this means that Buddhist’s believe that the teachings need to be realised in your own life, this is why people respect Dhamma. “I take refuge in the saugha” When Buddhist’s say they ‘take refuge’ this means a safe place. Buddhists believe that the ‘Buddha’s teachings are extremely important but don’t believe that he invented them himself.

Four stands for the 4 sights. Siddatha Gotama also known, as the Buddha is the person that all Buddhists look up to, they follow his teachings and try to achieve enlightenment just like he did. On Siddathas travels he came across a sick man, a dead man, a poor man and a holy man these are called the four sights. Siddatha was very disturbed by the sights and decided to give up everything, his family, his house and his money just to find the answer to these problems. After six years spent with teachers and monks Siddatha gained enlightenment. Many Buddhists are inspired by this and are also willing to give up everything for their beliefs.

The other 4 stands for the 4 noble truths stands. “All life is suffering, we suffer because we crave, to stop suffering we must stop craving and to stop craving we must follow the eight fold path” This quote here is a strong Buddhist belief its called the four Nobel truths.

Number one ” all life is suffering” this is Dukkha, the Buddhist said that every life has kamm (force) from they previous lives so everyone will suffer until they reach Nirvana.

Number two ” we suffer because we crave” to Buddhists this means selfishness another way in which people suffer, the Buddha even said that you should break out of the rebirth cycle as it is selfish not to and go to nirvana.

Number three “to stop suffering we must stop craving” Once we have stopped suffering we reach Nirvana this is when a person can see beyond themselves, and have total freedom where no craves and no one suffers.

Number four “to stop craving we should follow the eight fold path” The noble eight fold path also known as the riddle, is the living way to Nirvana, a way of showing people how they should live.

Eight stands for the 8 fold path. In order to reach enlightenment and go to Nirvana Buddhist’s have to follow the eight fold path, a list of eight teachings here are a few as followed: “Right speech, a Buddhist will avoid lying, gossiping and swearing. They will try not to cause any harm through what they say to others.” An example to this would be if a Buddhist were to ask for their life to end this would cause them bad karma. “Right Action, don’t harm any living being including yourself, also to follow the 5 moral precepts.” An example of this would be that Buddhist’s won’t be allowed fox hunting or attend any circuses as this carries out cruelty to animals. “Right Effort, A Buddhist will work hard and do their best to follow the Buddhist teachings” for example they will train there mind through meditation and not break any of the rules. The other teachings from the eight fold path are as listed; RightThought, understanding, concentration, living and mindfulness.

Ten stands for the 10 precepts. There are many things that Buddhist’s aren’t able to do to lead a normal life. They are very limited on what they are allowed to say, eat, wear and do etc. For example “don’t eat after midday, don’t sleep in soft beds, don’t wear jewellery or perfume, don’t attend dances or music and don’t accept gifts or money. These things aren’t aloud as they are classed as luxury items that aren’t necessary in a Buddhists life, they are able to live without them. Those are the 5 precepts followed by monks and nuns the extra five are rules that non religious people also follow; refrain from murdering, stealing, lying, misusing intoxicants i.e. alcohol/drugs and from misusing sex.

Not always is it the case that Buddhists reach Nirvana and that’s the end of it, some Buddhists called Bodhisattva choose to be reborn again and come back to help other monks gain good karma and reach the end of suffering.

The sangha is a Buddhist community where monks and nuns go to gain good karma, to learn about the teachings, how to follow them and to live a more religious life. The sangha is not only for monks and nuns but for many people who just want a good education so they can get a job and some are force to attend by their parents.

There are so many different beliefs and teachings to follow in Buddhism, its hard to understand just how the monks actually cope I know for a fact that a large percentage of people today wouldn’t be able to cope, as Buddhism effects a people in nearly everything they do.