Truth is One Paths are Many

A Comparative Study of various Traditions & Philosophy of Several World Religions
Will Some One Tell Me What the Great Religions Believe?
A Primer of World Religions - What they are & What they believe
4. Buddhism
Founded: Buddhism began about 2,500 years ago in India.
Founder: Gautama Siddhartha, or Buddha,"Enlightened One."
Major Scriptures: The Tripitaka, Anguttara-Nikaya, Dhammapada,
Sutta-Nipatta, Samyutta-Nikaya and many others.
Adherents: Over 300 million throughout China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Korea and Tibet
Sects: Buddhism today is divided into three [ 3 ] main sects:
Theravâda, or Hinayâna (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia),
Mahâyâna (China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea), and Vajrayâna (Tibet, Mongolia and Japan).
Zen Buddhism, well known in the West, is a Japanese Mahayana School.


Life's goal is nirvâna. Toward that end, Buddha's teachings are capsulized in the Four Noble Truths, chatvâri ârya satyâni:

1. the truth of suffering: Suffering, duhkha, is the central fact of life. Being born is pain, growing old is pain, sickness is pain, death is pain. Union with what we dislike is pain, separation from what we like is pain, not obtaining what we desire is pain.

2. the truth of the origin (samudâya) of suffering: The cause of suffering is the desire (icçhâ), craving (tanhâ) or thirst (trishnâ) for sensual pleasures, for existence and experience, for worldly possessions and power. This craving binds one to the wheel of rebirth, saµsâra.

3. the truth of the cessation (nirodha) of suffering: Suffering can be brought to an end only by the complete cessation of desires-the forsaking, relinquishing and detaching of oneself from desire and craving.

4. the truth of the path (mârga) to ending suffering: The means to the end of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path (ârya âshÝânga mârga), right belief, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.

Buddhist Beliefs

1. I believe that the Supreme is completely transcendent and can be described as Sűnya, a void or state of nonbeing.

2. I believe in the Four Noble Truths: i. that suffering is universal; ii. that desire is the cause of suffering; iii. that suffering may be ended by the annihilation of desire; & iv. that to end desire one must follow the Eight-Fold Path.

3. I believe in the Eight-Fold Path of right belief, right aims, right speech, right actions, right occupation, right endeavor, right mindfulness and right meditation.

4. I believe that life's aim is to end suffering through the annihilation of individual existence and absorption into nirvâ†a, the Real.

5. I believe in the "Middle Path," living moderately, avoiding extremes of luxury and asceticism.

6. I believe in the greatness of self-giving love and compassion toward all creatures that live, for these contain merit exceeding the giving of offerings to the Gods.

7. I believe in the sanctity of the Buddha and in the sacred scriptures of Buddhism: the Tripitaka (Three Baskets of Wisdom) and/or the Mahâyâna Sűtras.

8. I believe that man's true nature is divine and eternal, yet his individuality is subject to the change that affects all forms and is therefore transient, dissolving at liberation into nirvâna.

9. I believe in dharma (the Way), karma (cause and effect), reincarnation, the sa–ga (brotherhood of seekers) and the passage on Earth as an opportunity to end the cycle of birth and death.


Goals of Buddhism

The primary goal of the Buddhists is nirvâna, defined as the end of change, literally meaning "blowing out," as one blows out a candle. Theravâda tradition describes the indescribable as "peace and tranquility." The Mahâyâna and Vajrayâna traditions view it as "neither existence nor nonexistence," "emptiness and the unchanging essence of the Buddha" and "ultimate Reality." It is synonymous with release from the bonds of desire, ego, suffering and rebirth. Buddha never defined nirvâ†a, except to say, "There is an unborn, an unoriginated, an unmade, an uncompounded," and it lies beyond the experiences of the senses. Nirvâna is not a state of annihilation, but of peace and reality. As with Jainism, Buddhism has no creator God and thus no union with Him.

Path of Attainment

Buddhism takes followers through progressive stages of dhyâna, samâpatti and samâdhi. Dhyâna is meditation, which leads to moral and intellectual purification, and to detachment which leads to pure consciousness. The samâpattis, or further dhyânas, lead through a progressive nullification of psychic, mental and emotional activity to a state which is perfect solitude, neither perception nor nonperception. This leads further to samâdhi, supernatural consciousness and, finally, entrance into the ineffable nirvâ†a. Many Buddhists understand the ultimate destiny and goal to be a heaven of bliss where one can enjoy eternity with the Bodhisattvas. Mahâyâna places less value on monasticism than Theravâda and differs further in believing one can rely on the active help of other realized beings for salvation. Vajrayâna, also called Tantric or Mantrayâna Buddhism, stresses tantric rituals and yoga practices under the guidance of a guru. Its recognition of and involvement in the supernatural distinguishes it from other Buddhist schools.

Truth is One :: Paths are Many
A study comparing the essential beliefs of World Religions