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A brief summary of Buddhism

Material donated by Dimuthu Calyaneratne of Sri Lanka

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Question Answer
Is it a religion? Yes
Is it an applied philosophy? Yes*
Founded by: Siddhartha Gauthama
Is it a path to eliminate suffering? Yes (noble eight fold path) *
Does it endorse the existence of soul? No*
Does it endorse that worldly things are permanent? No*
Does it endorse the existence of worldly happiness? No*
Is it documented? Yes, in the Tipitaka
    When was Tipitaka documented? 83 BCE
   Where was Tipitaka documented? Sri Lanka
    In What Language was Tipitaka Documented? Pali
    In what Script was Tipitaka Documented? Sinhala
    How large is the Tipitaka? 11 times the size of the Bible!

* Unlike most other major world religions.

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Other information:

bullet The birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (death with no rebirth) took place on the day of the full moon during the month of May. This has been declared Buddha Day by the United Nations.
bullet As of 2011-MAY, Buddha's parinirvana was believed by many to have ocurred 2555 years ago.

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Buddha's Teaching:

The four noble truths are:
  1. There is suffering.
  2. There is cause for suffering.
  3. There is cessation of suffering.
  4. There is path leading to the cessation of suffering.

One does not have to read the Tipitaka from beginning to end to understand the four noble truths. Each chapter is a sutra (synopsis), which Buddha would have used to explain the same four noble truths to his audiences under different circumstances.

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Attainment of enlightenment:

bullet Aim : To attain final liberation called Nibbana.
bullet Instruments : Mind and Body (Nama-rupa).
bullet Procedure : Follow the Noble eight-fold path i.e.
  1. Right View- To understand wholesome deeds, unwholesome deeds and comprehend the law of Karma.
  2. Right Intention- The intention of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.
  3. Right Speech- Abstaining from false speech, malicious speech, harsh speech and idle chatter.
  4. Right Action- Abstaining from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct.
  5. Right Livelihood- Abstaining from wrong and corrupt means of livelihood.
  6. Right Effort- Awakening zeal for abandoning of unwholesome states and arising & sustaining of wholesome states.
  7. Right Mindfulness- The four foundations of mindfulness (satipattana) namely contemplation on body, contemplation on feelings, contemplation on mind and contemplation on mind-objects.
  8. Right Concentration- Abandoning of five hindrances namely lust, ill-will sloth-torpor, worry-agitation and doubt through jhanas.

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Originally posted: 2004-DEC-29
Latest update: 2021-SEP-04
Author: Dimuthu Calyaneratne

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