Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Buddhism is a religion based on teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning "the awakened one".
Buddhism was founded as a form of atheism that rejected the belief in a personal creator God (Ishvara).
Siddhartha Gautama found it difficult to reconcile the reality of suffering, judgment and evil with the existence of a God.
There are two major branches of Buddhism: Theravada (Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia) and Mahayana (East Asia). A third branch is Vajrayana (also known as Lamaism or Tantrism).
Buddhism is a philosophy of self-perfection, represented by the teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
Buddhism follows various "scriptures" compiled in the Pali Canon.
The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels (triple gem): the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community).
Life of the Buddha
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Samsara is defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death.
Samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence (physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering).
Samsara arises out of avidya (ignorance) and is characterized by dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction).
In the Buddhist view, liberation from samsara is possible by following the Buddhist path.
Karma is the force that drives Samsara. Good or bad actions come back to you, either in this life, or in a future existence.
Rebirth refers to a process whereby beings go through a succession of lifetimes.
Buddhism rejects the concepts of an eternal soul, as in Hinduism and Christianity.
Rebirth must be understood as the continuation of a dynamic, ever-changing process of "dependent arising" determined by the laws of cause and effect (karma) rather than that of one being, transmigrating or incarnating from one existence to the next.
Each rebirth takes place within one of five realms according to Theravadins, or six according to other schools.
- Naraka beings: those who live in one of many Narakas (Hells)
- Preta: sometimes sharing some space with humans, but invisible to most people; an important variety is the hungry ghost
- Animals: sharing space with humans, but considered another type of life
- Human beings: one of the realms of rebirth in which attaining Nirvana is possible
- Asuras: lowly deities, demons, titans, antigods; not recognized by Theravada (Mahavihara) tradition as a separate realm
- Devas including Brahmas: gods, deities, spirits, angels
The above are further subdivided into 31 planes of existence.
Rebirths in some of the higher heavens can be attained only by skilled Buddhist practitioners known as anagamis (non-returners).
Rebirths in the arupa-dhatu (formless realms) can be attained by only those who can meditate on the arupajhanas, the highest object of meditation.
According to East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, there is an intermediate state between one life and the next. The orthodox Theravada position rejects this; however there are passages in the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon (the collection of texts on which the Theravada tradition is based), that seem to lend support to the idea that the Buddha taught of an intermediate stage between one life and the next.
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