Buddhism 101

Four Noble Truths

Suffering exists
Suffering arises from ignorance (attachment to desires)
Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path

 

The Eight-fold Path:

Quality Eight-fold Path
Wisdom (panna) Right Understanding
Right Thought
Morality (sila) Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Meditation (samadhi) Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Contemplation

Three Characteristics of Existence

Transiency, impermanence, subject to change (anicca)

Unsatisfactoriness, suffering, Sorrow (dukkha)

Non-self, unsubstantiality, Selflessness (anatta)

 

Five Aggregates (skandhas)

Form (rupa) - outer components

Feeling (vedana) - Feelings arise when there is contact between the six internal organs and the six external objects.

Perception (samjna) - related to the six external objects

Impulses (samskara) - Volition, mental formations. The response of the will to the six external objects

Consciousness (vijnana) - grasps the characteristics of the six external objects (Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, Tactile, Mental consciousness)

Five Hindrances

Sensual desire

Aversion, ill will, hatred

Sloth and torpor

Restlessness, worry

Skeptical doubt

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Mindfulness

Investigation of Dhamma

Energy

Rapture or happiness

Tranquillity, calm

Concentration

Equanimity

The Ten Transcendental Virtues (paramis)

Generosity (dana)

Morality (sila)

Renunciation (nekkhamma)

Wisdom (panna)

Energy (viriya)

Patience (khanti)

Truthfulness (sacca)

Resolution (adhitthana)

Loving-Kindness (metta)

Equanimity (upekkha)

   

Four Boundless States (brahmaviharas)

Helpful on the way to Nirvana. They help in dissolving the idea of a separate self.

Loving-kindness (metta) - good-will, friendship, unconditional love for all beings. Not selfish love or hatred.

Compassion (karuna) - empathy, to feel with someone instead of for someone. Not pity or cruelty.

Sympathetic Joy (mudita) - spontaneous joy in response to others success. Not hypocrisy or envy.

Equanimity (upekkha) -even-mindedness based on insight into the nature of things. Not indifference or anxiety.

 

Ten Fetters of Existence

Self-delusion

Doubt, uncertainty

Clinging to rites and ritual

Sensual desire

Ill Will, resentment

Greed for Material (form) Existence

Greed for Immaterial (formless) Existence

Conceit

Restlessness, agitation

Four Boundless States (brahmaviharas) Helpful on the way to Nirvana. They help in dissolving the idea of a separate self.

Loving-kindness (metta) - good-will, friendship, unconditional love for all beings. Not selfish love or hatred.

Compassion (karuna) - empathy, to feel with someone instead of for someone. Not pity or cruelty.

Sympathetic Joy (mudita) - spontaneous joy in response to others success. Not hypocrisy or envy.

Equanimity (upekkha) -even-mindedness based on insight into the nature of things. Not indifference or anxiety.

 

 
   
   

 

 

 

Taking Refuge (The Basic Vow)

I take refuge in the Buddha (the one who shows the way)

I take refuge in the Dharma (the way of understanding and love)

I take refuge in the Sangha (the community that lives in harmony and mindfulness)

 

The Five Precepts:

1. to abstain from killing

2. to abstain from stealing

3. to abstain from sexual misconduct

4. to abstain from lying

5. to abstain from intoxicants

 

Buddhist Vows

Living beings are limitless, I vow to save them.

Defilements are inexhaustible, I vow to cut through them.

Dharma teachings are immeasurable, I vow to learn them

The Buddha's path is unsurpassable, I vow to realize it

And become the Buddha.

 

Recommended Books

Introductory:

What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula. A beautifully clear introduction to Buddhist doctrine, written by a Sri Lankan scholar. Very intelligible, even to non-Buddhists.

Entering the Stream: An Introduction to the Buddha and his Teachings, ed. by Samuel Bercholz and Sherab Chodzin Kohn. London: Rider (1994). An excellent anthology of short writings from a number of different viewpoints. Very accessible to those who have only a casual interest in Buddhism, while also containing much of value for serious students of the teaching. Buddha's Life

 

Old Path, White Clouds: the life story of the Buddha, by Thich Nhat Hanh. London: Rider (1991). ISBN 0-7126-5417-8. A biography of the founder of Buddhism, written in modern language by a Vietnamese monk who is a long-time activist for peace and human rights. Like being there with the Buddha. (600 pages)

Gautama Buddha: in Life and Legend by Betty Kellen. Graham Brash (1989). A smaller (150 page) biography, though without the insight of Hanh's book.Sutras

The Heart Sutra.

The Heart of Understanding  Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. by Thich Nhat Hanh: Parallax Press

The Diamond Sutra.

The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra.by Thich Nhat Hanh Parallax Press

Soto Zen

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki. New York: Weatherhill (1970), reprinted in 1980. A Soto Zen classic. A book about life, an awakened, deliberate and meaningful life. Scripture translations and related materials: Buddhist Meditation

Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratana. Boston: Wisdom (1993). ISBN 0-8617-1064-9 (paperbound). An guide to Vipassana (Insight) meditation. Tibetan Buddhism

Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, by John Powers. Snow Lion (1995). ISBN 1-55939-026-3. The best introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Covers general Buddhism basics, the history and development of Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra and an outline of the 4 major schools.The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche