I understand Buddhism to be a philosophy… a way of living… suggestions for transformation toward our ideal self and society.
Buddhism is also a religion for more than 300 million people worldwide. The word is from the Sanskrit ‘budhi’ meaning ‘to awaken’.
Buddhism has its origins 2,500 years ago when a man named Siddhartha Gautama, who would be come known as “the Buddha,” was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.
Buddha was a teacher. As a young Prince, he had four transformative encounters while venturing out of the comfort zone of his palace. He encountered an old man, a sick man, a dead man and monk/spiritual teacher. He recognized his spiritual hunger and sets off to discover enlightenment.
He teaches Four Noble Truths:
Life is suffering.
We cause our own suffering by ignorance, desire/carving and Karma.
We can end suffering. The extinguishing of all human ignorance and Karma results in a state known as Nirvana.
The Eight-Fold Path can lead to the cessation of suffering.
“The Eight-Fold Path” (also known as The Middle Path or Middle Way), is a guide to understand and practice a path to cease suffering and achieve spiritual enlightenment.
Right view (vision/understanding): accepting the Four Noble Truths are fundamental and true while providing e path toward transformation.
Right thought (intentions/motivations/aspirations/attitudes): living without attachment (letting go) while being kind and compassionate.
Right speech: speaking with clarity and truthfulness while avoiding slander, gossip, lying, untrue, harmful and/or abusive talk.
Right action (conduct): acting without violence (ahimsa) or exploitation; no stealing or sexual impropriety.
Right livelihood (means of making a living): working without slaughtering animals or doing jobs that violate others.
Right mental effort (attitude/diligence): consciously living along a transformative path of creativity and healing towards wholeness while avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy. Think conscious personal evolution.
Right mindfulness: maintaining awareness and clarity of one’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual reality.
Right concentration (meditation): meditating with single-mindedness to reach the highest level of consciousness/enlightenment. This is known as Buddha-hood.