If you listen deeply, there’s just a slight shift of emphasis between “alone” and “all one.”
The Huayan or Flower Garland school of Mahayana Buddhism is respected to this day for the quality of its scholarship and teaching.
The word renunciation comes up frequently in discussions of Buddhism. What does it mean, exactly?
Dictionaries define prayer as a request for help or expression of gratitude directed to God, saints, or other godlike beings. Prayer is the central devotional activity of many religions.
What was life like for the first Buddhist monks? How did these followers of the historical Buddha become ordained and what rules did they live by? Though the actual story is shrouded a bit by the passing of centuries, the story of these first monks is fascinating.
Mahayana Buddhism developed six paramitas or perfections early in its history. Later, the list was fleshed out to include ten perfections.
The Huayan or Flower Garland school of Mahayana Buddhism is respected to this day for the quality of its scholarship and teaching. Huayan flourished in Tang Dynasty China and deeply influenced other schools of Mahayana, including Zen, called Chan Buddhism in China.
Buddhism is not a monolithic tradition. As it spread through Asia over more than two millennia, it divided into several sects, each with its own liturgies, rituals, and canon of scriptures. There are also doctrinal disagreements.
A sutra is a religious teaching, usually taking the form of an aphorism or short statement of beliefs. Sutra means the same thing in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism; however, the actual sutras are different according to each belief structure. Buddhists believe the sutras are the teachings of Buddha.
To become a Buddhist is to take refuge in the Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures. The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion.
In conversations about religion, there is often discussion about converting from one religion to another. For some people, Buddhism may offer an option if you are not finding yourself a good fit for the religion you currently practice.
Buddhism is practiced in many countries and cultures throughout the world. Mahayana Buddhism has played a significant role in China and it has a long and rich history.
In Buddhism, there are several lists of "perfections" (parami, Pali; paramita, Sanskrit). These various lists are of qualities that lead to buddhahood if practiced diligently and to perfection.
Thich Nhat Hanh (b. 1926) is a Vietnamese monk, teacher, author, and peace activist who has lived and taught in the West since the 1960s. His books, lectures, and retreats have brought the dharma to the world, and his influence on the development of Buddhism in the West is immeasurable.
In recent years, many practicing psychotherapists have adopted the Buddhist practice of mindfulness as part of their therapeutic toolkit. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), for example, are being used to treat conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. The results have been enormously encouraging.
Prajna is Sanskrit for "wisdom." Panna is the Pali equivalent, more often used in Theravada Buddhism. But what is "wisdom" in Buddhism?
If atheism is the absence of belief in a God or gods, then many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists.
In the West, Buddhist nuns don't always call themselves "nuns," preferring to call themselves "monastics" or "teachers." But "nun" could work. The English word "nun" comes from the Old English nunne, which could refer to a priestess or any woman living under religious vows.
Buddhism calls itself a "non-theistic" religion. The historical Buddha taught that believing in and worshipping gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. Due to this, many Buddhists consider themselves to be atheists.
Art historians have taken an interest in Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) in recent years. The old Zen master's ink brush paintings and calligraphy are prized today for their freshness and vibrancy. But even without the paintings, Hakuin's impact on Japanese Zen is incalculable.
Many supernatural creatures populate Buddhist literature, but among these Mara is unique. He is one of the earliest non-human beings to appear in Buddhist scriptures.
The Japanese Buddhist school of Shingon is something of an anomaly. It is a Mahayana school, but it is also a form of esoteric or tantric Buddhism and the only living Vajrayana school outside of Tibetan Buddhism. How did that happen?
If you are to practice Buddhism with formal sincerity rather than just as an intellectual exercise, you will soon confront the fact that there are many, many different rituals is Buddhism.
When many Westerners think of "Buddha," usually they don't visualize the Buddha of history, meditating or teaching. This "true" Buddha is known more completely as Gautama Buddha or Shakyamuni Buddha and is almost always depicted in deep meditation or contemplation.
To Buddhists, war is akusala—unskillful, evil. Still, Buddhists sometimes fight in wars. Is war always wrong? Is there such a thing as a "just war" theory in Buddhism?
Western Buddhists often recoil at the word faith. In a religious context, faith has come to mean stubborn and unquestioning acceptance of dogma. Whether that's what it's supposed to mean is a question for another discussion, but in any case, that's not what Buddhism is about. The Buddha taught us to not accept any teaching, including his, without testing and examining it for ourselves.
The word nirvana is so prevalent for English speakers that its true meaning is often lost. The word has been adopted to mean "bliss" or "tranquility." Nirvana also is the name of a famous American grunge band, as well as of many consumer products, from bottled water to perfume. But what is it? And how does it fit into Buddhism?
The historical Buddha's most famous statement on women came about when his stepmother and aunt, Maha Pajapati Gotami, asked to join the sangha and become a nun. According to the Pali Vinaya, the Buddha initially refused her request. Eventually, he relented, but in so doing, the scipture says, he made conditions and a prediction that remain controversial to this day.
Loving-kindness is defined in English dictionaries as a feeling of benevolent affection, but in Buddhism, loving-kindness (in Pali, Metta; in Sanskrit, Maitri) is thought of as a mental state or attitude, cultivated and maintained by practice. This cultivation of loving-kindness is an essential part of Buddhism.
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