Buddhism Notes

Buddhism developed in India, and is based on many of the core concepts of Hinduism. Buddhists believe in an endless cycle of reincarnation, or samsara, which is similar to beliefs of Hinduism. However, Buddhists do not believe that deities are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition, the caste system is rejected by Buddhists who believe instead that one is reincarnated until they can achieve nirvana, best described as spiritual enlightenment.

Buddha: Hindu for “enlightened one." 

Siddhartha Gautama: (563?-483?BCE), Indian philosopher and the founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha was born into the Brahmin caste, and by all account led a luxurious lifestyle. However, he was troubled by the human misery that he saw around him everyday. Upon reflection, he deduced that desire was the root caused of all suffering. Also known as the Buddha.

Nirvana: In Buddhism, spiritual enlightenment.

Dharma: The act of fulfilling one's duty in life. Associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

Four Noble Truths: Siddhartha's Gautama philosophy of the nature of human suffering and its relation to desire is articulated by four statements

  1. There is suffering.
  2. There is a cause to suffering.
  3. There is an end to suffering.
  4. The is a path out of suffering (the Noble 8-fold path)
Eightfold Path: Code of behavior for followers of Buddhism.
  1. Right Views means to keep ourselves free from prejudice, superstition and delusion... and to see aright the true nature of life.
  2. Right Thoughts means to turn away from the hypocrisies of this world and to direct our minds toward Truth and Positive Attitudes and Action.
  3. Right Conduct means to see that our deeds are peaceable, benevolent, compassionate and pure... and to live the Teachings daily.
  4. Right Speech means to refrain from pointless and harmful talk... to speak kindly and courteously to all.
  5. Right Livelihood means to earn our living in such a way as to entail no evil consequences. To seek that employment to which can give our complete enthusiasm and devotion.
  6. Right Effort means to direct our efforts continually to the overcoming of ignorance and craving desires.
  7. Right Mindfulness means to cherish good and pure thoughts, for all that we say and do arises from our thoughts.
  8. Right Meditation (or Concentration) means to concentrate on the Oneness of all life and the Buddhahood that exists within all beings.
Tripitaka: The collection of religious writings by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

Wheel of Life: important symbol of Buddhism. It represents the endless cycle of life through reincarnation.

Dalai Lama: The spiritual leader of the Tibetan sect of Buddhism, and is considered to be the reincarnation of the bodhisattva, or "Buddha-to-be."