What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest and greatest religions. Originating in present-day northern India about 2,500 years ago, it has since influenced the lives of billions of people and many civilizations. For millennia, it was strictly an Asian religion but today its adherents can be found in the every continent in the world.

Buddhism is a path of spiritual liberation through inner peace, love, morality, and wisdom. It is based on the teachings of the historical Buddha who realized Enlightenment under the bodhi tree, and discovered the Four Noble Truths which includes the Eightfold Path, to help emancipate humanity from endless suffering (dukkha).  The Buddha taught that merely worshipping spiritual deities, performing rituals, idolizing prophets and holy books, and blind faith are ineffective to spiritual liberation. His path is essentially about psycho-spiritual self-mastery and a way of life through the practice of compassion and wisdom.

Buddhism is not about believing in creeds or in unproven claims but it is about seeing clearly and experiencing the truth (reality as it is) directly. The Buddha taught us to examine and see for ourselves rather than blindly accepting the opinions of others. Enlightenment is nothing more than seeing things as they are rather than wishing or hoping them to be.

His well-tested Eightfold Path offers freedom of mind and heart, a sort of awakening of the spirit that allows us to touch ultimate reality, which is our liberation from suffering. By opening our hearts to the world and serving others through compassion and wisdom, we transform ourselves and the world into a higher state of humanity. Finally, by walking the Buddhist path, the seeker can live more peacefully and joyfully in every moment. Our psycho-spiritual experience opens us up to the mystery and beauty of life.

A Non-theistic Religion

Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and way of life; it has a different view on what is ultimate reality. For Buddhists, the universe has a sacred non-personal essence that is the ground nature of all things. This essence is eternal and without form, therefore indescribable, but it can be experienced in everyday life. The opening of our eyes, minds, and experience to this sacredness is called Enlightenment. We call this ground nature of things by may names, such as Dharmakaya, emptiness (shunyata) or Buddha-nature.

“Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” – The Buddha