International Drikung Kagyu Council
Honoured to organise the 800th Commemoration of Lord Jigten Sumong's Maha Parinirvana.

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Buddha's Teachings

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

 

THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS

One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"

During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.

1. Nothing is lost in the universe

The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.

We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.

2. Everything Changes

The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.

Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.

3. Law of Cause and Effect

The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.

The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future.
The Buddha said,

"The kind of seed sown
will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed,
You will joyfully gather good fruit."

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
Once there was a woman named Kisagotami, whose first-born son died. She was so stricken with grief that she roamed the streets carrying the dead body and asking for help to bring her son back to life. A kind and wise man took her to the Buddha.

The Buddha told her, "Fetch me a handful of mustard seeds and I will bring your child back to life." Joyfully Kisagotami started off to get them. Then the Buddha added, "But the seeds must come from a family that has not known death."

Kisagotami went from door to door in the whole village asking for the mustard seeds, but everyone said, "Oh, there have been many deaths here", "I lost my father", I lost my sister". She could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally Kisagotami returned to the Buddha and said, "There is death in every family. Everyone dies. Now I understand your teaching."

The Buddha said, "No one can escape death and unhappiness. If people expect only happiness in life, they will be disappointed."

Things are not always the way we want them to be, but we can learn to understand them. When we get sick, we go to a doctor and ask:

What's wrong with me?
Why am I sick?
What will cure me?
What do I have to do get well?

The Buddha is like a good doctor. First a good doctor diagnoses the illness. Next he finds out what has caused it. Then he decides what the cure is. Finally he prescribes the medicine or gives the treatment that will make the patient well again.

The Four Noble Truths
1. There is Suffering, suffering is common to all.
2. Cause of Suffering, we are the cause of our suffering.
3. End of Suffering, stop doing what causes suffering.
4. Path to end Suffering, everyone can be enlightened.

1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
Birth- When we are born, we cry.
Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable.
Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.

Other things we suffer from are:
Being with those we dislike,
Being apart from those we love,
Not getting what we want,
All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.

The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:

"There is happiness in life,
happiness in friendship,
happiness of a family,
happiness in a healthy body and mind,
...but when one loses them, there is suffering."

2. The cause of suffering
The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.

3. The end of suffering
To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.

4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.

 

THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel, the only point which is fixed, Nirvana. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.

1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.

2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.

3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.

4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.

5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."

6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.

7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds. Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds. Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The harvest is real and lasting happiness.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

 

Buddha's Parinirvana

When he was approaching the age of eighty, he ate something spoiled and realized he was going to die of food poisoning. Helped by his disciples, he managed to travel as far as Kusinhagara, where he lay down for the last time beside a tree.

Buddha called his cousin Ananda and said:
- "I am old and my pilgrimage in this life is nearing its end. My body looks like an old cart that has been used a great deal and is still working only because some of its parts are precariously tied up with straps of leather. But that's enough, now it's time to go."

Then he turned to his disciples and asked if anyone had any doubts. Nobody said a word. He asked the same question three times, but they all remained in silence.

Buddha died smiling. His teachings, today codified in the form of a philosophical religion, are spread across most of Asia. In essence, they consist of understanding oneself profoundly and having a deep respect for one's neighbor.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

Turning the Wheel of Dharma

He who once was called Siddhartha, now transformed into Buddha, left behind him the tree under whose branches he had managed to reach enlightenment, and set out for the city of Sarnath, where he met his old companions and drew a circle on the ground to represent the wheel of existence that leads constantly to birth and death. He explained that he had not been happy as a prince who owned everything, nor had he learned wisdom through total renunciation. What human beings should seek in order to reach Paradise was the so-called "middle way": neither seeking pain, nor being a slave to pleasure.

Impressed at what they heard from Buddha, the men decided to follow him on his pilgrimages from town to town. As they heard the good news, more and more disciples joined the group, and Buddha began to organize communities of devotees, following the principle that they could help one another mutually in the duties of body and spirit.

On one of his journeys, Buddha returned to his home town, where his father grieved deeply on seeing him begging for alms. But he kissed his father's feet and said: "you, Sire, belong to a lineage of kings, but I belong to a lineage of Buddhas, and millions of them also lived begging for alms." The king remembered the prophecy that had been made when his son was conceived, and made his peace with Buddha. His son and his wife, who for so many years had complained of having been abandoned, eventually understood his mission and founded a community which began to spread his teachings.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

 

In Search of The Truth

For many years he wandered all over the north of India, meeting monks and holy men who traveled around there, learning the oral traditions that spoke of reincarnation, illusion and paying for the sins of past lives (karma). When he felt that he had learned enough, he built himself a shelter on the banks of the River Nairanjana, where he lived doing penance and meditating.

His life style and will power ended up drawing the attention of other men who in their search for the truth came to him for spiritual advice. But after six long years, all that Siddhartha could notice was that his body was weaker and weaker and the constant infections did not let him meditate as he should.

The legend says that one morning, when he went into the river to make his toilet, he no longer had the strength to rise. When he was about to drown, a tree bent down its branches and let him clutch to them not to be swept away by the current. Exhausted, he managed to reach the river bank before fainting.

Hours later, a peasant passed by, a milk-vendor who offered him a little food. Siddhartha accepted, to the disgust of the other men who lived there with him. Believing that saint no longer to possess the strength to resist temptation, they decided to leave him immediately. But he gladly drank the milk offered him, feeling that it was a sign from God and a heaven-sent blessing.

Encouraged by the meal he had just eaten, he lent no importance to being abandoned by his old disciples; he sat himself down next to a fig-tree and decided to go on meditating about life and suffering. To test him, the god Mara sent three of his daughters to try to distract him with thoughts of sex, thirst, and the pleasures of life. But Siddhartha was so absorbed in his meditation that he did not notice any of this; at that very moment he was experiencing a sort of revelation, remembering all his past lives. As he did so, he also recalled the lessons he had forgotten (all men learn the necessary, but rarely are we are able to put to use what we have learned).

In his state of bliss, he experienced Paradise (Nirvana), where "there is no earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, it is neither this world nor another world, and there is no sun, no moon, no birth and no death. There lies the end of all of man's suffering."

When that morning came to an end, he had reached the true meaning of life and become Buddha (the Enlightened One). But instead of remaining in this state for the rest of his days, he decided to go back to living among others and to teach everyone all that he had learned and experienced.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

 

Buddha's Renunciation

Siddhartha's childhood and adolescence were very like ours; his parents wanted by all means to protect their son from knowing about the misery of the world. So he led his life confined between the walls of the gigantic palace where his parents lived and where everything seemed perfect and harmonious. He married, had a son and knew only the pleasures and delights of life. One night, however, when he turned 29, he asked one of the guards to take him into town. The guard objected, for the king could become furious, but Siddhartha was so insistent that the man eventually gave in, and they left the palace together.

The first thing they saw was an old beggar with a sad expression on his face, asking for alms. Further ahead they came across a group of lepers, and right after them a funeral procession passed by. "I have never seen this before!" he must have said to the guard, who may have answered: "Well, that's old age, and that's disease, and death." On their way back to the palace, they came upon a holy man, his hair shorn and wearing only a yellow cloak, who said: "my life was a torment, so I have given everything up so that I don't have to incarnate as myself and suffer old age and sickness and death all over again."

The following night, Siddhartha waited until his wife and son had fallen asleep. He entered the room quietly, kissed them both and again asked the guard to escort him out of the palace; there he handed him his sword with the jewel-set hilt, his clothes made with the finest tissues that the human hand could weave, asking him to return them all to his father; then he shaved his head, covered his body with a yellow mantle and set out in search of an answer to the suffering of the world.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

 

The Birth of Buddha

Siddhartha - whose name means "the one whose objective is attained" - was born into a noble family around the year 560 AC. in the city of Kapilavastu in Nepal. Legend says, queen Mayadevi had a vision: six elephants, each one with a lotus flower on his back, were coming in her direction. The next instant, Siddhartha was conceived. During her pregnancy, Queen Maya, his mother, decided to call the wise men in the kingdom to interpret the vision she had had, and they were unanimous in affirming that the child about to be brought into the world would be a great king or a great priest.

 

ABOUT BUDDHA


 The Birth of Buddha  |  Buddha's Renunciation  |  In Search of The Truth  |  Turning the Wheel of Dharma  |  Buddha's Parinirvana  |  Buddha's Teachings

ABOUT BUDDHA
The Birth of Buddha
Buddha's Renunciation
In Search of Truth
Turning the Wheel of Dharma
Buddha's Parinirvana
Buddha's Teachings

ABOUT DHARMA
Buddhadharma
Dharmawheel
The Four Noble Truth
Dharma Practice


BUDDHIST BELIEFS
What is the Mind?
Reincarnation
Karma
Renunciation
Loving Kindness and Compassion

ABOUT VAJRAYANA
What is Vajrayana?
Why Practice Vajrayana?
Authentic Vajrayana
Levels of Vajrayana
Attachment and Vajrayana
HOW TO MEDITATE
What to Meditate On
Sitting in Meditation
Preparing for Meditation
The Meditation Session
A Meditation Schedule

MORE
The Kagyu Lineage
Meaning of Hung Symbol
Meaning of Drikung
Life Story of Achi
The Three Protectors