Basic Facts of Buddhism

Founder: Buddha
Date: 520 BCE the Enlightenment of Buddha and his first sermon
Location: Northern India

Sacred Texts:Tripitaka

Spiritual Leader: Monks

Place of Worship: Temple

Symbols of Buddhism

Victory Banner: Buddha’s triumph over Mara (hindrances on the path to spiritualization);

Parasol: function is to cast a shadow of protection

Conch Shell: Announcing the truth of Buddha

Wheel: represents the teachings of Buddha (spokes=Eightfold Path, Rim=holds everything together, Hub=stabilizes the mind

Endless Knot: Buddha’s endless wisdom and compassion

Swastika: prosperity and long life

Treasure Vase: Storage of material desires

Golden Fishes: Two rivers of India, lunar and solar: happiness like a fish complete freedom in water

Lotus: progress of life through the mud and darkness

The Life of Buddha

Buddha was born to a wealthy family.  His mother died in childbirth, but his father overcompensated for the loss of her.  Life went on for Buddha and he became strong, wise, and well loved by one and all. His father was told that one day Buddha would renounce all that he had. This concerned his father greatly. Buddha's mother died shortly after the birth of Buddha. Soon the day that Buddha's father dreaded came. Buddha saw a man die on the side of the road through age and starvation. This affected Buddha greatly. He told his father that he was leaving. His father begged him to stay. Buddha's reply was he would if his father could promise him 4 things.

1. I should not die
2. No disease will come to me
3. Youth will never leave me
4. Prosperity will always be his companion

His father realized he could not do these things and wished his son well. Buddha wandered can attempted to find various ways to understand the world, enlightenment. He came to a stream and stayed with a group of monks. It was there that Buddha chose to severely starve himself believing that this will let him achieve enlightenment. He eventually realized that life in excess was not the answer to Enlightenment. It was then that he decided the way to achieve Enlightenment was to find a Middle Way. That means he wanted to balance both sides; excess withdrawal and extreme fulfillment would not let him find his answers.
It was under a tree that Enlightenment came to him, he transformed himself from Siddhartha Gautama to the Buddha. He roamed about India teaching and helping people learn his teachings. He was tempted by the god Mara, the manifestation of death and desire. Buddha was able to reject all temptations. According to Buddhism, Buddha ascended into the heavens to visit his mother and to teach the gods. He continued his teachings and eventually reached the city of Kushinagara where he died.
The Four Noble Truths

1. All Life is Suffering: It does not mean all is poor, but rather general dissatisfaction. We have no soul at the center of everything is no thing (nothing)
Our ego rules our lives

2. The Cause of Suffering is Desire: All desires are harmful because it pulls people away from Nirvana and distract us from life in the moment

3. Suffering Can End: Must end the suffering by ending desire. Must realize of no-self. Achieving Nirvana holds a person with no neuroses, no obsessions, no worries; Pure enjoyment and peace

4. The Middle Way, the Path

The Eightfold Path

1. Right Understanding: See things as they are, stay part of the moment. See things as they are, stay part of the moment
2. Right Thought: Kindness, compassion, harmlessness; move away of ego
3. Right Speech: Avoid lies, slander, cursing, raising voice, harsh words, speaking too much, gossip
4. Right Action: Harmonious to the environment, do not produce ill-will
5. Right Livelihood: Live an honorable life, do not harm
6. Right Effort: Getting rid of improper attitude and thoughts, stay away from the unproductive aspects of life
7. Right Mindfulness: Do not judge, observe; proper conduct
8. Right Concentration: Focus all thought on awareness