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The religion's core beliefs

Buddhism, like most of the great religions of the world, is divided into a number of different traditions. However, most traditions share a common set of fundamental beliefs.

One fundamental belief involves reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana  - a state of liberation and freedom from suffering.

The Three Trainings or Practices:

These three consist of:

1. Sila: Virtue, good conduct, morality. This is based on two fundamental principles:


The principle of equality: that all living entities are equal.


The principle of reciprocity: This is the "Golden Rule" in Christianity -- to do onto others as you would wish them do onto you. It is found in all major religions.

2. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation, mental development. Developing one's mind is the path to wisdom which in turn leads to personal freedom. Mental development also strengthens and controls our mind; this helps us maintain good conduct.

3. Prajna: Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment. This is the real heart of Buddhism. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm.

The Four Noble Truths:

The Buddha's Four Noble Truths explore human suffering. They may be described (somewhat simplistically) as:

  1. Dukkha: Suffering exists: (Suffering is real and and almost universal. Suffering has many causes: loss, sickness, pain, failure, the impermanence of pleasure.)
  2. Samudaya: There is a cause for suffering. (It is the desire to have and control things. It can take many forms: craving of sensual pleasures; the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations, like fear, anger or jealousy.)
  3. Nirodha: There is an end to suffering. (Suffering ceases with the final liberation of Nirvana (a.k.a. Nibbana). The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. It lets go of any desire or craving.)
  4. Magga: In order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path.

The Five Precepts:

These are rules to live by. They are somewhat analogous to the second half of the Ten Commandments in Judaism and Christianity -- that part of the Decalogue which describes behaviors to avoid.

  1. Do not kill. This is sometimes translated as "not harming" or an absence of violence.
  2. Do not steal. This is generally interpreted as including the avoidance of fraud and economic exploitation.
  3. Do not lie. This is sometimes interpreted as including name calling, gossip, etc.
  4. Do not misuse sex. For monks and nuns, this means any departure from complete celibacy. For the laity, adultery is forbidden, along with any sexual harassment or exploitation, including that within marriage. The Buddha did not discuss consensual premarital sex within a committed relationship; Buddhist traditions differ on this.
  5. Do not consume alcohol or other drugs. The main concern here is that intoxicants cloud the mind. Some have included as a drug other methods of divorcing ourselves from reality -- e.g. movies, television, the Internet. 1

The Eightfold Path:

The first two paths listed in the Eightfold Path, described below refer to discernment; the last three belong to concentration; the middle three are related to virtue.

The Buddha's Eightfold Path consists of:

bullet Panna: Discernment, wisdom:
bullet 1) Samma ditthi: Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths
bullet 2) Samma sankappa: Right thinking; following the right path in life

Sila: Virtue, morality:
bullet 3) Samma vaca: Right speech: no lying, criticism, condemning, gossip, harsh language
bullet 4) Samma kammanta Right conduct by following the Five Precepts
bullet 5) Samma ajiva: Right livelihood; support yourself without harming others

bullet Samadhi: Concentration, meditation:
bullet 6) Samma vayama Right Effort: promote good thoughts; conquer evil thoughts
bullet 7) Samma sati Right Mindfulness: Become aware of your body, mind and feelings
bullet 8) Samma samadhi Right Concentration: Meditate to achieve a higher state of consciousness


  1. Guy Newland, Untitled essay at:
  2. Bhikkhu Bodhi, "The Noble Eightfold Path. The Way to the End of Suffering," Buddhist Information, at:
To put It Simply:

This Buddha is from Tibet.
This is Buddha.

This Buddha is from China.

Buddhists do not worship a God.  
Buddhists want Nirvana.  Nirvana has 8 parts.  These are the right understanding, believes, speaking, doing, living, trying, remembering and thinking.   

Buddhists believe bad makes more bad and good makes good.  This is called karma.

They follow the life and teaching of Buddha.  They must

  • be kind and helpful
  • not kill
  • not steal
  • not lie
  • not use drugs or alcohol.

Buddhists meditate.  This is a special way of thinking and relaxing.  The statues of Buddha help people meditate.


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