A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

An introduction to Buddhism

I just realized, I forgot to start at the beginning, with a brief description of what is Buddhism? Some call it a religion for it has a moral code, it has a religious order of monks and nuns, it has a place where bad souls go as compared to good ones. However Buddhism does not embrace a deity, that is omnipotent. Unlike some where you can be the worst person for 60 or more years, and as long as you honestly repent and ask for forgiveness from God, you will receive the same treatment in heaven as someone who has lived a moral life for the majority of their life. The Buddhist middle way or path requires a follower to do three things: firstly to be aware that their thoughts, speech and actions all have consequences, and to be mindful of them. Secondly being aware of these to lead a moral life, and finally to study, meditate and develop an understanding of the reality around us. The wealth that we derive from Buddhism, is safe from robbers, kings and any other force that could take our worldly possessions. The wealth is the happiness we derive from our moral thoughts, speech, an actions towards all other beings. Modern therapy methods are borrowing from Buddha’s teachings on an ever increasing basis, to combat the mental afflictions that beset people living in today’s hectic society. These treatments will address one problem or maybe a few, following Buddhism gives you the tools to fix your problems at the sources. There are rich as well as poor Buddhists, the same as every religion has wealthy and poor. The poor are not blessed more or les then the rich, rather happiness is not derived from material things. Wealth is acceptable, and Buddhists are encouraged to work diligently to provide their, and their families needs. If you have extra resources it is expected you will help those less fortunate, but in a way that does not increase or continue their sufferings. Buddhism is the same at its core, regardless of where it is found, however it adapts to each culture, in language, terms of reference, and many other ways. To be comprehended, and seen of value, the message must be first heard in a language a person can relate to. A rice farmer in China will have a different view of the world then a banker in New York would, yet they have the same desires and needs. They both desire to be more at peace, have a comfortable life for themselves and their families, and to leave this world in peace. When a Buddhist refers to any other religion, we use the labels or names that most people recognise, so as to be easily understood. WE don’t condemn the followers of any other religion to a lower status. If a person wishes to use Buddhist meditation or teachings to follow another path, we will gladly provide what knowledge we can, as the goal is to make us all better people, more peaceful, and compassionate. Over time I will cover how to become a Buddhist, the definitions of terms, and concepts. If I mention another religion, it is to show the difference between the belief systems. If I use wording that gives offence please forgive me, I am just starting this path. At times if you find I say the opposite of what I said, reflect on both. Use the criteria is the newer view, more compassionate, more tolerant, less judgemental, if it is then I have grown in my understanding. If I have not become more compassionate, it is a road that I need to traverse, and it is full of road blocks, potholes and other obstacles, or perhaps I haven’t looked at that part of the road map yet. If you are following me on my journey, I hope that it helps you, on your journey. No two people wil follow the same path, as no two people, not even identical twins have the same lives.

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