BUDDHISM

The Dhamma (Dharma) & Meditation

The Dhamma (Dharma) & Meditation


The Dhamma (Dharma)

dhammaThe Dhamma is the second of the Three Refuges and is concerned with the beliefs and teachings of Buddhism.

The Three Universal Truths (the Three Marks of Existence)

Buddhism recognises three universal truths:

Anicca (impermanence) – all things change, nothing stays the same.

Anatta (no individual self) – there is no immortal soul and no individual self.

Dukkha (suffering) – suffering is universal, and can be worsened by greed and envy.

The Four Noble Truths

These are:

Dukkha – Life inevitably involves suffering.

Samudaya – Suffering has causes including jealousy, the desire for material wealth and the desire to be in control of life.

Nirodha – Suffering can be avoided if the worldly desire for power, wealth and fame can be left behind. This will lead to a contentment known as Nirvana.

Magga – The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path

eightfold path

The Noble Eight-fold Path is the method for reaching enlightenment. It requires a good understanding of the Four Noble Truths and instructs Buddhists how to live their daily lives. This path should be pursued in the context of the Buddha’s Middle Way concept of avoiding extremes.

Buddhists can reach Nirvana through meditation, moral behaviour and by learning wisdom. The Noble Eightfold Path involves all aspects of life including work, relationships, leisure and the way we treat others.

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Aims and methods of meditation

meditateThe aim of meditation is to reach enlightenment through concentrated contemplation.

Samatha meditation is about calming the mind while Vipassana meditation is about developing an insight into the impermanence of existence. Meditation can lead to a higher understanding of life which is called Nirvana.

Tipitaka (the Three Baskets)

The Tipitaka (or Tripitaka) is the holy text of Buddhism and it has three sections:

Vinaya Pitaka – This part is a set of rules for nuns and monks.

Sutta Pitaka – This contains the sayings of the Buddha and his close followers.

Abhidhamma Pitaka – This explains Buddha’s teachings.

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