Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from ‘budhi’, ‘to awaken’. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35. The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.
Buddhists believe that a former existence is an important preliminary to man’s condition upon earth. Unlike other religions, which believe in a life before birth like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Buddhists teach reincarnation: a sequel of rebirths that are an inexorable sign of bad karma in previous lives. Thus, Buddhism essentially regards mortality negatively and with pessimism and rebirth here as an estrangement from ultimate reality.
Only one thing is permanent in Buddhism
Buddhists believe that, if we really pay attention, we can see that everything in the outside world is changing. Quickly like a candle flame or slowly like a mountain, even the most “solid” things change. They have no truly permanent essence.
Our inner world of thoughts and feelings are in this same state of constant change. The more we realize how everything is impermanent and dependent on many conditions, the healthier a perspective we can keep on our lives, our relationships, possessions, and values — focusing on what truly matters. If everything comes and goes, is there anything that stays? According to Buddhism, the only thing that is always present is the awareness in which all these experiences and phenomena appear. This awareness is not only timeless but also inherently joyful.
A way of peace
In general, Buddhism is a way of finding peace within oneself. It is a religion that helps us to find the happiness and contentment we seek. Buddhists develop inner peace, kindness and wisdom through their daily practice; and then share their experience with others bringing real benefit to this world. They try not to harm others and to live peacefully and gently, working towards the ultimate goal of pure and lasting happiness for all living beings.