Buddhism Faith: Standard Beliefs and Practices

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The basic doctrines of early Buddhism, which remain common to all Buddhism, consist of the four worthy realities: existence is suffering ( dukhka ); suffering has a cause, particularly yearning and device ( trishna ); there is a cessation of suffering, which is nirvana; and there is a course to the cessation of suffering, the eightfold course of right views, ideal self-discipline, ideal speech, perfect action, ideal livelihood, ideal effort, ideal mindfulness, and best concentration. Buddhism typically explains fact in terms of process and relation rather of entity or substance.Experience is evaluated

into 5 aggregates( skandhas ). The really first, type ( rupa ), refers to material presence; the following 4, experiences( vedana), understandings ( samjna ), psychic constructs( samskara ), and awareness ( vijnana ), explain psychological processes. The main Buddhist teaching of non-self( anatman) asserts that in the 5 aggregates no individually existing, immutable self, or soul, can be discovered. All phenomena establish in interrelation and in dependence on causes and conditions, and therefore undergo inescapable decay and cessation. The casual conditions are defined in a 12-membered chain called dependent origination( pratityasamutpada) whose links are: lack of understanding, predisposition, awareness, name-form, the senses, contact, yearning, understanding, winding up being, birth, aging, and death, whence again ignorance.With this distinctive view of cause and effect, Buddhism accepts the pan-Indian presupposition of samsara, in which living beings are caught in a continuous cycle of birth-and-death, with the momentum to renewal provided by one’s previous physical and psychological actions( see karma). The release from this cycle of renewal and suffering is the overall transcendence called nirvana.From the beginning, meditation and observance of ethical precepts were the structure of Buddhist practice. The 5 fundamental moral precepts, carried out

by members of monastic orders and the laypeople, are to prevent taking life, taking, acting unchastely, speaking falsely, and drinking intoxicants. Members of monastic orders also take five additional precepts: to avoid consuming at incorrect times, from seeing secular house entertainments, from using garlands, scents, and other physical accessories, from sleeping in high and wide beds, and from getting money. Their lives are further managed by a large number of standards called the Pratimoksa. The monastic order (sangha) is venerated as one of the 3 gems, in addition to the dharma, or spiritual teaching, and the Buddha. Lay practices such as the praise of stupas( burial mounds including antiques) predate Buddhism and set off later on ritualistic and devotional practices.The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.See more Encyclopedia articles on: Buddhism

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