w w w . g l o b a l e t h i c p e n a n g . n e t.

Indigenous Spiritualities
Chinese Religion
Baha'i Faith

The five precepts
of Buddhism

I vow to abstain from killing living beings.

I vow to abstain from taking what is not given.

I vow to abstain from sexual misconduct.

I vow to abstain from lying.

I vow to abstain from taking intoxicants.








It has often been asserted that Buddhism is not really a religion but a philosophy. However, Buddhism is not a philosophy. It is a religion; it is a doctrine of liberation and a way to liberation.

And in fact the Buddha understood himself as something like a doctor who wanted to help suffering people to find liberation and redemption. However, everyone had to try out the means of healing for themselves.

Here, the Buddha was something like a present-day psychotherapist who helps people to overcome crises in life, to understand the causes of suffering and so cope with it, to be content with their limitations, finitude and mortality. But the Buddha was more than a psychotherapist. He was more radical. He himself had experienced Enlightenment that human beings, if they see through everything, could recognize that all that they see is not stable, that nothing in the world is permanent. Everything is changeable; even the self, to which we so cling, basically has no abiding substance, but is just as transitory.

So the suffering from which human beings are to be cured is this illusion of a real self. Human beings are to learn through the therapy of the Buddha to free themselves from their own selves.

They are to find the way from a concern with the self and entanglement in the self to a selflessness which makes them free for an all-embracing compassion.

From left: Todaji temple, Nara; Stone footprint of Buddha, Bodh-Gaya, India..

The teachings of Buddha

Buddhism had its historical origin in the sixth century BC with Siddharta Gautama.

In the Four Noble Truths, he taught insight into the cause of human suffering and with the Eightfold Path showed a way towards overcoming it.

Through this insight, Siddharta Gautama became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. Buddhists do not understand the Ultimate Reality, the Absolute, as a personal deity or a creator God, but as the impersonal dharma, i.e. the eternal law which rules the universe and which is the subject of the teachings of the Buddha.

Buddha’s teachings were gathered together over a long period; the most important are the Theravada canon (Tripitaka) and the Mahayana sutras.

There are more than 300 million Buddhists worldwide, divided into the two big schools of Theravada (Doctrine of the Elders), mainly practised in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, and Mahayana (Great Vehicle), mainly practised in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam as well as in Tibet and Mongolia (Vajrayana: Diamond Vehicle).

From left: Buddhist monks at the autumn feast in Nara; Simplicity and transparency: a Zen garden.

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