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Buddhism is really easy

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There are no gods and no praying in Buddhism– just you.

There are only four truths and eight paths – go through them once a day.

In a world of impermanence this is a rock, a pivot, for your world.

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

The Noble Eight-fold Path

1. Right View
2. Right Intentions
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration (Meditation)

That’s really easy to remember!
Below is the start of the journey

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1. Life means suffering.

To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in.
During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness,
injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological
suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression.
Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that
we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its
totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This
means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy
moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient
things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and in a greater
sense, all objects of our perception even our own personality and view of our self. Ignorance is the
lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The
reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame
and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are
transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of
attachment also include the idea of a "self" which is a delusion, because there is no abiding
self. What we call "self" is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless
becoming of the universe.

If I had been born a Muslim, Jew, Russian, Gypsy would I be the same person, what part of me
would remain the same? – therefore does self exist?

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

The cessation of suffering can ended by attaining dis-passion, by removing all attachment to
material and self, to all the attachments outlined in the second noble truth. All suffering can be
overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. Attaining and
perfecting dis-passion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana.
Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

There is a path to the end of suffering - a gradual path of self-improvement, which is
described below in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of
excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to
the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are
merely "wandering on the wheel of becoming" Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will
disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.

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The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha
Gautama (Buddha). It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development
with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it
finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths
it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect,
because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach
Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single
steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in
relationship with each other.

1. Right View

Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things
as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truths. As such, right view is the
cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect
nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic
conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is
not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced
through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to
suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of
the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

2. Right Intention

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional
aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can
be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha
distinguishes three types of right intentions:
1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire
2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion
3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly violently, or aggressively,
and to develop compassion.

3. Right Speech

Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed
as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path. This
aspect is not self-sufficient, however, essential, because mental purification can only be
achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the
context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends,
start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows:
1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully
2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others
3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others
4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth.
Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only
when necessary.

4. Right Action

The second ethical principle, right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it
refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of
mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind. Again, the principle is
explained in terms of abstinence, right action means:
1. to abstain from harming sentient beings, especially to abstain from taking life (including suicide)
and doing harm intentionally or delinquently
2. to abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness,
and dishonesty
3. to abstain from sexual misconduct.
Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect
the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others. Further
details regarding the concrete meaning of right action can be found in the Precepts.

5. Right Livelihood

Right livelihood means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should
be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that
harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason:
1. dealing in weapons
2. dealing in living beings (slave trade and prostitution)
3. selling intoxicants and poisons, such drugs.
Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided.

6. Right Effort

Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which
is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts
the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the
force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The
same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side
fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four
types of endeavours that rank in ascending order of perfection:
1. to prevent the arising of un-arisen unwholesome states
2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen
3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen
4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

7. Right Mindfulness

Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see
things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an
impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere
impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts
immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and
experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then
posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex
interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things
obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates
impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process
of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our
thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness:
1. contemplation of the body
2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral)
3. contemplation of the state of mind
4. contemplation of the phenomena

8. Right Concentration (meditation)

The eighth principle of the path, right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force
that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity,
namely concentration. Concentration in this context is described as one-pointedness of mind,
meaning a state where all mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. Right
concentration for the purpose of the eightfold path means wholesome concentration, i.e.
concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions. The Buddhist method of choice to
develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses on a
selected object. It first directs itself onto it, then sustains concentration, and finally
intensifies concentration step by step. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated
levels concentration also in everyday situations.

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The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.



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