Plus: Basic Buddhism
Truth has been given through countless ages by various Buddhas or enlightened beings.
Gautama Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago, is the teacher for our era.
While salvation depends on individual effort, the Buddhist is to take refuge in the Buddha, his teaching (dharma) and the Buddhist community (sangha).
The Buddha taught Four Noble Truths: (1) suffering is real; (2) suffering is caused by selfish desire; (3) suffering will cease when selfish desire is eliminated; and (4) selfish desire will cease through following the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold Path that leads to nirvana involves (1) Right View, (2) Right Resolve, (3) Right Speech, (4) Right Action, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness, and (8) Right Concentration.
All living things are subject to the law of karma, the principle of cause and effect, which controls the cycle of reincarnation.
The Buddhist is to abstain from killing, stealing, forbidden sex, lying, and the use of illicit drugs and liquor.
There is no God or Supreme Creator.
Buddhism is not irrational, pessimistic, or nihilistic.
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Other articles appearing in our Buddhism series today include:
Buddhism's Guru | The Dalai Lama, a spiritual hero to millions, works to liberate Tibet, calls on spirits, and believes Jesus lived previous lives. (June 8, 2001)
Weighed Down by Karmic Debt | Aspects of Tibetan spirituality should give Christians pause. (June 8, 2001)
Blood and Tears in Tibet | The Dalai Lama says he appreciates Christian attempts to address persecution in his homeland. (June 8, 2001)
Inside CT: Straight Outta Dharamsala | Behind James A. Beverley's report on the Dalai Lama (June 8, 2001)
Terry Muck, professor of religion at Austin (Texas) Presbyterian Theological Seminary and editor of Buddhist-Christian Studies,reviewed the Dalai Lama's The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus for Christianity Today sister publication Books & Culture. He has also written for Buddhist-Christian Studies on "Buddha through Christian Eyes."
Christianity Today sister publication Campus Life explainedBuddhism and other world religions from a Christian perspective for teens.
A 5-minute introduction to Buddhism, part of Buddhanet.net, explains basic beliefs from a Buddhist perspective. Also on the site, insight meditation techniques, extensive resources about the history and culture of Buddhism, and an online Buddhist Study Guide
Buddhist meditative practices hold particular value within prisons, a New York program finds.