It’s not uncommon for Buddhists to feel like their practice has stalled. Concentration wavers, awareness is lost, doubts arise, and the Buddha’s supreme freedom from samsara seems hopelessly unattainable. It can be an especially trying time if you’re a solitary practitioner lacking the guidance of a skilled meditation teacher. But it’s also an opportunity to straighten your views and re-affirm your refuge in the Triple Gem.
Newcomers to Buddhism are frequently told that Buddhism isn’t a religion. However, one must employ a very narrow misunderstanding of the word religion in order to exclude Buddhism. Ancient Buddhist doctrine is suggestive of a polytheistic religion. Deities and devotional rites remain an important fact of Buddhist life as far as many practitioners in the heartlands of modern day Asia are concerned…
One might reasonably expect the long history of scholarly endeavours to have shed some light on the Buddha’s life and teachings. Unfortunately, the evidence such as it exists is inconclusive and liable to provoke scepticism and hostility even among Buddhists. The historical Buddha remains an enigmatic figure and it raises a number of questions that need untangling and addressing…
Buddhism is less about following rules and more about abandoning self-serving narratives. The Precept, “I resolve not to kill but to cherish all life”, must be understood on three levels – fundamentally as an exercise in mindfulness; flexibly as a guide to ethical living; ultimately as a meditation on selfless interdependence.
Does Buddhism have a future? Buddhism will almost certainly continue to diversify as practitioners adapt themselves to the current harsh realities of globalisation. The issues of Rationalism, Consumerism, and Activism, are especially liable to influence future perceptions of the religion. Whether or not Buddhism remains relevant beyond the 21st century, or is viewed increasingly as anachronistic, will depend largely upon the various Buddhist schools all being much clearer on what the foundational teachings actually are…
Does modern science lend support to Buddhist ideas about the human mind? Does modern science lend support to the logic behind Buddhist meditation practice? After summarizing what Buddhism says about human minds and meditation, I refer to three scientific studies which may enable one to answer ‘yes’ to both questions.
The Four Noble Truths sutta was the first teaching given by the Buddha after his awakening. In this teaching, the Buddha presented his enlightened understanding as a set of ennobling truths which not only diagnosed the human condition as ‘suffering’ but also prescribed a cure. On first hearing the Buddha’s diagnosis we might be tempted to object that it is overly pessimistic. Either the Buddha is mistaken or he’s a killjoy!
An Introductory Course on Early Buddhism
Compiled and published for free distribution
by Bro. Chan Khoon San
“The footsteps of the Buddha lead to a descent from the delusion of feeling ourselves to be at the controlling pinnacle and centre of the universe, to accepting the fact that we are simply no more than a grain of sand, a subsystem, a temporary and local autonomous mechanism that functions as part of a much bigger system, itself autonomous. This process of coming to terms with these immutable facts is the ‘spiritual path’.” – Dr Desmond Biddulph