How do we know if pari-nibbana exists? Like the speaker in this traditional dhamma talk video says, we have to have some faith or confidence that the effort of practicing the Buddha’s advice will be worth it in the long run. Do Buddhist doctrines have a beneficial impact when I internalise the message and strive to live up to it? That’s the real issue as far as I’m concerned.
Buddhism teaches that the soul or ‘self’ is not a permanent entity but a combination of material and mental phenomena in constant flux. Researchers hypothesized that believing the soul or self to be illusory would mitigate the seemingly natural human instinct to fear death, and monastic Buddhists would be more generous and less afraid of death than lay Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. But their study published on 22 January 2018 apparently found otherwise…
The history of Buddhism ever since the Buddha’s teachings were first written down (c. 100 BCE) has been one of re-working his teachings to fit the different needs of different people living in different countries at different times. Consequently we have lots of early sermons (i.e. suttas or sutras) attributed to the Buddha – not just one sermon or a few sermons that we can cling to as good for every changing circumstance…
Quoting the Buddha is a popular internet pastime. However, quotes out of context aren’t much help to anyone, so here’s a brief commentary on the Buddha’s supposed charter for non-dogmatic free enquiry, the ‘Kalama Sutta’ (AN 3.65)…
To see the Buddha “as he really is” we should explore some of the major episodes in his many lives and appreciate how Buddhist mythology, cosmology, and rituals, relate to one another. We’ll be less likely to view these doctrines as “popular Buddhism” – degeneration from reason (philosophy) to religion (mythology). Their truth isn’t a matter of historical/factual correctness – it’s a matter of the presence or absence of suffering when we internalise the message and strive to live up to it.
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…
The Noble Search sutta offers some excellent Dhamma lessons and also mentions a few incidents in the Buddha’s life that are found nowhere else in the Sutta Pitaka.
An Introductory Course on Early Buddhism
Compiled and published for free distribution
by Bro. Chan Khoon San