Buddhism Essentials

The Buddha’s extraordinary teachings were:

  1. All conditioned things are impermanent.
  2. All negative emotions and grasping bring suffering.
  3. All existing phenomena–all subjects and objects–are empty and egoless.
  4. Nirvana or enlightenment is free from grasping and totally calm and peaceful.
  5. Every living being has the same nature as an enlightened being.
  6. No human is higher or lower than anyone else.
  7. Mind is principal to matter.

 

The Buddha’s main teachings were on nonviolence, love, and compassion, and on how to bring out the good qualities within ourselves and others by exploring our nature and the nature of our environment. He taught about how to live in harmony and peace. In order to do this, one simple teaching is to have a good heart, which is also known as bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is love, kindness, compassion, and wisdom. These qualities are the basic nature of every living being. Practicing bodhichitta begins with having a good intention, the positive aspiration to help all beings. Looking at it this way, all teachings are really about having positive intentions and aspirations that start in the heart and the mind. When we have this foundation, all activities of body, speech and mind become healthy and serene. This is the way we should live and what we should share with others.

Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings range from the foundation instructions of Basic Buddhism to the advanced teachings on compassion of the Sutra Mahayana, and then to the esoteric and secret Vajrayana teachings, which are short, direct, and powerful ways to bring out full realization of one’s goodness qualities.