What is Buddhism?
“I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.”
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path — a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood. An enlightened being sees the nature of reality absolutely clearly, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.
Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshipping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion in the normal, Western sense. The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. So Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, caste, sexuality, or gender. It teaches practical methods which enable people to realise and use its teachings in order to transform their experience, to be fully responsible for their lives.
Our Style of Buddhism
In the millennia since the Buddha’s death Buddhism has adapted to many different societies, finding ways to express his vision in different cultures and historical eras. So what we now call Buddhism consists of many different schools that developed to suit a particular time and place — we have Tibetan Buddhism, Southeast Asian Buddhism, the Zen and Pure Land traditions of Japan, and many others. Now that Buddhism has arrived in the West it needs to find a form that suits this time and place. So members of the Triratna Buddhist Order aim to present a form of Buddhism that is grounded in the core teachings and practices that underlie all the different ethnic schools of Buddhism. We are not Tibetan Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, Theravada Buddhists, Nichiren Buddhists, or Pure Land Buddhists — we are simply Buddhists, basing ourselves on the core teachings, but open to the richness of the whole tradition.
Try It Out!
For thousands of years people have found that the practices of Buddhism really do work, leading to better mental states, clearer vision, and more meaningful lives. But don’t take our word for it — try it for yourself. Come along to our Open Nights on Tuesdays.