Buddhism offers a unique and inspiring vision of human potential. It presents us with the challenge to go beyond what we think is possible and gives us the tools with which to do so. Buddhism is a path of self-transformation, drawing out and developing what’s best in us; it is also a path of altruistic activity, learning to respond ever more effectively to the needs of the world.
The three core reference points of a Buddhist’s life are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Who is the Buddha?
Buddha means the awakened one. Following his quest into nature of human existence, the Buddha ‘woke up’ – a clarity of mind free from craving, ill-will and confusion. For Buddhists, the Buddha is not a god but a symbol of the highest human qualities that we too can realise.
What is the Dharma?
Dharma means the teachings: the principles and practices that can radically transform our lives. For 45 years the Buddha taught people how to awaken as he did, and distilled this wisdom into a path of ethical living, meditation, and insight.
Why are ethics important?
The practice of Buddhist ethics allows us to take ownership of our lives and bring to fruition what’s best in us: generosity, kindness, truthfulness and awareness.
The two main meditation practices we teach, the Mindfulness of Breathing (Anapanasati) and Development of Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana) , enhance our clarity of mind and emotional strength. Meditating creates the mental space to become aware of our reactions and thoughts and to act more creatively in our everyday lives.
What is Insight?
Having trained the mind we can then apply it to see the way things are – beyond concepts, beyond assumptions, beyond limitations.
What is the Sangha?
No vision of human potential would be complete without friendship.
The Sangha is the network of friendships between those who tread the path to awakening. As such, the Sangha aspires to a radical ideal of a society based on deep communication, selflessness and truth. It is the context that enables Buddhists to discover what’s beyond individualism and be part of something bigger.
Interested in learning more about Buddhism?
Here are 3 easy ways:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of our next intro course.
Come to Peace House at 7pm on Tuesday evenings. Here you can practise meditation and explore Buddhism with others.
Listen to talks online on Free Buddhist Audio.