“The not doing of anything evil.
Undertaking to do what is ethically skilful.
Complete purification of the mind.
This is the teaching of the Buddhas”Dhammapada v. 183
This is a 5-week Introduction to Buddhism Course. It will be one night a week, 7.00pm to 9.30 pm starting on Friday 22nd September, in Valletta.
For many people Buddhism is the centre of their spiritual life and its philosophical, ethical and meditative characteristics directly inform the direction and momentum of their experience. This course is an opportunity to explore some of the background to Buddhist thought and ideals. The course will be presented by Aksobhin an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a Path or Way. In other words, it is something we do or practice; a way of living, of interacting with and in the world, a path of growth and development, of Transformation. It is also a spiritual Way that leads eventually to Insight into the true nature of life, to see things as they really are. A Path dedicated to the attainment of Enlightenment for the sake of all beings.
The Buddha’s teachings for the most part are practical, rather than theoretical; practical things to apply in our lives, in order to bring about change, not simply interesting philosophical ideas to play with.
What Makes One a Buddhist?
In the Triratna Buddhist Community, what is of central importance is being committed to growth and development. Committed to following the Path to Liberation from suffering – committed to “Going for Refuge”.
To the Buddha for Refuge I Go.
To the Dharma for Refuge I Go.
To the Sangha for Refuge I Go.
It is Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels (the Buddha – our guide, the Dharma – his teachings, the Sangha – his followers) that makes one a Buddhist. To the extent that you Go for Refuge, to that extent you are a Buddhist.
So, the traditional phrase of ‘Going for Refuge’ corresponds to what in modern terms we might refer to as Commitment to realising the full potential of what it means to be truly human. For Triratna Commitment is primary, Lifestyle is secondary, how we express our Going for Refuge in our lives is up to us as individuals.
Going for Refuge is not simply a particular devotional practice. It’s not even necessarily a ‘religious’ act at all. Going for Refuge, as Sangharakshita puts it, ‘is the key to the mystery of existence itself’.
What do Buddhists believe?
Buddhism is a non-theistic religion.
The Buddha was neither a god nor a prophet for one.
Buddhism has no concept of a personal, creator god.
Now this can be hard for some people to accept or fully grasp: one of the world’s great religions without a personal creator god.
This does not mean that Buddhism is some form of atheism, far from it; Buddhism rejects that point of view also. Taking the Middle Way Buddhism transcends altogether the limiting confines of Nihilism and Eternalism, transcends what it regards as too narrow an understanding of how things actually are.
The Buddha is both our model and our guide.
“By you must the zealous effort be made. The Buddhas are only proclaimers of the Way”Dhammapada V. 276
Inspiration behind Triratna
The inspiration, the underlying aspiration of Buddhism is to bring about the end of suffering for all beings; or, in more modern terms, to facilitate people in discovering for themselves the understanding, tools and inspiration to bring about an end to suffering.
Triratna’s aspiration is to support people on this journey of exploration and questioning from within; a very personal journey for each of us.
We are here to support people on that journey in whatever way is appropriate, but it is not our function to push anything onto people. This exploration and evolution must emerge from an inner negotiation, a personal dialogue between your own heart and mind.
We acknowledge that it is a long and at times difficult journey, but one filled not just with possibility but also with much joy and fulfilment.
Following the Buddha Way has led many people to experience depths of contentment and happiness far more than they could have ever imagined. The contentment and happiness that comes from working to evolve as best you can into the best that humans can be, the embodiment and full flowering of Wisdom and Compassion that leads to the end of suffering for all living beings