What is Buddhism?

“To practice Buddhism is to wage a struggle between the negative and positive forces in your mind.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Buddha Shakyamuni, Painting by Ella Brewer.

The fundamental teaching of the Buddha is his teaching on the Four Noble Truths:

1) That there is suffering

2) That suffering has a cause

3) That there is a cessation of suffering

4) That there is a path to such freedom

The underlying principle of this teaching is the universal principality of causality.  What becomes important in the understanding of this basic teaching is a genuine awareness of one’s own potentials and the need to utilize them to their fullest. Seen in this light, every human action becomes significant.

There is both positive and negative desire. For instance, the Mahayana Buddhist literature mentions two desires or two aspirations. One is the aspiration to be of benefit to all sentient beings and the other is the aspiration to attain fully the Enlightened state for that purpose. Without these two types of aspiration, the attainment of full enlightenment is impossible. But there are also negative things which result from desire. The antidote to this negative desire is contentment. There are always extremes but the middle way is the proper way.

-Excerpt from The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom.