Taste of liberation
Buddhism, Buddha’s teaching or Buddhadharma as Buddhists themselves call it, is a teaching about awakening. It originated from Buddha’s experience of the awakening and an insight into the true nature of life, and it describes in detail the path that leads toward it.
Buddhist tradition emerged and developed through many centuries and different cultures. It is characterized by an immense richness of diversity of schools, methods and practices. Its central message is still very clear and relevant for our experience of life, just like it was more than 2500 years ago.
Buddhism is one of three major religions that originated in northern India more than 2500 years ago. The founder, or according to his own words, a person who has rediscovered the teaching, is Shakyamuni Buddha. Buddha is not a personal name but a title for the awakened one, for someone who has woken up from the dream about life into the reality as it really is.
If we read Buddha’s discourses aimed at his disciples, or conversations that he had, we’ll notice that the questions he was answering are similar to the ones we have today. Buddhism is therefore considered an universal teaching that is not determined by the geographical roots, but directed to human beings and to life’s foundations, independent of ethnicity, culture, and social belonging. With its common denominator of overall human experience being dissatisfaction and longing for happiness and safety, Buddha has pointed to the causes of the satisfaction, established that they can be removed and showed the way how to do that.
Buddha’s Noble Path of morality, meditation and wisdom did not only change lives of those who followed it, it has influenced other areas of social and cultural lives of countries where Buddhism found its home. It has extended the spirit of nonviolence, tolerance, friendship, living kindness, respect of nature and all forms of life.
Bad and unbeneficial deeds that we commit do not originate in our intrinsically evil nature, but rather as a consequence of ignorance about the nature of life. From ignorance, greed and hatred arise, and then all other negative emotions such as anger, wish to harm, fear, envy, jealousy, attachment, impatience and restlessness that make human life insecure, difficult and painful, and human relations hostile and complicated.
In order to step out of this deep immersion in life currents that we often do not understand and have very little or no control of, buddhism teaches that by calming the mind, developing awareness and understanding and cultivating positive emotions we can take the rains of our life in our own hands.
In other words, in order to start a spiritual path that in buddhism culminates with the attainment of buddhahood, we first of all need to become true human beings. Which means developing self-confidence, uniting our energy, becoming aware of the nature of our actions and their consequences. They adapt certain moral principles of acting and have a clear vision of our spiritual development. It also means to abandon unnecessary tensions and anxieties and start to lead happier, more harmonious and meaningful lives. This is not some far fetched ideal, first steps on the Buddha’s path of morality, meditation and wisdom already lead toward it. As the saying goes: ‘Same as the ocean has on its surface, in its middle and on its bottom one taste, the taste of salt, so the Dharma has in the beginning, in the middle and at the very end one taste, the taste of freedom.’
Experience beyond the words
Buddhism does not offer a teaching that requires belief in, nor it serves to deepen the knowledge about reality for the sake of knowledge. Buddhism gives direction on what to do, and enables a deep and real transformation. In the words of Buddha, when someone is hit by an arrow, it’s not the priority to figure out who did it, from which social order is he, or which type of wood the arrow is made of – the priority is to take out the arrow and to save our life. Regardless of the fact that Buddhist teaching reaches great philosophical depths, there is not one moment where it loses its primary purpose out of sight.
The tools of philosophy are words, logic and reason. Using these tools, Buddhism leads toward the experience that is beyond the words, even those that buddhism itself considers to be true. That is the experience of freedom from suffering and conditioning in which our true nature of boundless wisdom and compassion presents itself.
Find out more about out programs that include the all encompassing approach to development of morality, meditation and wisdom.