What should everyone know about Buddhism?

Answer by Kevin Johnsrude:

Buddhism can be a religion but it doesn't have to be. Buddhism is a set of principles and practices that demonstrably improve your life.  No faith is necessary.  You can believe in another religion or be an atheist and it still works.

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment
3. It is possible to end suffering through…
4. …The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

1. Right View (The Four Noble Truths)

2. Right Intention
   a. Renunciation:
      Resistance to desire
   b. Goodwill:
      Resistance to anger and aversion
   c. Harmlessness:
      Don't think or act cruelly, violently or aggressively

3. Right Speech
   a. Tell the truth
   b. Don't gossip
   c. Don't use offensive or hurtful language
4. Right Action (The Precepts)
   a. Don't harm other living beings
   b. Don't take things not freely given
   c. Don't engage in sexual misconduct
   d. Don't engage in false speech
   e. Don't abuse drugs or alcohol
5. Right Livelihood
    Don't work in a job that violates The Precepts
6. Right Effort
   a. Create, preserve and increase healthy states
   b. Prevent, eliminate or decrease harmful states
7. Right Mindfulness
   See things clearly
8. Right Concentration
   a. Meditation
   b. Concentration on healthy thoughts and actions
Buddhist Virtues (The Four Immeasurables)

1. Compassion: The intention and capacity to relieve the suffering of oneself and all other living beings.

2. Loving Kindness:  The intention and capacity to bring joy and happiness to oneself and all other living beings.

3. Empathetic Joy: Rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of another living being

4. Equanimity: Accepting loss or gain, praise or blame, success or failure with detachment.  Regarding all living beings equally. Being clear-minded and tranquil but not dull.

The Three Poisons (The Roots of All Suffering)

  • Anger/Aversion/Hatred
  • Craving/Attachment/Greed
  • Delusion/Ignorance

The Three Jewels (The Credo of Buddhism)

  • Buddha: Mindfulness, your highest spiritual potential
  • Dharma: The teachings of the Buddha and the practice of those teachings
  • Sangha: The community that supports that practice

I take refuge in the Buddha,

the one who shows me the way in this life

I take refuge in the Dharma,

the way of understanding and love

I take refuge in the Sangha,

the community that lives in harmony and awareness

— "For a Future to be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life", Thich Nhat Hanh

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