What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is one of the world's oldest religions. It is named after its founder Buddha, "the Awakened One".

Since 1983, Buddhism is one of the officially recognized religious communities in Austria.

The Historical Buddha

The historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was born in Northern India around 2,500 years ago. As a human being he attained enlightenment, a spiritual state of permanent bliss and peace, through training the mind and meditation. Based on this experience he taught various methods in order to enable others to attain this state of mind.

The Essence of Buddhism

The Buddhist teachings, called Dharma, are based on the Four Noble Truths:

 

  • The truth of suffering: the imperfection of the human condition.
  • The truth of origin (of the cause of suffering): fundamental ignorance causes us to cling to our ego.
  • The truth of cessation: we can overcome suffering by eliminating this ignorance.
  • The truth of the path: cessation of suffering can be attained by means of the threefold training of ethical discipline, meditative concentration and wisdom.

 

Buddhist practice means to rid one's mind of negative attitudes, such as greed, envy, anger and so on. Finally, we will be able to recognize the true nature of existence and reach Nirvana, a condition beyond all suffering.

 

The Buddha is quoted to have summarized this practice as follows:

"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddha." (Dhammapada, verse 183)

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