No products in the cart.


What is Buddhism

Shakyamuni-Buddhawheelofdharrma2Approximately 2500 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama was born into a noble family of the Shakya clan in what is now southern Nepal. When his eyes were opened to suffering, disease, old age, and death, he left his family to wander in search of some meaning to life. After fruitlessly undergoing various austerities and religious studies, he meditated alone under the famous “Bodhi” tree in Bodhgaya, India, and became enlightened. He then became Gautama the Buddha, or Shakyamuni Buddha (sage of the Shakya clan). There are countless “buddhas”, or awakened ones, throughout time. Gautama Buddha became the buddha of our era, and at age 35 began to teach, turning the Wheel of Dharma

The Buddha explained that suffering is inseparable from existence. He further taught that inward extinction of ego-based attachment and aversion culminates in a state of illumination that transcends suffering and existence itself. Buddha’s methods of meditation, such as vipassana (watching the breath), and his guidelines for right living, such as the four noble truths and the noble eight-fold path, provide the ground for an individual to see things as they are, behind the veil of illusion. To preserve and protect his teachings and to provide a supportive environment for spiritual pursuits, he established a monastic system.

Dakinis – guardians of secret teachings; also, women who are enlightened, including mothers and

consorts of lamas

Dharma – the teachings of the Buddha; also refers to phenomena perceived by Mind alone and not by the senses; Truth

Four Noble Truths

  1. suffering is inseparable from existence
  2. cause of suffering is our ignorance and deluded misperception of reality
  3. the end of suffering comes when we realize our true nature
  4. by following the 8-fold path we find the Middle Way that leads to peace and enlightenment
  5. Gompa – a monastery or nunnery; design follows sacred geometry

Guru – spiritual teacher and mentor

Karma – an action that has an effect other than the visible present one and that effects one’s next life

Mandala – an arrangement of deities’ with a central deity and its palace

Noble Eight – Fold Path

  1. Right Understanding (Right View)
  2. Right Thought ( Right Intention)
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness (Right Attention)
  8. Right Concentration
  9. Prajna – enlightened wisdom – feminine aspect

Sangha – community of Buddhist practitioners

Shedra – a school that provides the traditional Buddhist monastic course of study

Thangka Painting – religious painting executed in a proscribed and traditional manner, of a deity or a Mandala arrangement of deities

Upaya – skillful means – masculine aspect

Vajrayana – path of tantra, using mantras and visualizations of specific deities to invoke the energy of the diety.

Wheel of Dharma – It is said that Buddha “turned the wheel of Dharma” three times by giving threemajor teachings; the metaphor comes from the magic wheel of the Cakravartin, or universal ruler