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Intro to Buddhism

It's a "Middle Way"

The Buddhist tradition is centred in the Enlightenment experience of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, who was born in Nepal and taught his doctrine in India during the sixth century BC. His teachings are at once revolutionary and self-evident, and extraordinarily relevant to the modern world. He maintained that the nature of reality and the meaning of our existence cannot be captured in theories, concepts and beliefs, but are realised experientially - in compassionate, mindful living.

A central teaching in Buddhism is that we forego great beauty and meaning in our lives by allowing ourselves to be driven by a compulsive self-centredness, obsessive, mindless attachments and all manner of habitual delusions and wishful thinking. Buddhism, however, also teaches that we can radically reshape the way we perceive and experience things. This can be done through transformative mental practices [meditation] and behavioural disciplines. These are outlined in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path and a number of other philosophical and psychological teachings and methods.

Buddhism, therefore, is an attitude more than a belief; a way of experiencing the world rather than an attempt to explain it. Known as the Middle Way, Buddhism has no need for extreme opinions and exclusive dogmas. This self-reliant outlook imbues it with a rare sense of dignity, joy, gentleness and freedom - qualities that appeal to increasing numbers of people who have grown tired of the authoritative pronouncements of priests and scientists, millennial prophets and self-improvement gurus.

Buddhism is neither theistic nor atheistic; it is non-theistic. It therefore does not challenge or compete with other religions. Hence, followers of all religious denominations and philosophical persuasions are welcome to attend any retreat program. No membership, allegiance or conversion is expected or required.

The following are gateways containing comprehensive links to a variety of topics including various forms of Buddhism, online texts, online journals and magazines, art galleries, discussion groups etc.

Buddhist links

  • http://www.buddhanet.net
    Gateway site with lists of organisations, online books and audio, clipart, educational materials etc.
  • http://www.dharmanet.org
    Gateway site with a huge collection of resources, including a very comprehensive list of retreat centres around the world.