A lot of people love to talk about compassion and peace regarding home, foreign and domestic affairs. But did not have the compassion and peace in mind, then how will the true compassion and peace be formed?


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"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." The Buddha. "..Religion without Science is Blind, Science without religion is crippled." Albert Einstein 1879-1955

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Buddha

Here are some common questions about the Buddha: 

What is a Buddha?

The word “Buddha” means “The Awakened (or Enlightened) One”. A Buddha was previously a human being like us, who had reached the highest peak of spiritual cultivation through purification and mastery of the mind, attaining the greatest perfection possible by anyone. Having awakened to reality, He is one who has found True Happiness in realising the true nature of all things. With the attainment of Enlightenment (realisation of the truth of all things), wisdom and compassion are perfected among other countless positive qualities. Having become a Buddha, one transcends the limitations of a human (and gender) and becomes much greater than a human or god, gaining ultimate peace and liberation. 

Can I become a Buddha? 

The potential of attaining Enlightenment or Buddhahood exists in each and every sentient being (including us). We all possess within ourselves the perfect goodness of Buddha-nature (potential for Buddhahood), which is like the bright full moon. The path towards Enlightenment is the clearing of the dark clouds of defilements (negative qualities—chiefly craving, aversion and ignorance) that overshadow our Buddha-nature, so as to let it shine forth. There are already countless Buddhas in existence and there will be countless more as long as there are those earnest in seeking the truth. 

Who is the Buddha?

The Buddha is the greatest character that ever appeared in the history of humankind—being an embodiment of one perfect in thought, word and deed. He was the wisest and most loving being who ever graced the Earth, an example of how great we can all become. “The Buddha” refers to the historical Shakyamuni Buddha who was born in Northern India (present day Nepal) more than 2,500 years ago (at about 563 B.C.). He is regarded as the founder of Buddhism for our world. He was a noble Shakyan Prince (Siddhartha Gautama) with an entire kingdom of riches to inherit, who chose to renounce it at the age of 29 in search of Enlightenment (realisation of the truth of all things and True Happiness) out of compassion for all beings. After He attained Enlightenment at 35, He shared the inspiring truth tirelessly for 45 to 50 years to all who were willing to learn from Him. He passed away into the deep peace of Parinirvana at 80. His life is full of inspiring stories of how He touched people from all walks of life with His wisdom and compassion. 

What did the Buddha teach? 

The Buddha’s message is a joyous one. He found the precious treasure of freedom in the truth and taught us how to follow the way that leads us to this same treasure. Though He tells us that we are in deep darkness, He also teaches us the path that leads to the light. He wishes us to rise from a life of unreal dreams to a higher life of wisdom where all love and do not hate. His appeal is universal, because He appeals to reason, and to the universal search for True Happiness. He put truth to the crucial test of personal experience, encouraging everyone to doubt His teachings, believing that great realisations can arise from clearing great doubts. He taught us to be mindful of ourselves and to become awake, to seek and to find True Happiness like He did. 

How can the Buddha help me?

The Buddha is a spiritual genius as He reached the goal of the spiritual quest (Enlightenment) by Himself. However, He could see that while we too can attain Enlightenment, we might need a lot of help. Out of compassion, He devoted the rest of His life to being a guide to all who were willing to learn from Him, teaching all that had to be taught before passing into everlasting bliss. He proved to be just as ingenious in showing us the path to True Happiness. As long as we keep our hearts and minds open, the Buddha still inspires us through His precious teachings. 

Where is the Buddha now? 

The Buddhas are described as having three bodies (Trikaya) or aspects of existence, though they are 
in ultimate reality one in all and all in one:

1. Truth body 

2. Bliss body 

3. Manifestation body (bodies)  

The truth body of Buddhas

The truth body of a Buddha (Dharmakaya) is the embodiment of the Dharma (truth itself) that is eternally present everywhere, expressed in the natural laws of the universe and the workings of these laws. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of this wonderful reality when we are at peace and at one with everything. This body of truth is in all things though it is beyond shape and form. It is represented by Vairocana Buddha, the central and universal Buddha who is preaching the truth  right here and now. He is both one and many at the same time as He manifests in many forms. Our inability to see or hear Him is due to our defilements. 

The Buddha taught, “He who sees the Dharma (the truth) sees the Buddha. He who sees the Buddha sees the Dharma.” A Buddha, having realised the truth, becomes equal to the truth. Though there are many Buddhas, all Buddhas are one and the same, being no different from one 
another in the Dharmakaya, which is the oneness of truth. The Dharmakaya exists simultaneously with the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. (See “The Bliss Body of Buddhas” and “The Manifestation Body 
of Buddhas”) With the moon representing the Buddha, the Dharmakaya is like the rays of the moon that shine at night. These rays of light might not be visible to the eye as they do not illuminate the darkness of 
space, but they pervade it fully everywhere.

The bliss body of Buddhas 

The bliss body of a Buddha (Sambhogakaya) or Rocana Buddha is the magnificent blissful reward body of a Buddha. It is the aspect through which each Buddha rejoices in the truth, in teaching the truth, and in leading others to the realisation of the truth. Because each Buddha has practised through countless ages to attain perfect wisdom and compassion, each has immeasurable peace, merits and happiness, as expressed in the Sambhogakaya. Buddhas usually do not appear in this form among humans as we lack the merits to perceive them this way. Instead, they manifest as Nirmanakayas (see “The Manifestation Body of Buddhas”). With the moon representing the Buddha, the Sambhogakaya is like the unclouded full moon shining bright in its total splendour. 

The Manifestation Body of Buddhas

An example of a manifestation body of a Buddha (Nirmanakaya) in our world is the transformed body of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. It is the Buddha expressed in a human form. A Buddha can also manifest in many different forms at the same time to teach the truth to many beings. Having attained perfection, the abilities of a Buddha are far beyond that of ordinary humans. It is out of compassion, to be an example, and to teach the truth to many, that a Buddha chooses to appear in a form (instead  
of the Sambhogakaya—see “The Bliss Body of Buddhas”) that we can relate to. When the Buddha entered Parinirvana, only His physical body passed away. The essence of His Enlightenment still exists in the form of the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and other Nirmanakayas. Today, the physical relics of the Buddha’s manifested body are enshrined in stupas all over the world. With the moon representing the Buddha, the Nirmanakaya is like a reflection of the moon upon a lake. One moon can be reflected differently in many lakes at the same time. 

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Due to this merits,
May I soon,
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Buddha,
That I may be able to librate all sentient beings from their suffering.

May the precious bodhi mind, Not yet been born in me, will arise and grow.
May the birth have no decline, and will increase forever more.

Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya