Buddhism Philosophy & Teachings

Buddhist Councils

Whether the early Councils were truly historical events has long been a matter of contention in Buddhist communities: While most Asian Buddhists believe that the first Council was a historical event, its historicity is questioned by virtually all Buddhist scholars: They argue that while it was not unlikely that a small group of Buddha’s intimate disciples gathered after his death, a Council in the grand

Buddhas – How many we know?!

The term Buddha, literally “awakened one,” is one of many Indian epithets applied to the founder of the Buddhist religion. A Buddha is defined, first and foremost, as one who has undergone the profoundly transformative experience known as Nirvāṇa and who, as a result, will never be subject to the cycle of birth and death again. Buddhists came to believe that other such Buddhas would

Buddhahood and Buddha Bodies

The term Buddhahood (Buddhatva) refers to the unique attainment of Buddhas that distinguishes them from all other kinds of holy being. Buddhahood is described in 2 closely related ways: 1) in terms of its distinctive characteristics, and 2) in terms of Buddha “bodies.” The Indic term kāya refers to the physical body of a living being. It therefore carries the secondary meaning of a collection

Jātaka, the Buddhist tale

Jātaka is the Sanskrit and Pāli term for a particular genre of Buddhist literature. A Jātaka is a story in which one of the characters—usually the hero—is identified as a previous birth of the historical Buddha, as a man, a deity, or one of the higher animals. The existence of the Jātaka genre is based on the notion that the Buddha, on the night of

Jewels of Buddhism

Jewels occupy important narrative and ritual spaces throughout the history of Buddhism. The Buddha routinely employed the metaphor of the jewel (rātna) in a variety of sūtras to refer to the unlimited value of Enlightened Wisdom, a value that can be seen as represented in the form of an infinitely beautiful and valuable jewel that at the same time stands in contrast to the limitations

Arhat (Arahant) | Definition

The Arhat (Sanskrit) or Arahant (Pāli) is a being who has attained the state of Enlightenment that is the goal of Theravāda and other Mainstream Buddhist Schools. The Arhat is fully human yet has reached a transcendent state of wisdom and liberation that the texts describe as being almost identical with that of the Buddha. Arhat fulfils a role as an ideal for imitation veneration.

6 Higher Knowledges (Abhijñā)

6 Higher Knowledges (Abhijñā). Abhijñā (Pāli, abhiññā; higher knowledge) refers to a stereotyped set of typically 6 spiritual powers ascribed to Buddhas and their chief disciples: The first 5 are mundane and attainable through the perfection of concentration (samādhi) in meditative trance (dhyāna; Pāli, jhāna). the 6th higher knowledge is supra-mundane and exclusively Buddhist, and attainable only through insight into the Buddhist truths, it is

The Law of Dependent Origination

The theory of Dependent Origination (Pratītya Samutpāda; Pāli: paticca-samuppāda), which literally means “arising on the ground of a preceding cause.” The texts of the Theravada tradition portray Śāriputra (the Buddha’s disciple) as saying “whoever understands Dependent Origination understands the teaching of the Buddha, and whoever understands the teaching of the Buddha understands Dependent Origination”. The theory of Dependent Origination is usually divided into 12 links

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are known best for their appearance in the classic Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. The Four Noble Truths are often employed as an organizing principle to describe the more detailed and complex set of teachings that are the framework for more specific meditation practices. The Four Noble Truths are the most significant teaching in all of Buddhism’s varied schools and

Suffering (Dukkha) | Definition

Suffering is a basic characteristic of all life in this world, and is the first of the four noble truths taught by the Buddha and recorded in the various Buddhist canons. Suffering is a characteristic of an ordinary – imperfect existence and it continues until Liberation from the 3 Poisons of the Mind is reached, until the perfect Buddhahood is attained. Suffering is also the