The purpose of highlighting these two characteristics is to illuminate the difference between Buddhism and other religions or worldly philosophies. Generally speaking, practices in Buddhism may include following the Buddha; having faith in the Buddha and Bodhisattvas because of their virtues, wisdom, loftiness and greatness; and understanding the profound teachings of the Buddha Dharma. However, these Buddhists practices are just aimed at showing us the path of Buddha Dharma, which can lead us to understanding the significance of life, and ways of elevating ourselves, grounding our lives in true morality.
The Three Characteristics of Existence We have previously discussed suffering and its pivotal position in the teaching of Buddhism. The Buddha in fact defined three main characteristics of existence, which include suffering, impermanence and the concept of no unique self.
Suffering, as defined before, comes from life, as sickness, loneliness, old age, or just a general feeling of life not being what it should. Part of the problem is, that we wish life to be permanent when all existence is impermanent, everything is subject to continuous change.
Birth and death are part of that process of change. All life, yours, mine, your family and friends, is like a flowing river. While it may appear the same when you look at a river, each moment is different and every view of the river is different.
Nothing in nature is what it was the moment before. Every living thing is in a continuous state of flux. In our lives, our bodies grow when we are young, and change as we age.
Relationships come and go, often because personalities, interests and attitudes change. As we live, we take on both positive and negative habits and we cling to ideas which we associate with "our permanent selves".
But our permanent self is a myth, and once we learn that, we can look beyond the need to have life stay the same. The most challenging concept for those brought up in a Christian community is the concept of "no self". While the Buddha saw life continuing after death, he described it more as the lighting of one candle by another, the flame originates at the first flame, but the second is a consequence of the first, and not a unique reproduction of it.
Essentially, however, he saw us as a collection of body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. While he saw no separate self or ego, he did emphasize the interdependence of all life as well as dependence on what had gone before.
The concept of no eternal self was also radical in the era in which the Buddha lived. Hinduism, the main religion of India at that time, generally accepted the idea of the eternal self. The body is destroyed but the self lives on.
And that was an unchanging identity which was locked in by fate to a particular way of life and determined which caste system you belonged to. The Buddha rejected this Hindu concept and taught instead the interconnectedness of life.
Each self has no fixed reality, but is a constantly changing self and dependant on changing conditions. So each person has a physical body which is dependant on food and warmth, and develops in response to those inputs and to the ageing process.
Our feelings change with our mood and our time in life, and as a direct result of perceptions which comes from what we see and hear around us. We make decisions based on our feelings and perceptions and these constitute our mental formations. From these four, body, feelings, perceptions, and mental formations comes consciousness which is dependant on the other four.
And the sum of these is what we refer to as self, so therefore, according to the Buddha, there is no fixed definable self.
You are still there, with a personality and feelings, and with tremendous possibility for change, and not locked in to some rigid fate, because your nature is built on change.The Three Characteristics of Existence.
We have previously discussed suffering and its pivotal position in the teaching of Buddhism. The Buddha in fact defined three main characteristics of existence, which include suffering, impermanence and the concept of no unique self.
Buddhism is not limited to the two salient characteristics discussed here. The purpose of highlighting these two characteristics is to illuminate the difference between Buddhism and .
You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way. ~ Shakyamuni Buddha. It is not important which school of Buddhism we follow, as long as we practice. Basic Points of Buddhism In the 2, years since the Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi Tree, Buddhism has spread over many countries, split into numerous sects, and adopted a wide variety of beliefs, practices, rituals and customs.
Theravada (pronounced — more or less — "terra-VAH-dah"), the "Doctrine of the Elders," is the school of Buddhism that draws its scriptural inspiration from the Tipitaka, or Pali canon, which scholars generally agree contains the earliest surviving record of the Buddha's teachings.
For many centuries, Theravada has been the predominant . Rebirth is one of the central beliefs of Buddhism. We are in an endless cycle of birth, death and re-birth, which can only be broken by attaining nirvana. Attaining .