4About BuddhismAbout BuddhaThe Four SightsBuddha’s teachings: The Four Noble TruthsThe Eightfold PathThe Three Jewels or RefugesThe Five Precepts & the Ten PreceptsThe Buddhism SchoolsBasic and Important concepts in BuddhismDeath and Dying from the Buddhist perspectiveBibliographyOpen dialogue based on questions from participants
5About BuddhismBuddhism is created as an answer to the question of what is the cause of entanglement of beings in the cycle of existence (Samsara) and how to free oneself from it.The heart of the historical Buddha teachings can be summarized as follows:Life is impermanenceLife is without essenceLife is characterized by sufferingThese three marks of existence are the beginning of the Buddhist path. The suffering of existence is created by craving and ignorance. Through clearing away craving and ignorance, liberation of Samsara can be attained. The entanglement of beings in the cycle of existence is explained in Buddhism by the chain of conditioned arising (karma). The termination of the cycle is tantamount to the realization of nirvana. The way to this can be summarized in terms of:
6The Four Nobles TruthsThe Eightfold pathTraining in discipline and moralityMeditationWisdom and insight
7Buddha (literally meaning ‘awakened one’, enlighten). About BuddhaBuddha (literally meaning ‘awakened one’, enlighten).A person who has achieved the ‘enlightenment’ which leads to the release of the cycle of existence (Samsara) and has thereby attained complete liberation (Nirvana). After death, he/she, will not be reborn again. The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, was born in 563 B.C., son of a prince of the Shakyas clan, in a small kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayas, today Nepal. His first name was Siddhartha and his family name Gautama. That is why he is sometimes called by the name of Gautama Buddha. After is enlightenment, the Buddha taught for about forty-five years, dying at the age of eighty (483 B.C.)The historical Buddha is not the first and only Buddha. In early texts, six others Buddha’s or ‘enlighten ones’ who preceded him are already mentioned, as well as Buddha's to come.
9The sight of an old person The sight of a sick person The Four SightsIt is said that four sights cause Siddhartha Gautama determination to start his quest for the truth:The sight of an old personThe sight of a sick personThe sight of a corpseThe sight of a mendicant or holy man
10Buddha’s Teachings : The Four Noble Truths The truth of suffering The truth of the origin of sufferingThe truth of the cessation of sufferingThe truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
11The Path to the Cessation of Suffering The last Noble Truth:The Path to the Cessation of Sufferinggives origin to the so-calledEightfold Path:I. Right viewII. Right resolveIII. Right speechIV. Right conductV. Right livelihoodVI. Right effortVII. Right meditationVIII. Wisdom
12The Three Jewels or Refuges To Take Refuge in the Three Treasures or Jewelsis to make a commitment to live a life as a Buddhist.This commitment is expressed when one takes the vows as a Bodhisattva and or as a Nun or Monk:I take Refuge in…The Buddha (the Buddha nature present in all life manifestation)The Dharma (the cosmic law, the ‘great norm’)The Sangha (the community of nuns and monks)
13can be summarized in this popular verse: Not to do evil This commitment :to live a Buddhist lifecan be summarized in this popular verse:Not to do evilTo cultivate goodTo purify one’s mindAs oppose to the three ‘poisons’:Greed, craving or desireAversion or hatredIgnorance or delusion
14The Five Precepts. Heart of Ethical Practice Rules that identify the aspirations of a Buddhist.Not commandments, but prescriptions for treating the human condition and an antidote to the three poisons: greed, aversion and ignorance. I undertake to observe the precept to…abstain from harming living beingsabstain from taking things not freely givenabstaining from sexual misconductabstain from false speechabstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness
15The Ten PreceptsApplied to the monastic life and lay people unattached to familiesPrecepts are followed by nuns and monksThey are added to the five preceding precepts
16I undertake to observe the precept to … abstain from taking untimely mealsVII. abstain from dancing, music, singing and watching grotesque mimeVIII. abstain from the use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornmentsIX. abstain from the use of high seatsX. abstain from accepting gold or silver
17The Buddhist Schools Like other religious traditions, Buddhism has divided into various branches over its history. Two main Schools:HinayanaCalled Small Vehicle as well Theravada or Way of the Elders of the Order.It has developed in southward India:Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.MahayanaCalled Great Vehicle.Developed through Nepal, China, Tibet, Japan, Korea and Vietnam
18Hinayana and Mahayana are both rooted in the basic teachings of the historical BuddhaShakyamuni, but they stress different aspectsof those teachings.While Hinayana seeksthe liberation of the individual, the follower ofthe Mahayana seeks to attain enlightenmentfor the sake of the welfare of all beings.
21Compassion Infinite love. Compassion arises out of attaining conscious and unconscious awareness aboutour already existent Buddha nature.Compassion manifests itself in many differentways, depending on the circumstances. Itincludes without distinction the entire Universeand it is expressed in our daily life throughactions, thoughts, speech, and hearing, givingand receiving.Being one with the world.
22Dharma(Sanskrit). Is the Cosmic Law, the ‘great norm’ underlying our world.Above all, the law of karmically conditioned rebirth.The Dharma is considered as the teaching of the Buddha expressing the universal truth. It existed before the birth of the historical Buddha, who is no more than a manifestation of it.
23EmptinessCentral notion of the Mahayana Buddhism or Great Vehicle School.Void of essence, impermanent, empty of self-nature.
24EgoIn Buddhism the concept of Ego is use in the sense of consciousness of one’s self. It is seen as composed of factors without no real fundamental nature, leading to an illusory world. The concept of an ego arises when dichotomizing intellect is confused into presupposing a dualism between I and no-I (or other). As a result, we think and act as though we are entities separated from everything else, against a world that lies outside of us. Ego dominates the mind, it attacks everything that threatens its dominance and is attracted to everything that seems to extend its power. Ibid. p.62
25RebirthSince the time of ripening of our actions generally exceeds a lifespan, the effect of actions is necessarily one or more rebirths, which together constitute the cycle of existence (Samsara)Samsara(Sanskrit). The ‘cycle of existence’. A succession of rebirths that a being goes through within the various modes of existence until it has attained liberation and entered nirvana.
26Sutra(Sanskrit). Discourses of the Buddha. The sutras have been preserved in Pali and Sanskrit as well as in Chinese and Tibetan translation. Accordingly to the tradition, they derive directly from the Buddha. The sutras are prose texts; each introduced by the words “Thus have I heard”. These words are ascribed to Ananda, a student of the Buddha. He is supposed to have retained the discourses of the Buddha in memory and to have recited them at the first Buddhist Council immediately after the death of the Buddha. After these introductory words, the circumstances that occasioned the Buddha to give the discourse are specified, as well as the place, the time of the year, etc. The introduction follows, sometimes in the form of a dialogue. The style of the sutras is simple, popular and didactically oriented. They are rich in parables and allegories. Each sutra constitutes a self sufficient unit.  Ibid. p
27Mantra(Also mantram. Sanskrit). A power-laden syllable or series of syllables that manifest certain cosmic forces and aspects of the Buddha’s, sometimes also the name of a Buddha (i.e. Amitaba-Buddha). Continuous repetition of mantras is practiced as a form of meditation in many Buddhist schools. A mantra is defined as a way of protecting the mind. It also works through sublimation of vibrations it creates through the sounds developed in the act of speaking.
28MeditationGeneral term for a multitude of religious practices, often quite different in method, but all having the same goal: to bring the consciousness of the practitioner to a state in which he can come to an experience of ‘awakening’, ‘liberation’, ‘enlightenment’. Diligent practice of meditation in Buddhism leads to a non-dualistic state of mind in which the distinction between subject and object having disappeared, and the practitioner having become one with ‘the absolute’, conventions like time and space are transcended in an ‘eternal here and now’, and the identity of life and death, phenomenal and essential, Samsara and Nirvana is experienced. If this experience, in the process of endlessly ongoing spiritual training, can be integrated into daily life, then finally that stage is reached which religion refers to as salvation, liberation or complete enlightenment.  Ibid. p. 142
29Middle WayGenerally a term for the way of the historical Buddha, which teaches avoidance of all extremes like indulgence in the pleasures of the senses, on one hand, and self-mortification and asceticism on the other. Refrain from choosing between opposing positions, and in relation to the existence or nonexistence of all things, treads a middle way.  Ibid. p.143
30Karma(Sanskrit: action). Universal law of cause and effect. The effect of an action, which can be of the nature of the body, speech, or mind, is not primarily determined by the act itself but rather particularly by the intention of the action. It is the intention of the action that causes a karmic effect to arise. Only a deed that is free from desire, hate and delusion is without karmic effect. Karma provides the situation, not the response to the situation. Ibid. p. 42
32from the Buddhist perspective Death and Dyingfrom the Buddhist perspective“At the moment of death our life becomes clear. Death is our greatest teacher…Life is nothing but changes, which are little deaths.” Tibetan Lama
33Death and Dying are of particular significance in the Buddhist worldview: they are part of the cycle of rebirth, directly connected to birth itself (rather than being at the other end of life’s events).It is important to die well, but also to live every moment as if it were the last. All is impermanence. Rebirth is a consequence of this impermanence.
35BibliographyEugen Herrigel. The Method of Zen Vintage Books. New York.Ingrid Fisher-Schreiber (Buddhism), Franz-Karl Ehrhard (Tibetan Buddhism), Michael S. Diener (Zen). The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen Shambala. Boston & London. Judith L. Lief. Making Friends with Death. A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality Shambhala. Boston & London.
36Malcom D. Eckel. Buddhism. 2002. Oxford University Press. New York. Sogyal Rinpoche. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Harper San Francisco. New York Taizan Maezumi Roshi. Appreciate your Life. The essence of Zen Practice Shambala Classics. Boston & London. Taizen Dechimaru, Maestro. El Sutra de la Gran Sabiduría. Comentarios Miraguano Ed. Madrid. Thich Nhat Hanh. No Death, No Fear. Comforting Wisdom for Life Riverhead Books. New York.