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Theravada Buddhism

Nirvana, the ultimate goal of Theravada Buddhism, is not a mystic state but a state in which the mind is Buddhist Meditationk purged and purified of all ego conceit and all traces of attachment, greed, aversion, hatred, and delusion.

Buddhism offers its own critique of religion. Buddhism Practices In this, religion is not theocentric, centered around the idea of a creator, but rather seen as being centered around the interest of man. Religion is not something that has come down from heaven to fulfill a divine purpose, but something that has grown up on earth to satisfy the deepest of human needs. It is not based on divine revelation - but on human discovery.

Buddhism is not dependent on blind faith and worship but on the understanding of experience through the use of human intelligence. It is not based on history or a story which if proved false would tumble down, but stands on the hard rock of direct personal experience. The practice of Theravada Buddhism is not based on the idea of punishment and reward but on selflessness and love. Maithri Publications

Buddhist Meditation

Theravada Buddhism does not regard man as a sinner who is incapable of anything better than appealing to the creator for forgiveness. It regards man as capable of rising above all human weaknesses and cultivating a divine mind through his own efforts. One cannot be saved by any external means but he has to save himself through this own efforts and right technique developed by his mind. The Buddha is not a savior but a guide who teaches the technique of saving oneself after having tested it himself. The destiny of man is not controlled by the whims of a creator, but by the kind of life he leads, his thoughts, speech and actions in accordance with the law of cause and effect One's state of mind even determines the situation in which he is reborn.

The Buddha taught about rebirth in Theravada Buddhism but not in the reincarnation or the transmigration of permanent souls. The life after death is only a continuation of the present process of existence. The Buddha realized that our existence does not begin with this human life nor end with this life in some kind of eternal heaven or hell afterwards, out he beheld that we have been existing since beginningless time in countless numbers of various existences according to our accumulated Karma and will continue to do so until the whole process is understood and gradually brought to a standstill. Theravada Buddhism is a gradual path of mental evolution, where man transcends human weaknesses and attains perfection of mind and finally solves the problem of existence, attains Nirvana.

All problems in life boil down to one psychological problem called Dukkha or suffering. Suffering is not just poverty, starvation and sickness and so forth which modern man commonly talks about. It is more related to mental suffering in the form of confusion, anxiety, depression, grief, worry, restlessness and so forth which are mainly psychological states. Normally these states of mind are considered to be the fault of circumstances. This is why these arc seen commonly as economic or social problems. Yet the Buddha points out that they are caused by our mental attitudes and reactions to circumstances, not by the objects or situations themselves. If we really check up inside our mind we will find this is true.

 

This suffering is understood in Theravada Buddhism to be the clash between ourselves and the world around us. To put it in other words, it is the clash between our desires and reality. This means that suffering is caused by unrealistic desires. Reality frustrates these desires in most cases so we wish that reality were otherwise. Our desires are insatiable. The real cause of our suffering is the unrealistic desire, not the reality that frustrates it. The real cause of the economic problem is not the absence of means to satisfy our endless wants, but the presence of these insatiable wants. So the solution of our problems in life is the eradication of these unrealistic desires which clash with reality and frustrate us and cause us unhappiness. In other words, we have to awaken from our world of dreams and come down to reality, to face and accept reality as it is. This is why Theravada Buddhism is not an other-worldly religion or a kind of escapist asceticism but a this-worldly and down to earth realism. Nirvana is not an escape into a trance state of mystical bliss, but rather perfect sanity which goes beyond the so called normality that is itself insanity, from a Buddhist point of view.

To understand Theravada Buddhism we have to understand ourselves, as it is merely a description of ourselves What has to be done is not to examine the pages of old worn out texts, though this may be useful at the outset to find out where we have to go; nor do we have to make long excursions into outer space or make complicated mathematical calculations The Buddha's Teachings are like routes on a map which help us to journey through the labyrinths of our own mind When the mind is understood we have understood everything. The Buddha said, "The world, the beginning of the world, the end of the world, and the path leading to the end of the world is right here in this fathom-long body with its perceptions and consciousness."

The person who understands in this way need not worry about the problem of an after life. Buddhism is not a worry about circumstances here or hereafter, but a concern about mental states here and now. If we look after the present state of mind, the future will look after itself. Nirvana is a state of being in which the mind is purified of all clinging, craving, aversions, ego-conceit and ignorance here and now, not a trance or life after death. If Buddhism is understood and practiced by mankind, this earth would become a place of harmony and happiness; happiness not through plenty and power, but happiness through desire-lessness and wisdom.

 

 

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