The word buddha means ‘awakened’. A buddha is someone who has awakened to the true nature of reality. This can also be called enlightenment.
The path to inner freedom
Buddhism – the teaching of the Buddha – is the communication of that awakening to others. It shows us how we too can achieve enlightenment.
Enlightenment is possible for us because the potential for it exists right here and now within us. In the true nature of our mind. Young or old, rich or poor, male or female, we all share that same potential. To follow the Buddhist path is to cultivate our inner potential and bring it to fruition, in lasting freedom and limitless compassion and wisdom.
‘Our fundamental state is the awakened insight and compassion that Buddha returned to some 2,500 years ago.’ Lama Jampa Thaye
Following the path
The path itself consists of three main elements: morality, meditation and wisdom.
Morality means being mindful of the way we think and act and speak. Mindfulness enables us to let go of self-indulgence and relate to others in a way that puts their needs first.
In meditation we begin to calm the turbulence of thoughts and feelings and develop insight into our mind and our experience of the world. Through wisdom, we gradually come to an understanding of how things really are.
These three trainings, as they are called, support each other. If we are not mindful of our behaviour and only act on impulse, we have no real basis for developing calmness in meditation. And without a calm, clear mind it is difficult to fully investigate anything.
From east to west
Since the time of the Buddha, countless men and women have achieved great states of realisation through the practice of his teachings. These teachings have been preserved and transmitted in the various Buddhist traditions of Asia down to the present day. They are now being passed on to people in the West.