Buddhism is a reflection of the life experience of Siddhartha Gautama. Prince Siddhartha lived over 2500 years ago, and gave up the material life to struggle to attain the truth of enlightenment. Completing the attainment of enlightenment, he became known as Sakyamuni Buddha. We are not able to know the exact process that Sakyamuni Buddha went through to arrive at his awakening to enlightenment. However, it is generally agreed upon that the key to understanding the Buddhist teachings is through the truth of "dependent origination". What this means is that all things are related by "CAUSE", "CONDITION", and "EFFECT". Everything in the world, including each of our lives, is interdependent and interconnected, creating a network of relationships consisting of causes, conditions, and effects that extend in all dimensions and in all directions.
At the individual level, our lives are either fulfilled and happy, or unfulfilled and unhappy. Usually we fluctuate between these two states to varying degree. Whether happy or unhappy, the state is temporary and illusive. The Buddhist Teachings show us that we can trace the causes and conditions that have led us to the current effect of happy or unhappy.
We are usually blind to the fact that we cause our own current condition. Although causes are many, most problems come from our own GREED, ANGER, and IGNORANCE. Dissatisfaction and unfulfillment at various levels can be traced to these three roots. Our own problems as well as those of people close and dear to us can usually be traced to our Greed, Anger, and Ignorance. Even closer inspection reveals that these three roots stem from our ego-centeredness and self-serving perspective. It is through our inspection, analysis and evaluation that our perspective is transformed. We are able to recognize our interconnection to all else. We are able to recognize that we are one part of the interconnected flow of life, and not isolated "victims of circumstance". The interdependent net of circumstances that is our lives becomes grounding rather than entrapping. In the final analysis, it is the movement of compassion in its natural condition and not our own ego-centered efforts that cause the awakened awareness of life to emerge.
After attaining enlightenment, Sakyamuni Buddha had a decision to keep and enjoy the enlightened state for himself, or to share the enlightenment with others. Moved by Compassion, he chose to share the teachings. He first sought out his former fellow seekers, and shared the Truth with them. This event is looked upon as the initial turning of the Wheel of the Dharma.
From the perspective of the former fellow seekers, Enlightenment came to them and compassionately embraced them. This is a description of Buddha Power, or Other Power. This is the root of Pure Land Buddhism and the Jodo Shinshu Teachings.
Everything in the world is the result of a concurrence of causes and conditions, and everything disappears as these causes and conditions change and pass away.
---Basic tenet of Buddhism
Shinran Shonin, the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, is a towering religious figure of thirteenth century Japan. He reformed the aristocratic and philosophic type of Buddhism practiced before his time into a practical Buddhism that provided spiritual comfort to men and women in all walks of life. Today, he is respected by the world as one of the greatest thinkers that Japan has ever produced.
Jodo Shinshu Buddhism is a path that brings man to see himself as he truly is, and leads him to Enlightenment. Jodo Shinshu Buddhism recognizes the limitations and attachments of everyday people in everyday life. We are not monastics ... we are householders. As householders, we cannot cut our ties to this world ... in fact, we cultivate our ties and constantly create new ones. The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Teachings reveal a way that assures Enlightenment despite our ties. Our primary focus is to learn and to share the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Teachings.
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