INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM
The founder of Buddhism in this world was Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived and taught in India some 2,500 years ago. Since then millions of people around the world have followed the pure spiritual path he revealed.
Buddha’s principal motivation was to end the suffering of all living beings. Towards that end, he explored many of the spiritual paths available during his day. After spending several years practising in several different traditions, he concluded that none of the teachings of his time could lead to permanent liberation from suffering. He chose to meditate, and vowed not to arise from meditation until he discovered a method to end all suffering. After several days of intense meditation, he realized the true nature of phenomenon, specifically the true nature of suffering. He also realized a true method to end suffering.
If Buddha could have ended all suffering for all beings, he would have done so. However, he realized that we are all responsible for our own experience; indeed, we all create our own worlds. Therefore, it was not within his power to end our suffering directly. However, it was within his power to teach a valid method by which we could end our own suffering. So Buddha spent the remaining 45 years of life teaching.
Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind, and all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states of mind. He taught methods for gradually overcoming negative states of minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. If we choose to practise these methods sincerely, we will come to experience lasting peace and happiness.
These techniques work for anyone, in any country, at any age. Once we have gained experience of them for ourselves we can pass them on to others so they, too, can enjoy the same benefits.