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What Are The Core Buddhism Beliefs?

"Precept, Samadhi, Enlightenment"

"Precept, Samadhi, Enlightenment" are the core Buddhism beliefs.

Shakyamuni gave teachings for forty-nine years in his life. He preached a lot including what is right and what is wrong, reincarnation, karmic relationship, and the structure of universe etc. However, the core of his teachings can be summarized into three words: "Precept, Samadhi, Enlightenment".

"Precept" means to give up all kind of human desires.

"Samadhi" means to meditate in trance, which is the major form of practicing that a Buddhism practitioner needs to do.

"Enlightenment" means one's mind is unlocked. At this stage, one is able to see the form of existence of matters and lives in different dimensions of the universe and has realized the truth of the universe. This is the aim and final result of practicing Buddhism. A Buddha is a human being that has reached enlightenment through practicing.

Take "Precepts" as the Master

In Buddhism there are numerous scriptures. Actually when Shakyamuni was alive, he did not leave any written statements. Buddhism scriptures were written by his disciples basing upon their memories about what Shakyamuni had said.

What Shakyamuni genuinely left to his disciples were just precepts, which include abstaining from killing, stealing, sex, lying etc.

Before Shakyamuni entered Nirvana, he emphasized to his disciples that after he passed away, they should just take precepts as the Master.

Precepts are the actual practicing methods through which Buddhism practitioners can improve oneself until reaching enlightenment. Therefore, "Precepts" can be said as one of the most basic Buddhism beliefs.


Milarepa statue
A statue of Milarepa

Jetsun Milarepa is a famous figure in Kagyu (Bka'-brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is well-known for his diligence in practicing meditation for many years in a mountain cave. According to Milarepa's teaching to his disciple, one of the most basic Buddhism beliefs should be "Causality".

Milarepa in his early life learned some evil practice and killed a lot of people through incantation. He deeply believed in causality and became so afraid of entering the Three Evil Paths for these sins that he decided he must find a school that could enable him to become a Buddha in one lifetime.

He learned that Master Marpa knew such kind of advanced practicing methods. He followed Marpa very respectfully no matter how badly Marpa treated him.

When Milarepa was practicing meditation in a mountain, he regarded it too wasteful of time to find food, so he was just eating wild nettles to feed himself. He became very skinny. After years of diligent practicing his clothes went into pieces and he was just naked. Through many years of dedicated practicing, he reached enlightenment. He could fly in the air. His energy was so powerful that he could destroy a mountain.

One of Milarepa's disciples, after learning of his story, cried out, "None of us can practice as diligent as you did. We dare not practice in this school any more. What can be done if we cannot get away from the sufferings of reincarnations?"

Milarepa replied, "If everyone of you can let arise from the bottom of your heart the very determined belief in the principle of causality, be afraid of the sufferings of being reincarnated into the Three Evil Paths and want to pursue the supreme Buddha status, then everyone can do as well as I did in being absolutely respectful towards Master and having the biggest diligence and enlightenment during cultivation practice. This can be achieved by everyone."

Six Paths of Reincarnation

In Buddhism's theory, beings are given rebirth repeatedly between Six Paths according to a being's behavior, unless one ascends to heaven through cultivation practice.

The Six Paths are divided into Three Good Paths and Three Evil Paths. The Three Good Paths are Deva Path, Asura Path and Human Path. The Three Evil Paths are Animal Path, Hungry Ghost Path and the Hell Path.

It is extremely painful if one does bad things in one's human life and then, as a result, is reincarnated into any of the Three Evil Paths.

Click here for paintings of hell.

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