The founder of
Buddhism in this world was Buddha Shakyamuni who lived and
gave teachings in India some two and a half thousand years ago. Since then
millions of people around world have followed the spiritual path he
The Buddhist way of life of peace, loving kindness and wisdom can
be just as relevant today as it was in ancient India.
Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused
and negative states of mind, and that all our happiness and good fortune
arise from peaceful and positive states of mind.
Buddha taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such
as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds
such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we can come to experience
lasting peace and happiness.
These methods can work for anyone, in any country, in 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.
Meditation is at the heart of the Buddhist way of life. It is essentially
a method for understanding and working on our own mind. We first learn
to identify our different negative mental states known as ‘delusions’,
and learn how to develop peaceful and positive mental states or ‘virtuous
Then in meditation we overcome our delusions by becoming familiar
with virtuous minds. Out of meditation we try to maintain the virtuous
minds we have developed and use our wisdom to solve the problems of
As our mind becomes more positive our actions become more constructive,
and our experience of life becomes more satisfying and beneficial
Anyone can learn basic meditation techniques and experience great
benefits, but to progress beyond basic meditation requires faith in
the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Usually people
find this develops naturally as they experience the benefits of their
The teachings of Buddha reveal a
step by step path to lasting happiness. By following this path anyone
can gradually transform his or her mind from its present confused
and self-centred state into the blissful mind of a Buddha.In his popular
book Eight Steps to Happiness, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the
Founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, explains:
"Every living being has the potential to become a
Buddha, someone who has completely purified his or her mind of all
faults and limitations and has brought all good qualities to perfection.
Our mind is like a cloudy sky, in essence clear and pure but overcast
by the clouds of delusions.
Just as the thickest clouds eventually disperse, so too even the
heaviest delusions can be removed from our mind. Delusions such
as hatred, greed, and ignorance are not an intrinsic part of the
mind. If we apply the appropriate methods they can be completely
eliminated, and we shall experience the supreme happiness of full
enlightenment." Eight Steps
to Happiness by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Having attained enlightenment we shall have all the necessary qualities
to lead all living beings to the same blissful state. This is the
ultimate aim of Mahayana Buddhism.
More information about Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha can be found in
Geshe Kelsang's books, Introduction
to Buddhism or Eight
Steps to Happiness.
If you would like to attend meditation classes near you and learn about Buddhism, visit the main website for Kadampa Buddhism which has details of Buddhist Centres around the world.