Posted by David on November 24, 1998 at 07:12:10:
In Reply to: want to know posted by michele on November 23, 1998 at 06:49:10:
Buddhists believe that each of us has the capacity to become enlightened through our own practice. All of the Buddha's and Buddhist teachings are tools for us to use in this practice. As we practice and gain insight into the way things are, then we may also begin to more firmly believe in things like impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-self, etc. With this practice and insight, we also find that these apparently negative concepts are not negative at all, but are actually very affirming and joy-giving insights.
Some other very useful tools are the Four Noble Truths, which are 1)suffering arises, 2) Suffering has a cause, 3) Suffering does not arise if the cause(s) are eliminated, and 4) the path to eliminating the causes of suffering. One can believe that these are all true. But without looking into them for oneself and practicing the path, one will not eliminate the causes of suffering in oneself or be very able to help others do the same. Thus, Buddhists also believe that intellectual understanding and belief in the teachings of Buddhism is not enough. One must practice.
It can also be said that a Buddhist believes in nothing at all, but this is said in an absolute sense. Of course, to practice and grow, we must believe in and utilize the concepts of Buddhist teachings.
To formally become a Buddhist, one takes the Three Refuges. Refuge in Buddha, Refuge in Dharma, and Refuge in Sangha. This means one places their faith and direction in the Buddha "within oneself" (Buddha), the Buddist teachings and the way things are (Dharma), and the community of both monks and nuns and able teachers and fellow practitioners (Sangha). The Three Refuges can be taken with a Buddhist monk or nun. One may also take Precepts (training rules, or training regulations) which can immensely help one in their practice.
Does this help?
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