Bahai News - Buddhists searching for peace: Four Noble Truths key to religion's teachings
Buddhists searching for peace: Four Noble Truths key to religion's
DAILY MAIL STAFF
The cause of suffering is craving and ignorance, which arise from ego.
There is a way out of suffering.
The way out of suffering is following the Eight-Fold Path, a major element
of which is meditation.
Buddhism contains those Four Noble Truths.
"The Four Noble Truths form the core of all Buddhist teachings," Darrell
"These were taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago."
Glenn will be one of three speakers at an upcoming session on Buddhism, the
fifth in an ongoing monthly series geared to educate the public on the
various religious communities throughout the valley. Sessions so far have
included Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and the Baha'i faith. The free series,
sponsored by Kanawha Valley Interfaith Council, is entitled "Interfaith
Growing - Growing in Unity by Understanding Diversity."
The session on Buddhist beliefs will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday in Institute at
West Virginia State College's National Center for Human Relations, Room 102.
Buddhism has a 2,500-year history in Asia where it migrated across the
continent and was adapted to local culture. Establishing its practice in
Western countries has also led to diversity. However, the basics remain
"A short life history leads into the Four Noble Truths," Glenn said. "The
Buddha was an Indian prince who had every material possession available in
his day. But he wasn't satisfied and thought there must be something more to
life than that. So he left home in order to find the meaning of life.
Buddha, whose given name was Siddhartha Gautama, studied with Hindu teachers.
He practiced self-deprivation. He was no happier.
He then tried meditation as he ate enough to stay healthy. This led to the
Four Noble Truths as well as a path for finding contentment. The path to
peace includes the correct speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness,
concentration, view and thought, Glenn said. The goal is to strike a balance
in life in an effort to stop suffering.
This is where meditation comes in and those who attend the session will have
a chance to try the experience.
"Buddha means awake," said Thad Settle, a local artist and customer service
specialist for AT&T. "He was not a prophet. He was a human who lived for 80
years. He led an ordinary existence."
Buddhists do not worship Buddha but instead follow his teachings.
Among a collection of his teachings is an experience with a follower who once
asked if he must give up his religion in order to follow Buddhism, said Jeff
Green, labor market analyst for the state Bureau of Employment Programs.
"The Buddha said 'You do not have to give up your religion to follow my
path,'" Green said.
In fact, people of many religions follow his teachings, he said.
"There really isn't worship of a God in Buddhism," Glenn said. "The Buddha
was not like Jesus Christ, who was God living as man on earth. He was just
a man who came to a high realization. The Buddhist idea is that if you
practice like he did you can come to the same realization."
Buddha did not set out to start a religion but to find a way to control
suffering and discontent. However, Buddhism is a major world religion even
though some specifics may be hard to grasp, Settle said.
"In the West our take on religion involves a theistic approach," he said.
"Most have at the center a God who is worshipped."
Buddhism involves practices allowing people to understand how the mind works.
For example, in meditation it is possible to quiet the mind's racing and feel
A local meditation group consisting of people who are not necessarily
Buddhists meets regularly.
The Mountain State Insight Meditation Group meets 7 p.m. Tuesdays at First
Presbyterian Church. For more information on the meditation group call Green
at 722-5252 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With meditation comes the realization that emotions move and change but do
not have to control.
Buddhists are not to be egotistical but are to be compassionate and caring
"If you are not so taken with self, naturally you care more about other
people," Glenn said.
Glenn, assistant director for Research and Information Systems with the state
Higher Education Policy Commission, said Buddhism has not made his life
perfect, but it has improved his outlook.
"I notice a difference in how I live and how I pay attention to what goes on
around me," he said.
Speakers at the upcoming session include Glenn, Settle and Douglas Imbrogno
of the Charleston Gazette. The theme is "How Buddhism is Taking Root in
Religious leaders who are interested in sponsoring an evening may send a
written request on letterhead to Dr. Linda Geronilla, 92 Cook Drive,
Charleston, WV 25314.
Writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith can be reached at 348-1246 or by e-mail at
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