Like Christians and Muslims, lay Buddhists have their own way of life. Some live according to the precepts of Buddhism, others merge traditional practices with modernity.
But what is Buddhism by definition? Is it a lifestyle or religion ?
Know Buddhism as a religion
You have to go back five thousand years before our era to know the genesis and history of Buddhism. It is a religion that persists and has many influences around the world. Buddhism-related practices are no longer confined to the East, many Westerners have done so over the past decade.
THE streams of Buddhism from its genesis to the present day can be divided into two broad categories, as follows:
- Theravada Buddhism : also called Hinayana, this first category is the traditional form and is common in Ceylon, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and especially in his native Nepal. Some Buddhist clans identify it as a “small vehicle” or “conformist Buddhism”, the practices conform to the original, that is to say respecting the precepts and teachings of the Buddha.
- Mahayana Buddhism : also called “Great Vehicle”, it is the most widespread and chosen form of Buddhism today. Some lay people find it interesting compared to Theravada because of its appearance which blends easily with modernity. There are three subcategories of Mahayana, namely Vajrayana, Dhyana and Pure Land.
The first is Vajrayana, which focuses on practices related to magical signs called ” Mudras », the magic formulas called « Dhâranis » and the magic prayers called « Mandaras “. The second is Dhyana, which is the most common and well-known form because the practice related to this type of Buddhism is meditation. The last is the Pure Land which is practiced with the rosary and during which the name of Buddha Amithaba is recited.
The essential rules of life according to Buddhism
Buddha shared rules with his disciples to help them cope with life properly. This is part of his teachings, in addition to having compassion, joy for the happiness of others and helping people in difficulty. The foundations of this ethics are the following :
– I’humility is a great quality that every person should have. In other words, each individual must learn to accept life within himself. According to Buddha, it is a way of learning to live in society and of reducing the impact of suffering;
– I’honor is another quality that every individual must preserve at all costs. This value is essential for a better quality of life and empowerment;
– THE regret is a defect that every individual must banish. The more we regret, the more we suffer, which is why it is important to face life with determination to better assimilate a situation and make it an experience;
– THE desire is above all a source of permanent frustration, it generates and accentuates suffering in certain situations. Knowing how to renounce desire is then a liberation for oneself;
– I’useless is still perceived as a cumbersome object that is no longer used. It is imperative to avoid object dependency and maintain control above all else.
Peculiarity of the Buddhist way of life
Buddhists and followers of this practice are aware of the ethical foundations that facilitate integration into a community and the ability to live in society. The first characteristic of Buddhism is its versatility. A good layman adapts easily to any culture in their home community. Indeed, Buddhist thought can easily be integrated into all types of contexts, whether cultural or societal. It also adapts to cultural diversity because within a society, the inhabitants are always cosmopolitan. There is therefore a cultural and religious shock if one does not adapt to multiculturalism.
In general, since Buddhism was adopted in the Western world, certain practices have been distorted, that is, they no longer conform to the original precepts. This adaptation has become another peculiarity of Buddhism because this aspect has attracted thousands of sympathizers by the practice as the meditationprinciples such as ethics and quality such as tolerance.
The Buddhist lifestyle through meditation
As we already know, meditation is central to all Buddhist practices. Sometimes Buddhism means meditation. Before being a practice, it is above all a point of reference because Guatama Siddharta reached spiritual awakening through meditation. This stage of enlightenment is the anchoring of Buddhism as a religion, spirituality, philosophy and practice.
The Larousse dictionary offers the following definition: “meditation is the action of thinking, of thinking deeply about a subject, of accomplishing something” or even “Concentration of body and mind on a theme or a religious symbol. It is therefore a practice fixed on thinking about a subject in order to achieve a spiritual goal.
The history of contemporary Buddhism begins when Siddhartha became Buddha. His teachings also derive from it. Admittedly, he had his four famous encounters which allowed him to learn more about life before entering the monastery. But by the meditationhe became aware of Four Noble Truths, all related to suffering. This is the subject of his later teachings.
Opt for the Buddhist way of life
We can list some essential behaviors to live better in community:
– Share : helping someone is part of the behavior required by the Buddha’s teaching;
– Learn to accept yourself : each individual has his own destiny and has the role of being grateful for what he has at his disposal. This is the key to happiness;
– Participate in change : to be happy, it is imperative to change and break away from bad habits;
– Living in the moment : focusing on the past and the future makes us forget the importance of the present. You have to learn to live in the present because it is the other key to happiness.