what is "buddhism"?

The core of Buddhism starts with the realisation that ultimately everything we experience is unsatisfactory or imperfect in one way or another. No duh! Maybe you already know that!

Then comes the insight that every "suffering" we experience is ultimately caused by our clinging to the idea of “Self”, and to our desires.

The understanding that everything is interdependent and connected, and has no intrinsic center of its own, is helpful in following through on this insight.

The practice of buddhism is just one way to structure and assimilate a path that actually we are all already on. It is very helpful to have this structure until we can do it on our own.

this, of course, is how it looks to me only!

[upset man is crying to smiling monk] I want happiness! ...
        [monk reaches up and takes speech balloon down like it's a sign board.] ...
        [monk rubs out words with sleeve] First remove 'I', that's ego. Then remove 'want', that's desire. [man watches curiously] ...
        [monk puts sign back over man's head, brushes off his hands] Now all you're left with is ... Happiness!

But, if we examine this idea of self, we can't find it! So, this suffering can be eliminated by seeing clearly that there is no self, and nothing belonging to a "self" (emptiness). This sequence of concepts is part of the Four Noble Truths.

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Buddhism also believes that one can follow this path, and gain the knowledge to eliminate suffering, by oneself, without having to follow others.

I iz not lost, i iz travelin.

All the schools, rituals, teachers, readings, commentaries, and so on are only different Six blind men each touch a different part of an elephant, and each perceives a different thing: spear, snake, fan, wall, tree trunk, rope.ways of explaining the unexplainable for different mindsets and cultures.

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Pretty simple!
Uh. Well yeah.
Then there's ... actually the "practicing" part.
here's one place to start: lo jong [Ideas]
living by it
... oh. dang.

about this site

This web is a collection of information on Buddhism. It is collected for my own use as part of studies , and posted as a web in case it is of value to anyone else.

The information here is not promised to be comprehensive, complete, or even correct. It is in no way intended to be a (and it would be terrifically audacious of me to even think of such a thing)definitive resource, but as one of many starting points for exploring the ideas of Buddhism.

The focus is on Mahayana Buddhism, but is drawing on what i think of as the core ideas of Buddhism from all traditions. Some information on Hinduism is also included, with the thought that Hinduism is the mother of Buddhism. And information on the Mongols, whose unique relationship with Tibet helped enable Buddhism to survive, and also whose history had a direct bearing on the Tibetans' situation today. A couple of other side trips are taken because of personal interest.

The content on these pages is excerpted or summarized from the works listed in the bibliography and links pages, referenced as best i can, and subject to whatever copyright or license is stated in the original work.

The structure of the site is ...
a web, where different threads have different junctures that can lead you to other threads.
or, maybe like a foamy universe, full of wormholes that can lead you to other places/ideas/realities.
just click.

The author of these pages makes no pretense to know anything. Just trying to learn, and since i am a web-maker, i learn by making Web.

notes

on words

The original buddhist teachings and mantras were spoken only, in Pali and Sanskrit, and passed down in other languages as well. Neither Pali nor Sanskrit oiginally had a written form; so there isn't one form of writing in which the original texts were written. (source: WildMind.org)

Then these teachings have been passed down over centuries upon centuries, as the spoken languages changed, and were also preserved in Tibetan and Chinese, two completely different language families. This is a helpful thing to keep in mind when we encounter puzzling pronunciations and interpretations!

the definitive words

Usually i am pointing to the Tibetan for the definition, and giving the word in other languages. Such as chenresig being the center for definition of avalokiteshvara, kwanyin, bodhisattva of compassion, etc. But sometimes i am using English or Sanskrit or Pali for the "definitive" word. I haven't figured this out yet, wether i should point to Tibetan for all (since this web is pointing at the Tibetan Mahayana tradition), or should i point to the most familiar word for each concept ... like with metta, loving kindness (but then, most familiar to who?) ... or point to the english word, since this is all in english ... So yeah, i'm still figuring it out :)

on gendered words

I have chosen to replace all pronouns when possible with we, they, them, their.

but jaaaaaames wtf whyyyyy????
It is as well as personal experience my understanding that there are more than two genders ideas: gender ref coming upref TBD (as well as none) ideas: gender ref coming upref TBD, and also that within us are really multiple selves ideas: multiple selves ref coming upref TBD (and at the same time, no self ideas: no self ref coming upref TBD.
The English language so far doesn't have pronouns to express these concepts, (there have been several attempts to instate some, but seem mostly limited to concepts of binary and/or sexual relationships).
I am very happy with the we/they/them/their solution; the english works fine for me. If you have any problems with it, please too bad; so sad; my little tiny violin is playing sad songs for you!see here.

on the i

but jaaaaaames wtf you keep forgetting to uppercase "I".
I have never understood why the individual self should be emphasised.

on placenames

It is only in relatively modern times, as population has grown and different peoples have bumped up against each other, that the rigid concept of a "nation-state" has developed, with rigid physical boundaries and discrete wall-to-wall governments.

I am using names such as "tibet", "china", as a shorthand for geographical areas where similar people lived and identified with; not to imply any state or nationhood. I will use Initial Caps when referring to a nation-state government, rather than an area of people.

Here's Wikipedia on: “Country”, “Nation”, “Nation-state”, “State”, “Stateless society” (think, exile Tibet).

the code

The code which constructs this website itself, and my few original words in the site pages, are licensed under the gpl. (Summary: If you want it, you can have it! Pass it on.)

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(Yup, that's a lot of “power”, isn't it? But in this case it's power in its real and basic meaning: Not as overpowering someone, but as “the thing that facilitates” ... gives it the energy to run!)

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May all beings be happy.