Introduction to Buddhism: Part Three

Introduction to Buddhism: Part Three

The goal of Buddhism is to overcome all our shortcomings, clear up all the problematic areas of our lives, and realize in full all our mental and emotional potentials. This means ridding our minds of disturbing
negative emotions, like greed, anger, selfishness and jealousy, and ridding ourselves of compulsive
behavior that’s both self-destructive and harmful to others. As a result, we not only achieve a stable
happiness, but we’re also able to interact with others in the most constructive ways
possible. And we actually do that: we don’t just pray
to Buddha for everything to go well and then sit back. Rather, we actively engage with others and
try to be of best help when we can. We’re able to handle, wisely and compassionately,
any situation that comes up and are a positive influence on everyone we meet. Buddha taught that this goal is a realistic
one, that we’re all capable of reaching. That’s because the basic nature of our minds is pure. We all have the ability to understand things. We all have the ability to feel affection
and care for others. It’s just a matter of clearing out our confusion
and our negative emotions and attitudes, and expanding the natural abilities that we all are born with. When we open our hearts and minds, our potentials
are vast. Now, of course, all of us come from different
backgrounds and cultures. Our present levels of mental and emotional
development vary greatly, but Buddha understood all that. Because of these differences, Buddha imparted
a wide assortment of methods to suit the enormous variety of people in the world. As Buddha’s teachings spread throughout
Asia, his basic message and the goal to strive for both stayed the same. But each culture focused on one or another
of the many methods he taught, choosing those that resonated well with their own ways of
thinking. In that way, the various cultures adapted
the teachings to fit their mentalities, and then, over time, these adaptations evolved even further. And even within any one culture, teachers
chose different methods to suit the varied dispositions of their various students. Nowadays, Buddha’s teachings are spreading
throughout our globalized world. As in the past, teachers are adapting them to suit our modern mentalities and methods of learning. Many aspects of the teachings are consistent
with the latest findings of science, and people appreciate greatly the scientific method Buddha taught to analyze and experiment yourself, before accepting anything he said. By following the traditional Buddhist methods,
but in ways that suit our times, we’ll still be able to reach the same goals that Buddha
and masters over the centuries have attained. We’ll be able to overcome all our shortcomings
and realize all our positive potentials, so that we can of best benefit to everyone.

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