Knew Jesus Christ from Gautama Buddha

Buddhism. Brief summary of doctrine and various conceptions of the faith


Before the Buddha appeared, conditions in India had come under pressure. Generations were exploited, human rights were violated and bondage and hardship had created inner tension, so that a change in the situation seemed urgently necessary.

The Persian great king Cyrus developed a central power that was also imitated in India. This brought nothing but endless wars. The military was characterized by aggressiveness. The lower classes of society were again exploited and oppressed. This also gave religion a negative function, because it helped to stabilize the unjust conditions. An awareness of calamity and the longing for liberation built up in the people. The Indian word for salvation, moschka (= freeing oneself from bondage), got central importance.

"Buddha" means "the enlightened one" and is the honorary title of the Indian Prince Siddhartha. It was made around 560 BC. born and is the founder of Buddhism. His father Shuddhodana was the prince of a small state. The father gave him a good education and married him at a young age. At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his family and sought wisdom from hiking teachers. He reached enlightenment at the age of 35 and traveled through the country as a teacher, accompanied by a growing crowd of students. He died at the age of around 80 (480 BC).

The following Buddha legends allow us to encounter the essential image of the Buddha:

The supernatural conception

The Lord of the Three Worlds descends from heaven. Clearly and fully conscious, he enters his mother's womb as a young white elephant with six tusks on the right side. His head was purple in color, and he was well-educated in body and soul. Queen Maya, Siddhartha's mother, reported: "It was a feeling of physical happiness and a bliss of mind that I was caught up in the deepest absorption."

The birth of Prince Siddhartha

The wise men whom King Shuddhodana summoned at birth prophesied: “The prince will become a great man, a world-ruling king in whose kingdom righteousness dwells. He will give the world a new law, a better law. He will establish an empire of peace up to the world ocean border. All peoples will be happy under his rule. "

The venerable seer Asita took the child in his arms and said: “He will be a Buddha, an enlightened one. He will turn the wheel of law, the wheel of doctrine. He will circulate a new teaching. He will establish the kingdom of truth, for the sake of salvation and joy. ”On the basis of this prophecy he gave the child the name Siddhartha; that means: "He will achieve his goal and achieve perfection." King Shuddhodana hoped that Siddhartha would become world emperor who would rule in peace and justice.

The House

The king wanted Siddhartha to see nothing sad, nothing ugly or unpleasant. He granted all his wishes.

The sacred cord

For several years Siddhartha learned from his teacher Kschantideva. On his eleventh birthday he was girdled with the sacred cord. The Brahmins said: “Man must be born twice: once from the womb of his mother, the other time as the son of the teacher through upbringing and teaching. Before a person is born a second time, he receives all spiritual nourishment from his teacher. The student wears the sacred cord like an umbilical cord as a sign of his bond with the teacher. Now he's completely born. He now belongs to the "noble", the "twice-born" who are entitled to rule in the world. "

The four exits

1st exit: Siddhartha lets himself be driven out through the eastern city gate and meets an old man. Age has overwhelmed him, power and strength are gone and the senses have slackened. Siddhartha is surprised to learn that it is the fate of all people to age. “What should I be careless about when I'm getting old?” He asks himself.
2nd exit: Siddhartha goes out of the city through the south gate. He meets a sick man. He realizes that all cockiness is deceptive.
3rd exit: Siddhartha drives out of the western city gate and meets a funeral procession. Everyone screams and cries. He states: "Misery is a life that does not last forever:"
4th exit: Siddhartha pulls out one more time to the northern gate. A mendicant monk with a balanced mind crosses his path. He has given up “inner lusts” and is looking for inner peace in homelessness. He likes that.

Siddhartha about the reasons for moving out

“Although I was very spoiled, the thought occurred to me that although every person is subject to old age, disease, death, he still feels reluctance when he sees someone else aged, sick or dead. [...] When I thought about this, I found: What if I, who have recognized the evils of old age, illness and death, looked for what is free of it: for the highest peace, for nirvana? I shaved my hair and beard, put on the ascetic's yellow robes and moved out of the house into homelessness. "

The ascetic

Siddhartha had two ascetics as teachers. He chastised himself like her, refused to eat and drink and renounced everything that was pleasant. Because of his abstinence, he continued to lose weight. Because of a dream he renounced strict asceticism and ate again. He recognized the futility of all mortification. He knew now that he had to look for the truth not somewhere but within himself. He meditated and freed his mind through mild asceticism.

The Enlightenment

Years passed. Siddhartha lived as a mendicant monk. One night, when he was deeply oblivious, the devil came to try him. Siddhartha resisted all temptations. After forty-nine days, when dawn came, he came to complete enlightenment. The prince and wandering monk became an enlightened one - a Buddha. Now he possessed threefold knowledge: the memory of earlier births, the insight into the future and the insight into the origin and destruction of suffering.

A Buddha for everyone

The Buddha wanted others to find liberation as well. He taught: “Know that all existence is sorrowful. [...] The origin of suffering in the world is the thirst for rebirth, the thirst for the satisfaction of the five external and internal senses, the thirst for death. "

His motto includes the following: "But this is the sacred truth of the abolition of suffering, the Eightfold Path: pure faith, pure will, pure speech, pure action, pure life, pure intention, pure thinking, pure meditation."

The Buddha wandered through India and gathered a growing community (sangha) around him.

He also taught the five rules of daily life: “Have compassion and be mindful of the least of life. Give and receive freely, but do not take improperly. Never tell a lie, even if it seems to excuse the situation. Avoid pleasure poisons, respect your wives and do not commit any immoral acts. "

Buddha's teaching: the way within

The legend of Siddhartha Gautama shows that no one is born a Buddha, but can only become an enlightened one, a Buddha, on a long journey. "Enlightenment" means the deepest experience and knowledge that a person can ever achieve.


The Buddha shows the "middle path". It leads to a constant detachment: from body awareness, from possessions, from images and ideas of thinking.

The name for Buddhism in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Asia, is yana. It means "ferry boat" or "ferry". So the teaching is suitable for escaping, not for holding on.

Buddhism is a path that everyone has to walk on their own.

The cycle of rebirth

Central terms of Buddhism are samsara, karma and Maya.

Samsara is life circling forever: "the worlds sink and the worlds rise". The figures of this world change their appearance through death and rebirth. In spite of all dying, life is considered deathless in Buddhism; in every death it changes into new forms. But who drives the cycle? The Buddha himself. Because he is always doing something. This "doing", karma, is part of the course of life. This is how karma affects suffering and fate. What remains unfinished in this life compels rebirth. Good deeds have better rebirth than bad ones. Only those who achieve full serenity escape samsara. This person can go up into weightlessness, to the place of highest clarity and motionless silence, into nirvana.

The nirvana

Nirvana is not a place but a state. It is a “blowing away”, “going out”, the goal of “liberation”.

A godless religion?

Buddha refrained from speaking of God. Instead, he teaches that dharma, the universal, absolute law. He who makes his karma in accordance with the dharma attains nirvana.

The “three vehicles” in Buddhism

Buddhism calls itself Yana, ferry (across the sea of ​​suffering to nirvana).

Many different conceptions and forms of Buddhism have evolved over time (hinayana - Small ferry, mahayana - Big ferry, tantrayana - ferry of the Tantra texts):

Hinayana Buddhism

The followers of the historical Buddha were monks. With the help of sponsors, the first monasteries (viharas) be built. A consciousness of the elite and strict regulations for religious life developed here. In the foreground were 1. the Buddha as a historical person, 2. the Dharma, the teaching, 3. the Sangha, the community. This was the framework for little vehicle Buddhism. It is called “small” because the Hinayana only offers “space” for a minority. It is a monk Buddhism.

Two hundred years after the Buddha's death, the cruel King Ashoka came to the throne. He got to know the Buddha's teachings (around 250 BC). A fundamental change took place in him. As the first ruler in world history, he renounced war and oppression as a means of politics, became the “emperor of great peace” and a world empire of tolerance and humanity. Gandhi took up this commitment to nonviolence again.

Today the center of Hinayana is Sri Lanka.

Mahayana Buddhism

This direction wants to be a ferry boat for salvation not only for a chosen few, but for as many as possible. Buddha stands before our eyes as a supernatural figure to which believers take refuge in order to save them. Salvation awaits this expectation by grace, not by monastic asceticism. Now it is required, 1. to lead a pure life in thoughts, words and deeds, 2. to worship the Buddha in love, 3. to invoke the perfect one, 4. to emulate the Buddha in his infinite compassion for all creatures, 5. for them Meditate on perfection of the Buddha.

The ultimate goal in Mahayana is not to become a perfect one, a Buddha, but a Bodhisattva, the other to enlightenment (bodhi) can lead. Mahayana educates its followers to be selfless.

Tantrayana Buddhism

The later Buddhist schools also wrote their texts in Tibetan and Chinese. The directions that emerged here are called the Tantrayana, the ferry boat of the Tantra texts. It is a Buddhism that has incorporated popular beliefs and beliefs in gods and demons. Tantra is a way of salvation that includes the human ability to experience.

Buddhism did not find its way into the Tibetan highlands until the 7th-9th centuries. Entrance. Before that, there was a belief in ghosts that knew many threatening elements. The invading Buddhism had to seek a compromise: the ideas of overcoming passions and of the eightfold path mixed with beliefs in demons and devils, mythical deities and cult customs. The monk Atisha from Bengal managed to restore the teachings of Buddhism.

The title "Dalai Lama" was only bestowed in 1578 by a Mongol prince. Each Dalai Lama is considered to be the reincarnation of his predecessor.

Whoever wants to rise above traditional religious practice needs a spiritual teacher (guru), which leads the gradual path to enlightenment over many years. This forms a community on the way.