The basic doctrines of early Buddhism, which remain common to all Buddhism, include the "four noble truths": existence is suffering ( dukhka ); suffering has a cause, namely craving and attachment ( trishna ); there is a cessation of suffering, which is nirvana; and there is a path to the cessation of suffering, the "eightfold path" of right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Buddhism characteristically describes reality in terms of process and relation rather than entity or substance.
Experience is analyzed into five aggregates ( skandhas ). The first, form ( rupa ), refers to material existence; the following four, sensations ( vedana ), perceptions ( samjna ), psychic constructs ( samskara ), and consciousness ( vijnana ), refer to psychological processes. The central Buddhist teaching of non-self ( anatman ) asserts that in the five aggregates no independently existent, immutable self, or soul, can be found. All phenomena arise in interrelation and in dependence on causes and conditions, and thus are subject to inevitable decay and cessation. The casual conditions are defined in a 12-membered chain called dependent origination ( pratityasamutpada ) whose links are: ignorance, predisposition, consciousness, name-form, the senses, contact, craving, grasping, becoming, birth, old age, and death, whence again ignorance.
With this distinctive view of cause and effect, Buddhism accepts the pan-Indian presupposition of samsara, in which living beings are trapped in a continual cycle of birth-and-death, with the momentum to rebirth provided by one's previous physical and mental actions (karma). The release from this cycle of rebirth and suffering is the total transcendence called nirvana.
From the beginning, meditation and observance of moral precepts were the foundation of Buddhist practice. The five basic moral precepts, undertaken by members of monastic orders and the laity, are to refrain from taking life, stealing, acting unchastely, speaking falsely, and drinking intoxicants.
The reason I believe in Buddhism is because at its core, it treats life like a cycle. You treat your body well, you don't go out of your way to create suffering for others, you enjoy life then you die and come back to do it again.
You have a peaceful existence. You do not fear death. You pray when you feel you need it. It's not a doctrine. There so much give and take in the religion it feels like you really have a say and you really get to make decisions. You're not just blindly following rules.
As my grandma nears her time I've started throwing up a few prayers to make her last to my graduation. But before that I realized the most important thing was to start chronicling my memories of her and her memories of her life, before it's too late and she's lost to me.
But even then I can take comfort in the fact that somewhere somehow I believe she'll start her life again.
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