What is Buddhism?

I was reading a great blog about narcissism and it dawned on me that people always ask me what Buddhism is and I’ve always answered about it.  What it affirms… what it denies…  but never have I mentioned in so many words What Buddhism Is.

I think the question is both infinitely complex and infinitesimally simple.  The simple answer is that Buddhism is the destruction of the ego.  The idea being that every moment spent living for this or for that is a moment spent suffering.

Buddhism is simply to live life; understanding that existence is unified.

The complexity of Buddhism as I said is infinite in so far as Buddhism has no bounds, it has no hierarchy, and it has no right way.

Every aspect of destroying the ego is unique to each ego.  The ‘ego’ is translated as such from the Sanskrit word anatman or Pali word anatta.  Each is in reference to the Hindu atman or atta.  In each case the atman or atta is a reference to the individuals soul.  Vedic philosophy send the individual internally searching for Brahman or existence.  It was a philosophy of self realization.

The Buddha developed his philosophy as an answer to the tragedy that was occurring from self searching.  While the people lived their lives in searching they found no comfort.  The simple negation of the soul is what the Buddha taught.  To search Buddhism for an answer to self seeking is a perversion of Buddhism.

Perhaps this is why Buddhist are so often apt to deny being a Buddhist.  An understanding that our societies have perverted each and every aspect and religious creed.

Buddhism of late is being sold as a self help guide.  Buddhism is being sold as a entertaining trip into other worlds…  Enlightenment is not something to be sought after, it is something to reach.  It is certain that we are uncertain as to what is beyond.

I think the only way I can understand Buddhism, is that Buddhism is a denial of the self for nothing more than the improvement of existence.  One becomes enlightened upon shedding all ego and putting oneself forward to increase the situation of all being.

If there is a heaven or Nirvana… or if there is perpetual rebirth, our situation is our own.  Do we embrace it or fight it?  Do we improve our lot, or the lot of many?

Buddhism is the denial of the self.  It is action for the sake of action. Buddhism is intent.

Buddhism is none of this...

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Alan
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