Buddhism emerged 2,500 years ago in the North of India. It was at this place where a great man, called Buddha Shakyamuni, lived and taught. Buddhism, the word which stemmed from the name “Buddha”, occurred considerably later in the West.
The historical Buddha Shakyamuni was born into a royal family around 560 B.C. Since early childhood the prince had been surrounded by beauty and prosperity, he also received an excellent education. Siddhartha Gautama is described as being a tall strong man with blue eyes.
Aged twenty nine, the Buddha to be, left the palace and encountered something he had never known before – he saw an old man, a sick man and a dead man being carried to the graveyard. The prince realised there was nothing permanent in the world and left the palace in order to meditate in the mountains and woods of Northern India. After a long journey in search of eternal meaning he recognised the nature of mind – reaching Enlightenment.
Buddha himself never called his teachings Buddhism. He used to say «Dharma». This Sanskrit word is most commonly being translated as «truth» or «nature of all». Dharma, or the Buddha’s Teachings, is the compilation of 84,000 teachings and methods that lead one from suffering to Liberation and Enlightenment, the realisation of the true reality. Buddha gave so many teachings because he understood that one dogma would not be enough for everyone. Just as each disease requires a certain remedy, different ways of development fit different types of people. For this reason Buddhism uses individual approaches to teaching people.
Buddha’s teachings, which help people to become fearless, joyful and kind, is the core religion in a range of countries in Eastern Asia. Since the early 70′s of the last century this deep Buddhist knowledge, with its huge amount of methods, brings inspiration and a most lively interest to a growing number of people in the West. Buddha is teaching about reality, both the absolute and conditional, while the methods he uses make Buddhism into the tool to change the quality of our everyday life. Understanding this opens up the possibility to expereince ceaseless happiness. Buddhism doesn’t propose dogmas – on the contrary, it encourages people to ask critical questions.
Using correct meditations our intellectual understanding of the teachings becomes one’s personal experience. Auxilliary methods solidify all that is achieved during meditation. The goal of Buddha’s teachings is the full development of the primordial potential of body, speech and mind. According to these teachings the Buddha is percieved as a timeless mirror to our own inherent possibilities.