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  1. A Dhamma article by Ajahn Sundara – On the Way to Liberation
  2. Freedom Through Understanding
  3. Extracted from “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” by Pabongka Rinpoche
  4. Freedom Through Understanding: The Buddhist Path to Happiness and Liberation | Pilgrims Book House
Karma: What goes around, comes around

The sutras mention about thirty-one different planes of existence or "realms" into which beings can be reborn during their long wandering through Samsara. These plans of existence are varied and go from the extraordinarily harsh and painful realms all the way up to the beautiful, exquisite, refined and blissful heaven-like realms.

Existence in every realm is not something eternal, but temporary. In the Buddhist cosmology, there is nothing permanent. Depending on the nature of their Karma, beings are born into a particular realm or another. Sometimes after their death, they come back to life once again somewhere else, according to the quality of their Karma.

Wholesome actions bring about a favorable rebirth, while unwholesome actions lead to an unfavorable one. And so the strenuous cycle continues. The Sensuous Realms This Realm consists of eleven realms in which experience, both pleasurable and not is, governed by the five senses. The Earth on which we live is in the Sensuous Realms. The Fine-Material Realms This finer Realm consists of sixteen realms whose inhabitants called Devas in Sanskrit experience remarkably refined levels of mental joy and delight. These realms are available to those who have achieved at least some degree of Awakening.

It is the immaterial realm of spirit or consciousness, which is said to be free from the limitations of matter and from all thought of matter.

Beings inhabiting these realms are steps away from full Buddhahood. During his Enlightenment, the Buddha discovered three Great Truths that will later become part of the central teachings of Buddhism. Also known as the Three Universal Characteristics of Existence, these Universal Truths are always present in existence, and they give us the wisdom to understand what to do with our lives.

These three Truths of existence are the truths of impermanence Anitya , suffering Dukkha and no self Anatman. Anitya impermanence The first truth states that everything changes and transform itself, nothing lasts forever. This Truth is called "anitya" in Sanskrit. People, situations, feeling, material objects, landscapes are changing all the time.

The Buddha stated that because nothing stays the same forever, there is no rest except Nirvana. Dukkha suffering or dissatisfaction The second truth is Dukkha. To learn from this Truth, it is imperative to understand that suffering but is more than actual pain.

States of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, boredom, and discomfort are also called Dukkha. For Buddhists, life as a whole is Dukkha because nothing in existence is perfect. The Buddha stated that no one could avoid Dukkha. His teaching is a way of overcoming it. Anatman no self The third universal Truth is anatman, which means "no soul". The Buddha explained that there is nothing within a human being that can be called a soul and said that people are made up of five parts: feelings, thoughts, awareness, ideas, and body. However, there is nothing in people that carry on into another life, except the Karma that they previously created as well as the Karma produced in this life.

Nowadays, Buddhism is divided into several schools, but the essence of the Buddha's teachings is summed up in the Four Noble Truths and is at the heart of every Buddhist tradition. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

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It was these four principles that the Buddha came to realize during his meditation under the bodhi tree where he attained Nirvana. These four truths are called "noble" because of their fundamental importance - they are teachings that liberate us from suffering, the path that teaches us how to get free from craving. These Truths states that we crave and cling to impermanent mental states and things, which are incapable of satisfying and painful dukkha.

This craving keeps us caught in the endless cycle of Samsara or rebirth. The Four Noble Truths represent the awakening and liberation of the Buddha, but also the possibility of liberation for all sentient beings, you and I included. This can be realized by following the Eightfold Path. Life is suffering and universal. Sometimes suffering its real, sometimes it is self-created. Suffering has many causes: loss, frustration, illness, pain, failure, boredom, and the impermanence of pleasure.

Many Westerners find this first teaching to be pessimistic, but Buddhists find it neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but actually realistic. This can take many forms: craving of sensual pleasures, the desire for recognition, the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations like anxiety, irritation or resentment.

A Dhamma article by Ajahn Sundara – On the Way to Liberation

Suffering ceases with Nirvana, the final liberation. The mind, therefore, experiences total freedom, liberation, and non-attachment as it lets go of desires or cravings. The Noble Eightfold Path is a collection of eight practices that leads to liberation from Samsara, the cycle of rebirth and the end of suffering. The eight parts of the path toward liberation are organized into three fundamental elements of the Buddhist practice - ethical conduct sila , mental discipline samadhi , and wisdom prajna.

The Eightfold Path does not have to be studied and practiced in any particular order but should be followed more or less simultaneously as they are all connected, and each one of the paths helps the understanding the others. In Buddhist symbolism, the Eightfold Path is usually depicted employing the Dharma wheel, in which its eight sides represent the eight elements of the path. The components of the Eightfold Path are separated among the three forms of training as follows: right action, right speech, and right livelihood.

The Right View or Right Understanding Knowledge or understanding that life always involves change and suffering; and that our actions thoughts, action, words have consequences in generating karma which influences the cycle of death and rebirth.

Freedom Through Understanding

The Right Intention or Right Thoughts Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith and avoiding thoughts of attachment, hatred, and harmful intent. The Right Speech Avoiding cursing, slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech as well as frivolous chatter.

The Right Conduct or Right Action Abstaining from physical offenses or crimes such as killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. The Right Livelihood Avoiding lines of work that directly or indirectly harm others or causes others to suffer, such as human trafficking, selling weapons, animals for slaughter, intoxicants, or drugs. The Right Effort Avoiding or abandoning negative states of mind thoughts and emotions, such as anger, jealousy and attachment.

Extracted from “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” by Pabongka Rinpoche

The Right Concentration For Buddhists, meditation is at the core of their practice and is the primary way to reach the highest level of enlightenment. The Eightfold Path is at the core of the middle way, and should be integrated into everyday life. The skandhas concept is a complements the anatta doctrine of Buddhism which asserts that all things and beings are without self and are impermanent. The doctrines of anatta and the five aggregates are closely related together and are essential components of the liberating wisdom in Buddhism and make it easy for a practitioner to realize that an individual is nothing more than a construct made up of a temporary grouping of five aggregates.

When we look meticulously at whatever it is that we label "me", "I", or "myself", we can observe that it includes many components, not only the elements which compose our material bodies, but also our various senses as well as our minds. They are empty of any permanent essence of self, therefore, we should not attach to them. The Paramitas or Perfections are the acts that people need to do to attain Awakening and guide others towards liberation.

The Ten Paramitas are simple, yet profound truths that anybody can understand and apply in his or her life to live every day with compassion, kindness, and sincerity.

Freedom Through Understanding: The Buddhist Path to Happiness and Liberation | Pilgrims Book House

They are teachings and guidelines that become a support to our daily life, and that helps us to be kind and respectful to all life. There are in fact various lists of paramitas in Buddhism. They are so deeply rooted in the conditioning of our beings that our behavior is tainted by these poisons buried deep into our consciousness. The poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion are the result of ignorance, ignorance of our true nature, wisdom, and compassion. Emerging out of our ignorance, these negative states of mind can trigger non-virtuous and unskillful thoughts, speech, and actions, which cause all sorts of suffering and unhappiness for us individually, as well as for others.

Although this teaching may appear negative or unpleasant, indeed, a wise understanding of the three poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion is ultimately positive and empowering. Greed Greed is our selfishness and misplaced desires, grasping, and attachment for finding happiness and fulfillment outside of ourselves. Hatred Hatred has to do with our anger, our disgust, aversion and repulsion toward bothersome people, events, and even toward our own uncomfortable feelings. Ignorance Delusion refers to our insensibility and misperception, to our wrong views of reality.

If everything comes and goes, is there anything that stays? This awareness is not only timeless but also inherently joyful. To recognize this timeless awareness here and now means to become enlightened, and it is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Buddhism inspires us to take responsibility for our own lives, without moralizing, by understanding cause and effect karma. Just like gravity, the law of karma functions, everywhere and all the time. Buddha explained in great detail how we shape our future through our thoughts, words and actions.

What we do now accumulates good or bad impressions in our mind. Knowing this gives us great freedom and puts us back in control of our lives. Karma is not fate. We can choose not to do harmful actions, and thus avoid creating the causes of future suffering. Casual Daypacks. Casual Daypacks Try our Casual Daypacks section and we'll try to locate the lowest price we can! Children's Backpacks. Children's Backpacks Our Children's Backpacks category is filled with quality products - have a look for yourself! Hiking Backpacks. Hiking Backpacks Have a look through our Hiking Backpacks category and we'll compare prices for you!

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