Fujisan's Kyareng

Friday, August 22, 2014

Introduction to Buddhism

Introduction to Buddhism
by Ngagrampa Lobsang Sherab
August 13th 2014, Gyumed Monastery

Ngagrampa Lobsang Sherab of Gyumed Monastery in Hunsur gave a brief introduction on Buddhism to a group of Buddhist devotees who visited the Monastery. He started with the need of religion in our life. We all want happiness and abhor suffering. And this concept of happiness also differs from the view point of people with small, middle and big perspective.

In Buddhism, you need to accept the three jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as the source of refuge. This is called kyabdro. In order to make kyabdro strong, you should have fear and faith. Fear that if you don't do good thing, you may get reborn in bad rebirth. Faith that the refuge in three jewels will deliver your from this bad rebirth.

Religion can be practiced from body speech and mind. One done though mind is the best and lasting. You may do prostration with your body, and recite prayers, but in your mind you have hatred and animosity. This religion performed by body and speech serves no purpose as religion. In Buddhism, mind is important. It is the motivation of the act that counts.
Debate session at the assembly hall

Buddha, Dharma and Sangha can be compared to a Doctor, medicine and the nurse. Just as doctor looks after our ailment, the Buddha looks after our problem.  Just as a doctor prescribes us medicine, the Buddha gives us teaching to show us our way.  Just as nurses looks after us, the Sangh community help us in our practice. These three jewels need to be understood and respected in terms of two pang-lang - what is to be respected and what is to be avoided. Any object representing the Buddha should be revered irrespective of the material texture or the quality of the statue. Taking refuge in earthly gods and deities should be avoided. In Dharma, all written words are sacred, therefore even a single written word should be given due respect. Any teaching encouraging hatred and animosity in the community should be avoided. In Sangha, all monks and practitioners should be respected, and bad company should be avoided.

Then one needs to study and follow the tripitikas of Buddhist teaching: Vinanya, the discipline; Sutra and the wisdom - བསླབ་པ་གསུམ་སྟེ།  ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས།  ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་དང་།  ཤེས་རབ།. Vinayana teaching is about how to conduct ourselves to follow the path of enlightenment. It talks about avoiding ten non-virtuous acts in our life: three of body, four of speech and three of mind. Three of body being: taking life, stealing and sexual misconduct. Four of speech being: telling lie, divisive talk, abusive word and gossip. Three of mind being: wrong view, envy and malicious thought. Therefore, the Vinaya teaching is the foundation which the practitioner needs to follow to practise the Buddhist teaching. It is the base on which the seeds of sutra and tantra could grow and flourish to lead the practioner to the path of Nirvana. Unfortunately, present day trend is that many try to grab the higher teaching without first trying to build the base on which the higher teaching could grow.

This is a brief teaching by Ngagrampa Lobsang Sherab, he invited questions from the participants and ansewered to their satisfaction. In Gyumed monastery, Ngagrampa is title is used for someone who has done equivalent of Lharampa in Sera, Drepung and Gaden Monasteries.

 Above is a note taken by the writer, error or omission cannot be ruled out. Serious students are requested to consult and confirm from authentic teachers      


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