What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a religious tradition. It focuses on personal inner development. And also the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. It is not a philosophy. For it does not contain an associate degree elaborate system of theories and facts completely for cogitation. Consequently, it is concerned with truth and facts. It proves that Buddhism encompasses a range of traditions, beliefs, and religious practices. In reality, it mostly supported original teachings attributed to the Buddha.
Buddhism is not a philosophy, for it does not contain an elaborate system of theories and facts exclusively for cogitation, although it must be admitted that the Buddha has anticipated much modern speculation.
Buddhism comprises of three viewpoints, the doctrinal, the pragmatic or practical and the feasible or realizable. All are interdependent and interrelate.
The Dhamma, commonly known as Buddhism, is characterized into various divisions, to be specific.
(1) Three constituent parts (Tipitaka),
(2) Five accumulations (Panca Nikaya),
(3) Nine Parts of teachings (Navangani)
(4) 84000 gatherings of precepts (Caturasiti Dhammakkhandha Sahassani)
This First Council compiled and arranged in its present form the Pāli Tipitaka, which represents the entire body of the Buddha’s Teaching. The word Tipitaka means three Baskets. They are the Basket of Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka), the Basket of Discourses (Sutta Pitaka) and also the Basket of final Doctrine (Abhidhamma Pitaka).
1. Vinaya Pitaka
The Vinaya Pitaka, which is view as the sheet stay of the Holy Order, deals basically with the standards and controls of the Order of Bhikkhus (monks) and Bhikkhunis (nuns) and gives a definite record of the life and service of the Buddha.
The Vinaya Pitaka consists of the following books:
1. Parajika Pali Vibhanga (Major Offences).
2. Pacittiya Pali (Minor Offences).
3. Mahavagga Pali Khandaka (Greater Section).
4. Cullavagga Pali (Lesser Section).
5. Parivara Pali (Epitome of the Vinaya).
2. Sutta Pitaka
The Sutta Pitaka consists of discourses preached by the Buddha, and also, in some instances, by his distinguished disciples such as the Ven. Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, etc. Divided into twenty-six books it is rather a sort of an assortment of prescriptions, for the sermons were propounded to suit the occasion and also the temperament of different various people.
The Sutta Pitaka consists of the subsequent five Nikayas (Collections):
1 Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses).
2 Majjhima Nikaya (Collection of Middle-length Discourses).
3 Samyutta Nikaya (Collection of Kindred Sayings).
4 Anguttara Nikaya (Collection of Gradual Sayings).
5 Khuddaka Nikaya (Smaller Collection).
This fifth is subdivided into fifteen books:
1 Khuddaka Patha (Shorter Texts).
2 Dhammapada (The Way of Truth).
3 Udana (Paeans of Joy).
4 Itivuttaka (“Thus said” Discourses).
5 Sutta Nipata (Collected Discourses).
6 Vimana Vatthu (Stories of Celestial Mansions).
7 Peta Vatthu (Stories of Petas).
8 Theragatha (Psalms of the Brethren).
9 Therigatha (Psalms of the Sisters).
10 Jataka (Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta).
11 Niddesa (Expositions).
12 Patisambhida (Book on Analytical Knowledge).
13 Apadana (Lives of Arahants).
14 Buddhavamsa (History of the Buddha).
15 Cariya Pitaka (Modes of Conduct).
3. Abhidhamma Pitaka
Abhidhamma Pitaka is the most important and the most interesting because it elaborates the four ultimate things, i.e., consciousness, mental properties, matter, and Nibbana.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka is composed of the subsequent seven works:
1 Dhammasangani (Classification of Dhamma)
2 Vibhanga (Divisions)
3 Dhatukatha (Discourse on Elements)
4 Puggala Pannatti (The Book on Individuals)
5 Kathāvatthu (Points of Controversy)
6 Yamaka (The Book of Pairs)
7 Patthana (The Book of Causal Relations
Buddhism is concerned with truth and facts. It is to learn and put into practice in the course of one’s life, for without actual practice one cannot appreciate the truth. Study and practice come first, however overall it is acknowledgment, self-realization, which is its definitive objective. As such Buddhist is comparable to a raft which is meant for the sole purpose of escaping from the ocean of Samsara (round of birth and death); Buddhism, therefore, cannot strictly be called a philosophy.
It is then a religion?
Neither is it a religion within the sense during which that word is often understood. For it is not a system of faith and worship. Buddhism does nothing much demand blind belief from its adherents. Mere belief is dethroned and replaced by confidence. Saddha based on knowledge of the truth.
The confidence placed by a follower of the Buddha is like that of a sick man towards the physician or of a student towards his teacher. A Buddhist seeks refuge within the Buddha. Because it is he who uncover the pathway of salvation. The place to initialize of Buddhism is reasoning and understanding.
Is Buddhism, then an ethical system?
It is no doubt Buddhism contains an excellent code of morals. Which is adaptable to all climes and ages. But it is much more than ordinary morality. Mirigala Sutta, Metta Sutta, etc. should be read carefully. To understand the high standard of morality. This morality ( Sila) is only the basis of Buddhism.
Buddhism, therefore, is neither a philosophy nor a religion, nor an ordinary ethical code. It is the doctrine of actuality. A means of deliverance, or, as it is called the Dhamma (the principle of righteousness).
What Buddhism is?
Buddhism is neither a metaphysical path nor a ceremonial path.
It is neither skeptical nor dogmatic.
Similarly, it is neither eternalism nor nihilism.
It is neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence.
It is neither pessimism nor optimism but realism.
Equally, it is neither absolutely this-worldly nor other-worldly.
It is not extravert but an introvert.
It is not theocentric but homo-centric.
In reality, it is a unique Path of Enlightenment.
What is Dhamma?
The first Pali expression for Buddhism is Dhamma. Which, actually implies that which upholds or sustains(he who acts in similarity with its principles and in this manner keeps him from falling into woeful states). There is no proper English equivalent that specifically conveys the meaning of the Pali term.
The Dhamma is that which really is. It is the Doctrine of Reality. It is a Means of liberation from suffering and Delivery itself. Wherever the Buddhas emerge or not the Dhamma exists from all infinity. It is a Buddha that realizes this Dhamma. Whichever lies hidden from the ignorant eyes of men. He, an Enlightened One, comes and compassionately reveals it to the world.
This elegant Dhamma is not being except for oneself. It is purely dependent on oneself. It is to be realized by oneself.