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A practical way of life


At the beginning of this century, Buddhism was really only known in Asia. Now Buddhism is a world religion. Most Buddhists living in the Netherlands are from China or Hong Kong. Buddhism is a practical way of life, without dogma or ideology, people-centered state. The teaching of Buddha is symbolized by a wheel. The number of spokes indicates the eightfold path that everyone should go to reach enlightenment.


Life and teachings of Buddha


The followers are the ideas of Buddha made a religion. They developed the idea of ​​the 'Three Jewels', which was the daily creed of every Buddhist. Another name for the three jewels is also three shelters.


The Three Jewels are:

  • The Buddha has found the way to enlightenment and has shown to others.
  • Dharma, the teachings about the nature of things.
  • The Sangha, the community of monks, nuns and laypeople.


Noble Truths


The two main summaries of the teachings of Buddha are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. 
The four truths are the heart of the teachings of Buddha. Under the bodhi tree Buddha Gautama discovered four truths about suffering.


1. Life is suffering (dukkha) 
All life is hard, miserable and full of suffering. Even if one would be free from misery, then we see others suffer, and this causes back pain. Failure to achieve what one desires is also suffering..


2. The cause of suffering is desire. 
The origin of suffering is one source: the desire, the attachment to life and greed.


3. Removal of suffering by not covet. 
If we take away the cause disappears result. Elimination occurs when the realization struck that releasing everything and let go of all attachment to life.


4. Cancellation of suffering through the Eightfold Path. 
The fourth truth is the path (marga) to be followed to overcome this suffering, the Eightfold Path.


The Eightfold Path


The road to salvation is the Eightfold Path and consists of eight parts. It is based on three points: 
1. Ethical behavior (sila)

  •  speak properly;
  •  do the right thing;
  •  just life (making a living)


2. Mental discipline (samadhi)

  •  right effort;
  •  appropriate concentration;
  •  right meditation.


3. Wijsheid (prajna)

  •  correct understanding;
  •  right knowledge




In this life there are major differences between people. This is not a 'divine' but a result of previous actions. Each creates its own conditions and can also improve his situation. Karma determines the quality of rebirth.




After death, the soul leaves the physical body, to be reborn in another body. This can be repeated countless times. Only when we realize how much we have committed ourselves to worldly things such as money and / or jealousy we have a chance to make us free from the eternal cycle of reincarnation.



Nirvana means "fresh air" of the flame of desire. It means total deliverance from fear and distress, tension and suffering. If ignorance and desire for existence have been destroyed will be no more rebirth.


The Sangha


The third in the series of the 'Three Jewels', which recognizes the Buddhist community of peers is, those who the path of dharma walk. Besides the monks have appeared in the monastery, living in the world, supporting them and ask for advice.




The Vinaya says that the monks ( bhikkoes) should lead the life of a mendicant. In Asian countries begging is considered an acceptable way to meet your living expenses. One of the best features is generous and so giving monks lay the chance to make himself useful to pass.




Joining the order is in principle open to everyone, regardless of rank and class and caste. He must adhere to a century rule: no private property.




The monks follow a strict lifestyle. They are celibate (unmarried), but have a few essential belongings and depend laity for food, clothing and shelter. Among the equipment of a monk include: begging bowl, a razor blade, a needle, and a sieve. The nap is a sign of the Buddha's spiritual dominion. The strainer is to catch insects in its drinking water. Not so much to be not sick but to save the animals.

The rules


Buddhist monks promise to the Sangha that they stick to the ten rules, which come from the time of Buddha, will hold. The laity do so because they hope for in the next life to achieve a better life.


The principles also apply below the laity of the Buddhist community:

  • Not dead.
  • Not bad speak.
  • No drink and use drugs.
  • Do not steal.
  • No inappropriate sexual relationships.


Tibetan Buddhism


About 500 years after the death of the Buddha was born 'Mahayana'- school, which emphasized the compassion in Buddhism. The aim was that those who had attained enlightenment would return to earth to those who continue to educate members and help. They called such a person a 'Bodhisattva'. Indian teachers who came to Tibet, emphasized this version of Buddhism. Soon were founded monasteries across the country, each with its own repeatedly reincarnated abbot or nobleman who would return in a new body to continue the work of his predecessor. That was the situation in the fourteenth century, when the first Dalai Lama was born. The Dalai Lama is considered to be a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion in his quality.

Zen - Buddhism


The 6 e century AD. has Bodhidarma, a monk from India, China established the first Zen school. Zen Buddhism in Japan especially has experienced great prosperity. Zen is a Japanese word, meaning behold inner meditation. That can not be reached by the path of reason, but only by intuition. This is at times or in the form of flashes of insight. 


Important features of Zen:

  • aversion to all philosophizing;
  • Life is here and now;
  • not a religion but a way of life;
  • directly targeting the mind.

Through the path of meditation, koans (riddles) and austerity reaches the pupil something like satori (enlightenment). Many Zenleden Zengemeenschap stay in a monastery. Pupils get the Zen master koans to meditate on. A koan is an insoluble riddle to which the common sense piece to break. A famous koan is: "When you clap your hands, you can hear sound. How is the sound of one hand clapping? 


Another technique is the mondo: a rapid exchange of questions and answers, and the disciple must answer immediately, without getting a chance to think. The ultimate goal is that the mind ceases its efforts so that the mind is free to enlightenment ( satori receive).


To achieve spiritual awakening is called zazen or meditating in lotus position. In Japan, Zen Buddhism is practiced mostly in the form of physical agility. Besides the art of flower arranging and the "tea ceremony" this is particularly evident in sports like kendo, judo and archery. 

 Life is a school where it is not about what you do but how you do it. 

Chinese Buddhists


In the Netherlands, life 35,000 Chinese Buddhists. They live in a close and closed community. Chinese culture teaches mainly to convey respect for others. Importantly, the piety, this is obeying all circumstances to the will of the parents. For them ready when they need something, like they always do for you.


Importantly, the concept of shame. Every Chinese is learned young how in social interaction, to behave. Nobody not disgrace hurt and the name of the family. There are two typical features of their faith because worship of ancestors and belief in karma, fate. It will always be in the house for an altar to burn incense to the ancestral spirits; one must take care of them properly, otherwise they bring disease and destruction.


The main ways in which the living can prove the deaths honors by:

  • visit the family graves and altars;
  • burn incense and sacrifice


Chinese believe that people under a lucky star to be born, that there are good and bad days for undertaking certain activities and that only helps resignation in adversity. A large part of your life is not disputed by your name and date of birth.