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What is Buddhism?

by Tissa Weeraratna

What is Buddhism? Did Buddhism exist before Buddha ? What is Dharma ? Did Dharma exist before Buddha ?


Purpose of this talk is to study to find out the human body and mind factions in order to identify suffering and to eradicate suffering. Which one is going to help us? Dharma way or Buddhism? Buddhism did not exist before Buddha. Dharma excited Before Buddha.

Buddha said he discovered Dharma. Nature of the human body and mind. So Dharma existed before Buddha. It is Buddha, Who discover Buddha Dharma. Buddha explained Nibbahna and how to realise Nibbana this you can say is Buddha Dharma. (Satipatana sutta) He said to train mindfulness to understand how the body and mind factions. This mindfulness can help us to realisation of Nibahna.

Mindfulness will gradually lift us up to get read of our suffering without holding to concepts. Buddha Dharma he limited From Head to tow. So we have to understand how the Body, feeling, mind and mantel concepts faction. Under the subject Buddhism we study, Birth and life of Siddartha, Pujas and Buddha and his teaching. Also many other Buddhist ways of life, like Mahayana, Theravada and so no. The word Dharma is law of nature. This can be compared with Physic, Biology, Zoology and Chemistry. Dharma is open for anybody as a study for any religion and race. The question here is what is Dharma and Buddha Dharma? Like Physic, Biology, Zoology and Chemistry, Dharma you have to study.

Buddha Dharma is Study and Practise to realise suffering and eradication of suffering without grasping to concepts. How to study and practise Buddha Dharma? Like students go to universities and talk to professor to study Physic, biology, zoology and chemistry. Temples and Monks are there to teach us how to practice mindfulness which give us the knowledge of understand suffering and eradiate suffering. Like we need good professors to teach us Physic and zoology we need good monks who practice morality, and be an example to us.

The monks should teach us to practice mindfulness in daily life. Any person from any religion and race can study and practice Buddha dharma. Buddha Dharma has no god to believe. Saddha (reasoned and rooted in understanding) It is Mindfulness one practise. This is a big or a very big word in practising Buddha Dharma. Dana, Sila, Bhavana. Dana is that is ‘almsgiving’, liberality, offering, Sila is’ morality', 'virtue', Bhavana 'mental development' includes concentration Dana is what one has to practice. Blessings accrue to the giver of alms:


1) the affection of many, 2) noble Association, 3) good Reputation, 4) self-confidence, Todays world need self-confidence a lot. Sila is’ morality', 'virtue' The 5 moral rules, also called pañca-sīla which are binding on all Buddhist laymen, are:

(1) abstaining from killing any living being, (2) from stealing, (3) from unlawful sexual Intercoursee, (4) from lying, (5) from the use of intoxicants.

Bhavana, Meditation Tranquillity (samatha) is the concentrated, unshaken, peaceful, and therefore undefiled state of mind, whilst insight (vipassanā) is the intuitive insight into the impermanence, misery and impersonality (anicca, dukkha, anattā; s. tilakkhana) of all bodily and mental phenomena of existence, included in the 5 groups of existence, namely, corporeality(Body), feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness;

Three methods to Study and Practice Buddha Dharma. With regard to the condition of its arising one distinguishes 3 kinds of knowledges based on thinking (cintā-mayā-paññā), knowledge based on learning (suta-mayā-paññā), knowledge based on mental development (bhāvanā-mayā-paññā) (D. 33).

1, Reading and listing to Dharma talks (suta-mayā-paññā )

2, Self experience 'Based on thinking' is that knowledge which one has acquired through one's own thinking. (Cinta-maya-panna ) 3,One get through observation. Wisdom is one of the 5 mental faculties (powers s. bala), one of the 3 kinds of training (sikkhā, q.v.), and one of the perfections (s. pāramī) d, s. vipassanā, and the detailed exposition in (to see thing as they are) bhāvanā-mayā-paññā

So I feel I shall take the Dharma way.

Any person who understands the nature has the best possibility to understand the Buddha Dharma. One understand that we are(Nama-Rupa) Mind and mater.To have the right understanding of the nature (Dharma) and the Buddha Dharma. One has to know and use The law of cause and conditioning. ( I call this law the mother law of all laws of nature and Buddha Dharma) Knowledge of things as they are (yathäbhutanana) My parents are Buddhists. So I was born a Buddhist. Without my knowledge I was stamped as a Buddhist.

That is what happens to so many people in the world. We are born in to a religion and culture. I was proud to defend my identity as a Buddhist and a Sinhales. This is the danger when one follows a cultural Buddhism. Do not forget one of the main works of the Buddha Dharma is to eradicate the egoism. No one can avoid culture. One can learn not to fight for your culture and not to look down on other cultures. One day I came to know that I having a block in my personality. I felt one day through mindfulness the time and money, I spend on my self for pride and recognition. This attitude made my mind and body nerves.

I tried to force my friends and other people to believe in what I believed. This was the danger of cultural Buddhism. Soon I realise not only me, also many other people in the world think and act similarly. Look at the wars in the world. Even today. The root cause is belief in religion and culture. So I choose the Buddha Drama way which is based on mindfulness that helps to up-root the ego and pride. This mindfulness I learned and practiced in Mitirigala forest hermitage from Ven. Nanarama. The well knowen none Ayya Kehma also learned form Ven.Nanarama. I was three and a half years in Mitirigala till I came to Germany.

Mitirigala was build by my Uncle Mr.Asoka Weeraratna Who also parched Das Buddhistisches Haus in Frohnau from Dr.Paul Dhalkes relations. My uncle died as a monk in Mitirigala in1999 as Ven Dhamanisanthi.

Thinking positive or Negative is a nother kind of attachment. Practising mindfulness one as to feel the benefits of none attachment and has to be realised.( can we say none attachment is Nibana ?) We can say none attachment is a aspect of Nibana. Learning, Practicing, and realisation are the methods. When this is done, one realise the Dharma and what is Buddha Dharma. With this knowledge we can live in harmony with one self and others.

Buddha Dharma is based on Practising DANA,SILA, BHAVANA means Generosity, Morality mental development quiet, calm happy mind. Quiet, calm happy mind means no ego mind one can say. Buddha said, he who sees me, see the Dharma he who sees the Dharma sees me. This is to see danger of attachment. The right Mindfulness is more than enough to fully Manage your self to be free of desire. Which is more useful cultural Buddhism? for conversation or Practising BuddhaDharma, Means to be mindful in daily life. Wisdom in action means to practise mindfulness from moment to moment.

Ego dying before the body dies. This is Freedom and deathlessness One can work and live life with a mind empty of Ego.


Sri Lanka