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Buddhist Beliefs. Based on Exploring World Religions , pages 168-174. What is the ultimate goal of Buddhism ? The goal is to end human suffering – both for oneself and for others What do Buddhists believe about reincarnation?

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buddhist beliefs

Buddhist Beliefs

Based on Exploring World Religions, pages 168-174


What is the ultimate goal of Buddhism?

  • The goal is to end human suffering – both for oneself and for others
  • What do Buddhists believe about reincarnation?
  • Reincarnation does not involve the caste system. Karma impacts future lives. Samsara is the transference of one’s consciousness to a new body.
  • Why is there no distinction between the genders in Buddhist thought?
  • The Buddha taught that all people have been both male and female in previous lives… and this will continue.
  • Explain the suffering of women and why it may not be considered an obstacle.
  • Women suffer more than men (menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth) and the overcoming of this suffering brings them closer to enlightenment.

What is the Buddhist view of women?

  • Women are equal to men. They are not the property of men.
  • Other than nirvana, all things have three fundamental characteristics. What are they? Summarize these 3 characteristics in point form.
  • Dukkha – dissatisfaction, life involves suffering
  • Annicca – impermanence, nothing lasts forever
  • Annatta – no-self; the self is not permanent, no part of a person is *them*. Link to aging, loss of abilities.

Why are there rules to be followed by Buddhist lay people (i.e. non-monks)? What are these five precepts? What precepts must be followed by Buddhist monks and nuns?

  • To control improper (or non-beneficial) behaviour that might cause suffering. This includes both physical or verbal behaviour.
  • The 5 precepts for lay people are:
    • Do not kill living beings
    • Do not steal
    • Abstain from improper sexual conduct
    • Abstain from false speech (lying, idle speech)
    • Abstain from alcohol and drugs (intoxicants)
  • The additional precepts for monks/nuns are:
    • Abstain from eating after noon
    • Abstaining from watching entertainment
    • Abstain from luxury like perfume (things to adorn a person)
    • Abstain from using comfortable beds
    • Abstain from accepting gold and silver

Buddha’s observations about the truth of the world were not necessarily negative. How does his worldview help to prevent disappointment?

  • We need to be realistic about the world. Even suffering can be overcome and is impermanent.
  • Briefly summarize the Four Noble Truths as expressed in this section.
  • 1. Noble truth of suffering – to live is to suffer
  • 2. Noble truth of the origin of suffering – DESIRE, selfishness, greed
  • 3. Noble truth of the extinction of suffering – end suffering by ending greed (changing one’s views)
  • 4. Noble truth of the path leading to the extinction of suffering – we must adopt the 8fold path to end desire (the therefore end suffering)

Briefly summarize the Noble 8fold Path.

  • Right View
  • Striving to understand the Four Noble Truths
  • Understanding life for what it is, not what we wish it to be 
  • Right Thought
  • Understanding that our thoughts influence who we are and what we become
  • Avoid dwelling on the past or future
  • Understanding what leads to suffering and committing to eliminate it


  • Right Speech 
  • Speak only honest, kind, nurturing and worthy words
  • Do not lie, avoid harsh words, gossip and idle chatter
  • Right Action
  • Do no harm
  • Karma is the law of the universe – all deeds come back to us, in one way or another
  • Follow the five precepts (and additional precepts for monks and nuns)
  • Right Livelihood 
  • Earn an honest living that does not harm others or violate any precepts
  • Earn a living that does not negative affect one’s own morality 


  • Right Effort
  • Be determined to cleanse the mind, concentrate on the mind to eliminate desires and attachments
  • Understand wholesome and unwholesome states of mind and commit to control them
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Be fully aware of what you are doing
  • Always have concern for others
  • Concentrate on the body to eliminate desires and attachments
  • Right Concentration/Meditation
  • Intensely meditate to reach salvation

How does the symbol of the wheel illustrate life and the path the Buddha proposed?

  • The wheel keeps moving, like time, like actions, like karma
  • Define the term bodhisattva.
  • A person who has attained nirvana but remains in samsara to help humankind (people take a bodhisattva vow. Holy beings in Buddhism are known as bodhisattvas in Mahayana countries.
  • What do you take refuge in? What do you think are refuges for other North Americans?
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=226w04QMPzQ