A topic along the lines of the essential of Buddhism is something that could take many volumes to cover. That is because there is a great deal of complexity associated with the religion of Buddhism. However, there is a certain irony present here as well. Namely, Buddhism is a very simple religion at its core. It is primarily a practice of worship that entails adherence to simple logic and common sense. This is far removed from many of the past religions of the world that are rooted in spiritualism, mysticism, and magic. No, the essential tenants of Buddhism are rooted more in the core of the individual. That could be considered the main essence of the religion – you seek what is inside you and not that which makes exists on an external plain.

While there are many different sects of Buddhism, there is a definitive common thread that can be found among all of them. Specifically, the goal of the Buddhist is to attain enlightenment. This may be the same goal for all but the path will be a different one for each individual. But, what exactly is enlightenment and how can it be achieved? The answer returns us to understanding the essentials of Buddhism.

In the simplest terms, enlightenment refers to the individual coming to the clear understanding of what the true teachings of the Buddha really mean. So, what do the Buddha’s teachings mean? Well, unless you enter the stage of enlightenment – something few people are able to do – you cannot effectively deliver an answer. But, it would be the wrong approach to assume that a spiritual or intellectual relationship will be the root of enlightenment. Rather, it would be a transformation that one would undergo based upon living a life in tune with the concepts of the Buddha. Such steps can only be taken when you understand the main essentials of Buddhism.

At the core of the life of a Buddhist is an understanding of the Four Nobel Truths of Life. Understanding these truths will aid in making life less difficult and complex because they are…truths. By not bucking or rejecting the truth, you can achieve the benefits of prescribing to the Buddhist theory. The Four Nobel Truths present the notion that life is suffering; suffering derives from attachment; when you break away from attachments, you can end your suffering; and you need to follow the path of the Buddha in order to attain enlightenment. While the last of the truths may be ambiguous, the other three truths are self-evident. Namely, life is never perfect and there will always be problems you must face. How you deal with these problems will weigh heavily on whether or not you get the most out of life. And if you wish to avoid suffering in life, it is best to never look towards external things for your happiness. This is because such items only lead to conflict and a development of the wrong goals in life.

In terms of living the life of the Buddha, there is an eightfold path that needs to be followed. The eightfold path can be considered cautionary because it warns against those things you should avoid doing in life although it presents the concept in a positive manner. The eightfold path will help you achieve the wisdom needed to achieve enlightenment through the proper practice of how one should live his/her life. The eightfold path entails: see reality for what it truly is; employ the right intention to develop an ethical life; employ right speech when you speak; allows employ the right action in whatever you do; earn the right livelihood and stay away from unethical monetary gain; always work with right effort; be mindful in a positive manner; and always employ the proper right concentration in order to succeed with your ventures.

Basically, the essentials of Buddhism involve doing things the ‘right’ way. When you are performing your life’s activities in a proper and moral way, you eliminate a lot of problems. You can get more out of life when you are honest and truthful in your potential. This is not the case when you act in an immoral manner. This is why the concept of karma is so vital to understanding Buddhism.

Karma, as most people realize, refers to the notion that what you do good in the world returns back to you. If you do things that are immoral or bad, you will receive the same results in return. Clearly, it would be beneficial and wiser to do good things to others since this would ultimate benefit the person performing the actions.

Again, the actions are not necessarily rooted in anything other than basic common sense wisdom. This separates Buddhism from so many other practices in world history which were more mystical in their approach. This is not to say that Buddhism is superior to these aged religions as much as it is rooted in its own unique essential tenants.

Author's Bio: 

Sylvia Smelcer is the author of e-commerce websites selling items about Buddhism and meditation, including sites with Meditation Singing Bowls, Prayer bowls used in meditation, and Buddhist tingshas.