Buddha earth touching
Buddha earth touching (Birmany)
Classical Buddha statue from Burma, marble with traces of paint. Two attributes of every Buddha statue are clearly to be seen: the all-knowing ("Bulge of the top Chakra, knowledge") and the all-hearing (long earlobes). The third attribute was painted as a red dot: the all-seeing (the "third eye" between the eyebrows). The happy mouth suggests the silent, balanced and joyful "awakening" of Gautama Siddhartha as "Buddha".
Seated in a perfect lotus position on a cushion, the left hand is in meditation posture with the palm facing up. The right hand is touching the earth: this occurred on the night before the "awakening", when a demon tried to tempt Buddha; he touched the earth and she bore witness for him, thus driving the demon away. The gesture is considered to be a claim to the teaching of truth in Buddhism. In the same position, the rights hand is often positioned under the left in meditation - or raised in a gesture of teaching and blessing.
Buddha's Life and Awakening
Gautama Siddhartha was born into the noble family of the Shakya in Northern India, enjoyed an exemplary upbringing, was married to a lovely woman and had a son. He lived a luxurious lifestyle in a castle, where his father even had the dead leaves cleared from the ground so Gautama would not think of death. Nevertheless, on a ride outside the castle Gautama met a fever sufferer, a frail old man and a funeral procession for the deceased son of a widow. He then wanted to trace this reality of life, otherwise he could no longer be happy.
One night, he left the castle. He kissed the sleeping woman with the child one more time and went to live in the forest with two famous hermits. He meditated and fasted for seven years until one could look through his ribs. He then moved on, as he had found neither rest nor satisfaction. At the age of 35, he was given the gift of awakening under the "bodhi tree", which consisted of the Four Truths and the Eightfold Path.
He began living the life of a poor wanderer and preacher on the "middle path" between luxury and asceticism. As a wandering monk, he gathered pupils to him and provided them with a fixed order of life in the form of the Sangha. In doing so, he spoke in front of people from all walks of life, before kings and farmers, Brahmans and outcasts, money lenders and beggars, saints and robbers. He did not recognise the distinctions of the castes or the differences between social groups. The path he taught was open to all men and women who were prepared to understand him and to follow.
The Dalai Lama - the person identified
with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism in the West.
Highly regarded as a religious and political leader,
as a holy man, a diplomat,
a hero and the "Tibetan Gandhi" -
but he himself would like to be seen
as a "simple Buddhist monk" -
no more and no less.
At the age of 80, the Buddha set out on his last journey. He was accompanied by his followers, who listened to his teachings. Shortly before his death, he silently took a lotus blossom in his hand. His favourite student understood and smiled. Buddha explained that all of his wisdom and his spirit would now be transferred to this person as his successor. Thus, the wheel of the teachings of the Buddha was set in motion. However, Gautama Buddha went to Nirvana smiling with the following words: "Come now, oh monks and be assured: every manifestation must disappear, no matter how tirelessly you fight." According to tradition, it was the year 480 B.C.
The Four Noble Truths
1. Life is painful and unsatisfying
2. The causes of suffering are greed, hate and delusion (illusion, ignorance)
3. If the cause is removed, so too is the suffering
4. The Eightfold Noble Path leads to the cessation of suffering
The Eightfold Noble Path
1st and 2nd - The wisdom group: Right understanding and ethos
3rd to 5th - The morality group: Right speech, action and livelihood
6th to 8th - The meditation group: Right effort, mindfulness, collection (meditation)
The Threefold Refuge Buddha - Dharma - Sangha
A Buddhist takes refuge in the Three Jewels:
"I take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha."
Buddha is the awakened Gautama Siddhartha. Buddha is also the name given to anyone who achieves a permanent state of awakening and enlightenment.
Dharma is the eternal law of the cosmos existing in all things and realised by Buddha (The Four Noble Truths).
Sangha is the community of believers and, above all, the monks and nuns as the backbone of the tradition.
I, Bernhard Frei, take my refuge
in Jesus - Buddha
in the Gospel - Dharma
in the Church - Sangha
As a Christian, I dare to make this transfer of Buddha/Dharma//Sangha, they are the three jewels of my Christian faith.
Jesus has been awoken in me through baptism. To be like him is awakening and enlightenment for me.
The Gospel of the eight beatitudes is my teaching, law, right and custom.
The Church is my community of faithful brothers and sisters, my spiritual mother and teacher.
Buddha und Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth and Gautama Buddha Shakyamuni have a lot in common as the founders of religions. They both originate from old, proven mother religions and have borrowed or further developed much from these. But what is crucial is their human and almost secular understanding of religion: it is about a merciful God and awakening from the cycle of painful existence. Christianity and Buddhism differ in many respects, so that neither of the two religions may be lost for the sake of mankind (this also applies for all other major religions!). But there is much more that connects them and could mutually enrich the two world religions.
The spoked wheel
as a symbol
The eight-spoked wheel of Buddhism: Symbol of the Eightfold Noble Path. We may perhaps think of the wheel crosses of the Celts, which are to be found in North-West Europe in the form of wayside crosses on roads and in graveyards. We may also think of the famous meditation wheel of St Nicholas of Flüe.
Symbol of Buddhism
The hub is in the centre, Archimedes' fixed point from which he wished to move the world. This is Yin and Yang, Nirvana, for us Christians Jesus Christ, the one and only God of all people on earth. The wheel of the Buddha teaching was set in motion when the dying Buddha transferred all his powers and insights to his favourite pupil Mahakashyapa and appointed him as his first successor.
The spokes represent eight basic positions on the path of life, similar to our Ten Commandments and the Virtues. The closer one is to the centre of the wheel, the closer one is to God - and even closer to one's brothers and sisters on the other spokes. Therefore, God's love leads to neighbourly love, and vice versa. If you are not good with God, ask yourself where you are not good with your fellow humans.
Nicholas of Flüe (+1487)
According to the explanation given by Brother Klaus, the red circle means the one, undivided God. Three peaks emanate from and return to him. These are the three divine persons that emanate from God, incorporating heaven and earth and returning from them to God. Upon emanation they are broad and tapered in the direction of their targets. Upon their return they point toward God.
The laughing Buddha
According to legend, the historical Buddha never laughed aloud but only smiled gently. Images of the laughing (and fat) Buddha are very popular, because for many these express the carefree joy with which nature itself lives selflessly and without possessions, illusions or restraints through Buddha.
"I would associate Buddhism more with serenity or serene calmness that with loud laughter. The historical Buddha had more of a smile and emphasised serenity, which he radiated to other people. I have heard Theravada sayings that say: The Buddha never laughed, he smiled. He never emitted anything as loud as a laugh; he was after all serene."
Sylvia Wetzel, Buddhist Academy Berlin