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BUDDHISM DOCTRINES

 
In Buddhism, any person who has awakened from the "sleep of ignorance" by directly realizing the true nature of reality, without instruction, and teaches it to others is called a buddha. All traditional Buddhists agree that Shakyamuni or Gotama Buddha was not the only Buddha: it is generally taught that there have been many past Buddhas and that there will be future Buddhas too. If a person achieves this awakening, he or she is called an arahant. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is thus only one among other buddhas before or after him. His teachings are oriented toward the attainment of this kind of awakening, also called liberation, or Nirvana.
 
Part of the Buddha’s teachings regarding the holy life and the goal of liberation is constituted by the "The Four Noble Truths", which focus on dukkha, a term that refers to suffering or the unhappiness ultimately characteristic of un-awakened, worldly life. The Four Noble Truths regarding suffering state what is its nature, its cause, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. This way to the cessation of suffering is called "The Noble Eightfold Path", which is one of the fundamentals of Buddhist virtuous or moral life.
 
 
Bodhi (literally awakening or commonly enlightenment), is a term applied in Buddhism to the specific awakening experience attained by the Buddha. When used in a generic sense, a buddha is generally considered to be a person who discovers the true nature of reality through lifetimes of spiritual cultivation, investigation of the various religious practices of his time, and meditation. This transformational discovery is called Bodhi. After attainment of Bodhi, it is believed one is freed from the compulsive cycle birth, suffering, death and rebirth, and attains the "highest happiness" or Nirvana. Bodhi is attained only by the accomplishment of perfections, when the Four Noble Truths are fully grasped, and when all karma has reached cessation. At this moment, all greed, hatred, delusion, ignorance, craving and belief in self have been extinguished.
 
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