Buddhism – Doctrine and Practice

Phat Giao 

Giáo lý cơ bản :

Cơ sở tư tưởng của Phật phápTứ diệu đế, là cốt lõi giáo pháp của đạo Phật, và cũng là điều mà Phật đã chứng ngộ lúc đạt đạo. Bốn chân lý này chính là câu trả lời cho câu hỏi của thời đại đó, là: Tại sao con người cứ bị trói buộc trong luân hồi (zh. 輪回, sa., pi. saṃsāra) và liệu con người có cơ hội thoát khỏi nó hay không.

Tứ diệu đế là:
  1. Khổ đế (zh. 苦諦, sa. duḥkhāryasatya, bo. sdug bsngal bden pa སྡུག་བསྔལ་བདེན་པ་), chân lý về sự Khổ: Chân lí thứ nhất cho rằng mọi dạng tồn tại đều mang tính chất khổ não, không trọn vẹn. Sinh, lão bệnh, tử, xa lìa điều mình ưa thích, không đạt sở nguyện, đều là khổ. Sâu xa hơn, bản chất của năm nhóm thân tâm, Ngũ uẩn (zh. 五蘊, sa. pañcaskandha, pi. pañcakhandha), là các điều kiện tạo nên cái ta, đều là khổ.
  2. Tập đế (zh. 集諦, sa. samudayāryasatya, bo. kun `byung bden pa ཀུན་འབྱུང་བདེན་པ་), chân lí về sự phát sinh của khổ: Nguyên nhân của khổ là sự ham muốn, Ái (愛, sa. tṛṣṇā, pi. taṇhā), tìm sự thoả mãn dục vọng, thoả mãn được trở thành, thoả mãn được hoại diệt. Các loại ham muốn này là gốc của Luân hồi (zh. 輪迴; sa., pi. saṃsāra).
  3. Diệt đế (zh. 滅諦, sa. duḥkhanirodhāryasatya, bo. `gog pa`i bden pa འགོག་པའི་བདེན་པ་), chân lí về diệt khổ: Một khi gốc của mọi tham ái được tận diệt thì sự khổ cũng được tận diệt.
  4. Đạo đế (zh. 道諦, sa. duḥkhanirodhagāminī pratipad, mārgāryasatya, bo. lam gyi bden pa ལམ་གྱི་བདེན་པ་), chân lí về con đường dẫn đến diệt khổ: Phương pháp để đạt sự diệt khổ là con đường diệt khổ tám nhánh, Bát chính đạo. Không thấu hiểu Tứ diệu đế được gọi là Vô minh (zh. 無明, sa. avidyā, pi. avijjā).

Phật xác nhận ba đặc tướng của cuộc đời là vô thường (zh. 無常, sa. anitya, pi. anicca), vô ngã (zh. 無我, sa. anātman, pi. anattā) và vì vậy mà con người phải chịu khổ (zh. 苦, sa. duḥkha, pi. dukkha). Nhận thức ba dấu ấn (zh. 三相, sa. trilakṣaṇa, pi. tilakkhaṇa) đặc trưng này của sự vật đồng nghĩa bước đầu đi vào đạo Phật.

Khổ được giải thích là xuất phát từ ái (zh. 愛, sa. tṛṣṇā, pi. taṇhā) và vô minh (zh. 無明, sa. avidyā, pi. avijjā), và một khi dứt được những nguyên nhân đó thì ta có thể thoát khỏi vòng sinh tử (hữu luân 有輪, sa. bhavacakra, pi. bhavacakka). Cơ chế làm cho chúng sinh còn vướng mãi trong vòng sinh tử được đạo Phật giải thích bằng thuyết Duyên khởi (zh. 緣起, sa. pratītyasamutpāda, pi. paṭiccasamuppāda). Chấm dứt luân hồi, vòng sinh tử đồng nghĩa với việc chứng ngộ Niết-bàn (zh. 涅槃, sa. nirvāṇa, pi. nibbāna). Theo Tứ diệu đế, con đường dẫn đến Niết-bàn là Bát chính đạo (zh. 八正道, sa. aṣṭāṅgikamārga, pi. aṭṭhāṅgikamagga).

Bát chính đạo bao gồm:
  1. Chính kiến (zh. 正見, pi. sammā-diṭṭhi, sa. samyag-dṛṣṭi, bo. yang dag pa`i lta ba ཡང་དག་པའི་ལྟ་བ་): Gìn giữ một quan niệm xác đáng về Tứ diệu đế và giáo lí vô ngã.
  2. Chính tư duy (zh. 正思唯, pi. sammā-saṅkappa, sa. samyak-saṃkalpa, bo. yang dag pa`i rtog pa ཡང་དག་པའི་རྟོག་པ་): Suy nghĩ hay có một mục đích đúng đắn, suy xét về ý nghĩa của bốn chân lí một cách không sai lầm.
  3. Chính ngữ (zh. 正語, pi. sammā-vācā, sa. samyag-vāk, bo. yang dag pa`i ngag ཡང་དག་པའི་ངག་): Không nói dối hay không nói phù phiếm.
  4. Chính nghiệp (zh. 正業, pi. sammā-kammanta, sa. samyak-karmānta, bo. yang dag pa`i las kyi mtha` ཡང་དག་པའི་ལས་ཀྱི་མཐའ་): Tránh phạm giới luật.
  5. Chính mệnh (zh. 正命, pi. sammā-ājīva, sa. samyag-ājīva, bo. yang dag pa`i `tsho ba ཡང་དག་པའི་འཚོ་བ་): Tránh các nghề nghiệp liên quan đến sát sinh (giết hại sinh vật) như đồ tể, thợ săn, buôn vũ khí, buôn thuốc phiện.
  6. Chính tinh tiến (zh. 正精進, pi. sammā-vāyāma, sa. samyag-vyāyāma, bo. yang dag pa`i rtsal ba ཡང་དག་པའི་རྩལ་བ་): Phát triển nghiệp tốt, diệt trừ nghiệp xấu.
  7. Chính niệm (zh. 正念, pi. sammā-sati, sa. samyag-smṛti, bo. yang dag pa`i dran pa ཡང་དག་པའི་དྲན་པ་): Tỉnh giác trên ba phương diện Thân, Khẩu, Ý;
  8. Chính định (zh. 正定, pi. sammā-samādhi, sa. samyak-samādhi, bo. yang dag pa`i ting nge `dzin ཡང་དག་པའི་ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་): Tập trung tâm ý đạt bốn định xuất thế gian (sa. arūpa-samādhi).

Con đường tám nhánh này có thể được phân thành ba loại, gọi là Tam học, tức là tu học Giới (zh. 戒, sa. śīla, pi. sīla), Định (定, sa. samādhi, dhyāna, pi. samādhi, jhāna) và Huệ (zh. 慧, sa. prajñā, pi. paññā). Những tư tưởng cơ bản của Phật-đà đều được nhắc lại trong các kinh sách, nhưng có khi chúng được luận giải nhiều cách khác nhau và vì vậy ngày nay có nhiều trường phái khác nhau, hình thành một hệ thống triết lí hết sức phức tạp.

Giáo pháp đạo Phật được tập hợp trong Tam tạng (zh. 三藏, sa. tripiṭaka, pi. tipiṭaka), bao gồm:

  1. Kinh tạng (zh. 經藏, sa. sūtra-piṭaka, pi. sutta-piṭaka, bo. mdo sde`i sde snod མདོ་སྡེའི་སྡེ་སྣོད་) bao gồm các bài giảng của chính đức Phật hoặc các đại đệ tử. Kinh tạng tiêu biểu văn hệ Pali được chia làm năm bộ: 1. Trường bộ kinh (pi. dīgha-nikāya), 2. Trung bộ kinh (pi. majjhima-nikāya), 3. Tương ưng bộ kinh (pi. saṃyutta-nikāya), 4. Tăng chi bộ kinh (pi. aṅguttara-nikāya) và 5. Tiểu bộ kinh (pi. khuddaka-nikāya).
  2. Luật tạng (zh. 律藏; sa., pi. vinaya-piṭaka, bo. `dul ba`i sde snod འདུལ་བའི་སྡེ་སྣོད་), chứa đựng lịch sử phát triển của Tăng-già (sa., pi. saṅgha) cũng như các giới luật của người xuất gia, được xem là tạng sách cổ nhất, ra đời chỉ vài mươi năm sau khi Phật nhập Niết-bàn.
  3. Luận tạng (zh. 論藏, sa. abhidharma-piṭaka, pi. abhidhamma-piṭaka, bo. mngon pa`i sde snod མངོན་པའི་སྡེ་སྣོད་)—cũng được gọi là A-tì-đạt-ma—chứa đựng các quan niệm đạo Phật về triết học và tâm lí học. Luận tạng được hình thành tương đối trễ, có lẽ là sau khi các trường phái đạo Phật tách nhau mà vì vậy, nó không còn giữ tính chất thống nhất.

Tăng-già (zh. 僧伽; s, pi. saṅgha) của đạo Phật gồm có Tỉ-khâu (zh. 比丘, sa. bhikṣu, pi. bhikkhu), Tỉ-khâu-ni (zh. 比丘尼, sa. bhikṣuṇī, pi. bhikkhunī) và giới Cư sĩ.

Lich Trinh Tu Hoc

Theo giáo lí nguyên thủy thì một hành giả đạt Bồ-đề, Giác ngộ khi ông ta đạt được một cái nhìn vạn vật như chúng đích thật là (Như thật tri kiến sa. yathābhūtadarśana), với một tâm thức thoát khỏi phiền não (sa. kleśa) và si mê (sa. moha). Trong các loại phiền não thì tham ái (sa. tṛṣṇā) và vô minh (sa. avidyā), cũng được gọi là si (sa. moha), là những loại nặng nhất. Tham (sa. rāga), sân (sa. dveṣa) và si được gọi chung là ba chất độc (Tam độc), vì chúng gây ảnh hưởng lớn đến tâm thức. Vì phiền não vây phủ tâm thức nên hành giả gắng sức tiêu diệt chúng, và để tiêu diệt được thì người đó phải gắng sức đạt được tri kiến chân chính bằng cách thực hành Bát chính đạo.

Cách thực hành trong Phật giáo cũng được phân chia theo Tam học (sa. tisraḥ śikṣāḥ), cụ thể là tu học về giới (tăng thượng giới học, sa. adhiśīlaśikṣā), định (tăng thượng định học, sa. adhicittaśikṣā) và huệ (tăng thượng huệ học, sa. adhiprajñāśikṣā). Trước hết hành giả phát lòng tin (tín, sa. śraddhā) vào Tam bảo, giữ giới luật đúng theo địa vị của mình (cư sĩ, sa-di hoặc tỉ-khâu). Qua đó mà ông ta chuẩn bị cho cấp tu học kế đến là Thiền định. Cấp này bao gồm bốn trạng thái thiền (tứ thiền, sa. caturdhyāna). Một số cách thực hành được nhắc đến nhằm hỗ trợ bốn cấp thiền định trên, đó là Tứ niệm xứ (sa. catvāri smṛtyupasthānāni), Tứ vô lượng tâm, tức là trau dồi bốn tâm thức Từ, Bi, Hỉ và Xả (sa. catvāry apramāṇāni, cũng được gọi là Tứ Phạm trú, sa. brahmavihāra). Cách thiền định ở cấp này được phân làm hai loại: 1. Chỉ (sa. śamatha) là phương pháp lắng đọng tâm, và 2. Quán (sa. vipaśyanā, vidarśanā) là cách Thiền quán lập cơ sở trên Chỉ, tức là có đạt định an chỉ xong mới có thể thành tựu công phu Quán. Phần thứ ba của Tam học là huệ học, lập cơ sở trên Thiền quán. Đối tượng quán chiếu trong thiền định ở đây có thể là Tứ diệu đế, nguyên lí Duyên khởi (sa. pratītyasamutpāda) hoặc Ngũ uẩn. Ai hoàn tất Tam học này sẽ đạt được sự hiểu biết về giải thoát (sa. vimuktijñāna), biết là mình đã đạt giải thoát. Phiền não của hành giả này đã được tận diệt, các lậu hoặc đã chấm dứt (vô lậu, sa. anāsrava) và hành giả ấy đạt Tứ thánh quả A-la-hán.

Song song với cách tu hành theo Tam học trên ta cũng tìm thấy phương cách theo 37 Bồ-đề phần (sa. saptatriṃśabodhipakṣyadharma) và hành giả nào tu tập theo cách này cũng có thể đạt Niết-bàn

[modifier]

Le Dharma[modifier]

Article détaillé : Dharma.

Le Dharma est l’ensemble des enseignements donnés par le Bouddha qui forment le Canon Pali. Mais la définition du terme peut changer en fonction du contexte et peut signifier « ce qui est établi », « la loi naturelle », « la loi juridique », « le devoir », « l’enseignement » voire « l’essence de toute chose ».

Les trois joyaux[modifier]

Article détaillé : Trois Refuges.

Dans le bouddhisme, « prendre refuge dans les trois joyaux », le Bouddha, le Dharma (l’ensemble des enseignements) et la Sangha (l’ensemble des pratiquants, voir plus bas), est une cérémonie par laquelle on devient bouddhiste.

Les quatre nobles vérités[modifier]

Représentation des trois joyaux du bouddhisme

Article détaillé : Quatre nobles vérités.

Les quatre nobles vérités indiquent ce qu’il est essentiel de savoir pour un bouddhiste. Elles énoncent le problème de l’existence, son diagnostic et le traitement jugé adéquat :

  1. La vérité de la souffrance : toute vie implique la souffrance, l’insatisfaction ;
  2. la vérité de l’origine de la souffrance : elle repose dans le désir, les attachements ;
  3. la vérité de la cessation de la souffrance : la fin de la souffrance est possible ;
  4. la vérité du chemin : le chemin menant à la fin de la souffrance est la voie médiane, qui suit le noble sentier octuple.

Les trois caractéristiques de l’existence[modifier]

  • L’impersonnalité : il n’y a rien qui ait une existence indépendante et réelle en soi.
  • L’impermanence : tout est constamment changeant, on ne peut absolument rien trouver de permanent dans les phénomènes.
  • L’insatisfaction ou souffrance : aucun phénomène ne peut nous satisfaire de manière ultime et définitive.

Ces trois caractéristiques de l’existence conditionnée, qui se retrouvent également dans les quatre sceaux de la philosophie bouddhiste, sont universelles, valides en tous temps et en tous lieux, et pourraient être reconnues par une vision directe de la réalité. Le nirvāna, n’étant pas conditionné, échappe aux caractéristiques de souffrance et d’impermanence.

Les trois poisons[modifier]

Le bouddhisme considère qu’il existe trois poisons pour l’esprit :

Certaines écoles en rajoutent deux, la jalousie et l’orgueil.

Selon le Bouddha, les causes de la souffrance humaine peuvent être trouvées dans l’incapacité à voir correctement la réalité. Cette ignorance, et les illusions qu’elle entraîne, conduisent à l’avidité, au désir de posséder davantage que les autres, à l’attachement et à la haine pour des personnes ou des choses.

Sa philosophie affirme que la souffrance naît du désir ou de l’envie. C’est en les supprimant tous deux qu’il serait parvenu au nirvāna.

La roue des renaissances

Les renaissances[modifier]

Article détaillé : Réincarnation bouddhiste.

À cause des trois poisons et de l’interdépendance, les hommes sont assujettis au Saṃsāra (le cycle des renaissances). Le « monde » (Loka) dans lequel ils renaîtront après leur mort dépendra de leur karma, c’est-à-dire de leurs actions passées. Cette renaissance ne fait donc que prolonger indéfiniment la souffrance (« la fatigue de remplir les cimetières » dit l’Assu Sutta[7]). Conformément à la philosophie bouddhiste, ce n’est ni le même, ni un autre qui renaît. Ce n’est donc pas, comme dans le principe de la réincarnation, une âme immortelle qui se « réincarne ». En effet, la notion de réincarnation implique l’existence d’une âme immortelle qui entre et sort d’un corps et entre à nouveau dans un autre, mais, selon la croyance bouddhiste, il n’existe rien de tel. Ce qui subsisterait après la mort ne serait pas une « âme », mais une énergie psychique qui réapparaîtrait ensuite sous une autre forme lors de la renaissance (excepté pour celui qui a atteint le nirvāna).

Le Bouddha propose de se réveiller de ce cauchemar, de chasser la confusion et l’illusion pour être illuminé par la réalité. Ainsi, la souffrance et le cycle karmique seraient brisés. Il définit le but ultime de son enseignement comme étant « la délivrance », le « dénouement », « la libération de la souffrance » ou nirvāna.

Les douze liens interdépendants[modifier]

Article détaillé : Coproduction conditionnée.

Les douze liens interdépendants décomposent le cycle des renaissances selon des liens conditionnés dépendant l’un de l’autre.

  1. L’ignorance (avidyā) : L’ignorance de la loi de cause à effet et de la vacuité. L’ignorance produit le karma.
  2. Le karma (les saṃskāras) : Somme des actions (conditionnées) du corps, de la parole, et de l’esprit, qui produisent la conscience.
  3. La conscience (vijñāna) : La conscience produit le nom et la forme.
  4. Le nom et la forme (nāmarūpa) : Le nom et la forme produisent les six sens.
  5. Les six sens (Ṣaḍāyatana) : Les 6 six sens (Toucher, Odorat, Vue, Ouïe, Goût, Mental) permettent l’apparition du contact.
  6. Le contact : Des six sortes de contacts découlent les 6 sensations.
  7. La sensation (vedanā) : Les sensations agréables produisent l’attachement (désir).
  8. La soif (tṛṣna) : Le désir d’obtenir des sensations agréables produit la saisie, l’attachement.
  9. La saisie (upādāna) : Appropriation des objets désirables qui produit le devenir.
  10. Le devenir (bhava) : L’appropriation par la saisie produit la force du devenir, qui conduit à la (re-) naissance.
  11. La naissance (jāti) : La naissance est la condition qui produit vieillesse et mort.
  12. La vieillesse et la mort (jarāmaraṇa) : La vieillesse et la mort sans pratique de libération n’éliminent pas l’ignorance

Le noble sentier octuple[modifier]

Article détaillé : Noble sentier octuple.

La roue du dharma avec les 8 rayons représentant les huit membres du sentier octuple

Les huit membres du noble sentier octuple (ariyāṭṭaṅgika magga) sont :

  1. La compréhension juste (Sammā diṭṭhi)
  2. La pensée juste (Samnā saṅkappa)
  3. La parole juste (Sammā vācā)
  4. L’action juste (Sammā kammanta)
  5. Le mode de vie juste (Sammā ājiva)
  6. L’effort juste (Sammā vāyāma)
  7. L’attention juste (Sanmā sati)
  8. La concentration juste (Sammā samādhi)

Au lieu de “juste” on lit parfois “complet” ou “total”.

Les quatre incommensurables[modifier]

Articles détaillés : Quatre incommensurables et Samatha bhāvanā.

Les quatre conduites ou sentiments pieux (brahmavihāras) sont aussi appelés les quatre incommensurables car ils pourraient être développés indéfiniment. Cultivés sans l’intention de mener tous les êtres à la libération ultime, ces quatre intentions conduisent à une renaissance dans le monde céleste de Brahmā ; développées avec le désir de mener tous les êtres à la libération ultime, les quatre conduites deviennent alors « incommensurables » et conduisent à « l’éveil parfait ».

Il s’agit d’émotions positives qui pourraient être développées par des pratiques appropriées :

Ponlop Rinpoché illustrant le principe de vacuité

La vacuité[modifier]

Article détaillé : Vacuité.

Dans le Theravāda, la vacuité (Shûnyatâ) signifie qu’aucune chose n’a d’existence propre[8] (elles ne semblent exister que par interdépendance). Il existe une méditation vipassanā qui est la contemplation de cette vacuité.

Mais le concept de vacuité, exposé par la littérature dite de la prajñāpāramitā, et Nāgārjuna, prend un autre sens avec le Madhyamaka. Le Madhyamaka reconnaît l’enseignement de l’interdépendance mais il considère cette roue de la vie elle-même comme vacuité.

Les trois corps (ou kāyas) de Bouddha[modifier]

Article détaillé : Trikāya.

Le Canon pāli désigne trois corps de Gautama Bouddha :

  • son corps formel fait des quatre éléments (pāli caturmahābhūtikāya), soit le corps historique de Gautama.
  • le corps mental (pāli manomayakāya) par lequel Gautama se rendait dans les royaumes divins
  • le corps de la doctrine (pāli dhammakāya), l’ensemble des enseignements, qui demeurent un certain temps après la mort de Gautama.

Le concept prend de l’importance dans l’école Sarvāstivādin. Mais il acquiert par la suite une signification fort différente.
En effet, dans le Mahāyāna, les Trois corps, manifestations d’un Bouddha, ne sont pas des entités séparées mais des expressions de l’ainsité (tathāta) qui sont une. Ils y sont respectivement :

  • le Nirmānakāya, corps de manifestation, d’émanation,
  • le Sambhogakāya, corps de félicité, ou de jouissance,
  • le Dharmakāya, corps du Réel, ou ultime.

L’éthique bouddhiste et les préceptes[modifier]

Sangha de Ajahn Chah

Dans le bouddhisme, l’éthique est basée sur le fait que les actions du corps, de la parole et de l’esprit ont des conséquences pour nous-mêmes et pour ce qui nous entoure, les autres comme notre environnement. Il y a deux sortes d’actions, les actions kusala (mot pali signifiant sain, habile, favorable, positif) et les actions akusala (malsain, malhabile, défavorable, négatif).

L’éthique bouddhique propose donc à l’être humain de prendre conscience des états d’esprit dans lesquels il se trouve et à partir desquels il agit, parle, pense et à devenir ainsi responsable tant de ses états d’esprit que des conséquences de ses actions. La pratique de l’éthique est donc une purification du corps, de la parole et de l’esprit.

Elle se décline sous forme de préceptes – les cinq préceptes et les dix préceptes sont les plus fréquemment rencontrés – qui ne sont pas des règles absolues mais des principes, des guides de comportement éthique. L’application de certains d’entre eux varie selon les personnes mais aussi selon les traditions.

Ces préceptes sont le plus souvent présentés sous une forme négative en tant qu’entraînement à ne pas faire quelques chose, mais les textes canoniques font aussi référence à leur formulation positive en tant qu’entraînement à faire le contraire.

Les cinq préceptes[modifier]

Les cinq préceptes, communs à tous les bouddhistes (laïcs et moines) de toutes les traditions, sont :

  • S’efforcer de ne pas nuire aux êtres vivants ni prendre la vie,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas prendre ce qui n’est pas donné,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas avoir une conduite sexuelle incorrecte ─ plus généralement garder la maîtrise des sens,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user de paroles fausses ou mensongères,
  • S’efforcer de s’abstenir d’alcool et de tous les intoxicants.

Les dix préceptes[modifier]

Les dix préceptes se retrouvent dans plusieurs textes canoniques (par exemple le Kûtadana Sutta, dans le Dīgha Nikāya)[9].

Les dix préceptes sont :

Kannon Bosatsu, bodhisattva de la compassion

  • S’efforcer de ne pas nuire aux êtres vivants, ni retirer la vie,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas prendre ce qui n’est pas donné,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas avoir une conduite sexuelle incorrecte ─ plus généralement garder la maîtrise des sens,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user de paroles fausses ou mensongères,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user de paroles dures ou blessantes,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user de paroles inutiles,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user de paroles calomnieuses,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas avoir de convoitise,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas user d’animosité,
  • S’efforcer de ne pas avoir de vues fausses.

Sous leur forme positive, ce sont :

  • Avec des actions bienveillantes, je purifie mon corps,
  • Avec une générosité sans réserve, je purifie mon corps,
  • Avec calme, simplicité et contentement, je purifie mon corps,
  • Avec une communication véritable, je purifie ma parole,
  • Avec des paroles salutaires et harmonieuses, je purifie ma parole,
  • Avec des mots bienveillants et gracieux, je purifie ma parole,
  • Abandonnant la convoitise pour la tranquillité, je purifie mon esprit,
  • Changeant la haine en compassion, je purifie mon esprit,
  • Transformant l’ignorance en sagesse, je purifie mon esprit.

(Dans cette formulation positive, les 6e et 7e préceptes « négatifs » sont regroupés en un seul).

Ces dix préceptes ne sont pas à confondre avec une autre liste de dix préceptes, plus particulièrement destinée aux moines (d’où sa description dans le Vinaya Pitaka et non dans les suttas), et qui correspond aux cinq préceptes plus les suivants :

  • S’abstenir de consommer de la nourriture entre midi et l’aube,
  • S’abstenir de chant, de danse et d’assister aux spectacles,
  • S’abstenir de parfums, de cosmétiques et d’ornements,
  • S’abstenir d’une haute ou luxueuse literie,
  • S’abstenir d’accepter de l’or ou de l’argent.

Contrairement aux autres préceptes, ces cinq derniers préceptes sont plus des règles de vie que des principes éthiques.

Le Sangha : la communauté des adeptes[modifier]

Article détaillé : Sangha (bouddhisme).

Le Saṅgha est la communauté de ceux qui suivent l’enseignement du Bouddha. C’est un des trois lieux de refuge. On distingue le ‘Noble Saṅgha’ (sanskrit Arya Saṅgha) constitué des êtres ayant atteint un haut niveau de libération et le Saṅgha ordinaire, comportant tous les êtres suivant la voie du Bouddha. Le terme est communément utilisé pour désigner des réunions bouddhistes.

Karma

Main article: Karma in Buddhism

Karma (from Sanskrit: “action, work”) in Buddhism is the force that drives saṃsāra—the cycle of suffering and rebirth for each being. Good, skillful deeds (Pāli: “kusala”) and bad, unskillful (Pāli: “akusala”) actions produce “seeds” in the mind which come to fruition either in this life or in a subsequent rebirth.[24] The avoidance of unwholesome actions and the cultivation of positive actions is called śīla (from Sanskrit: “ethical conduct”).

In Buddhism, karma specifically refers to those actions (of body, speech, and mind) that spring from mental intent (“cetana”),[25] and which bring about a consequence (or fruit, “phala“) or result (“vipāka“).

In Theravada Buddhism there can be no divine salvation or forgiveness for one’s karma, since it is a purely impersonal process that is a part of the makeup of the universe. Some Mahayana traditions hold different views. For example, the texts of certain Mahayana sutras (such as the Lotus Sutra, the Angulimaliya Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra) claim that reciting or merely hearing their texts can expunge great swathes of negative karma. Some forms of Buddhism (for example, Vajrayana) regard the recitation of mantras as a means for cutting off previous negative karma.[26] The Japanese Pure Land teacher Genshin taught that Amida Buddha has the power to destroy the karma that would otherwise bind one in saṃsāra.[27][28]

Rebirth

Two Tibetan Buddhist monks in traditional clothing

Main article: Rebirth (Buddhism)

Rebirth refers to a process whereby beings go through a succession of lifetimes as one of many possible forms of sentient life, each running from conception[29] to death. Buddhism rejects the concepts of a permanent self or an unchanging, eternal soul, as it is called in Hinduism and Christianity. According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a self independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta). Rebirth in subsequent existences must be understood as the continuation of a dynamic, ever-changing process of “dependent arising” (“pratītyasamutpāda“) determined by the laws of cause and effect (karma) rather than that of one being, transmigrating or incarnating from one existence to the next.

Each rebirth takes place within one of five realms according to Theravadins, or six according to other schools.[30][31] These are further subdivided into 31 planes of existence:[32]

  1. Naraka beings: those who live in one of many Narakas (Hells)
  2. Preta: sometimes sharing some space with humans, but invisible to most people; an important variety is the hungry ghost[33]
  3. Animals: sharing space with humans, but considered another type of life
  4. Human beings: one of the realms of rebirth in which attaining Nirvana is possible
  5. Asuras: variously translated as lowly deities, demons, titans, antigods; not recognized by Theravāda (Mahavihara) tradition as a separate realm[34]
  6. Devas including Brahmas: variously translated as gods, deities, spirits, angels, or left untranslated

Rebirths in some of the higher heavens, known as the Śuddhāvāsa Worlds (Pure Abodes), can be attained only by skilled Buddhist practitioners known as anāgāmis (non-returners). Rebirths in the arupa-dhatu (formless realms) can be attained only by those who can meditate on the arūpajhānas, the highest object of meditation.

According to East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, there is an intermediate state (Tibetan “Bardo”) between one life and the next. The orthodox Theravada position rejects this; however there are passages in the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon (the collection of texts on which the Theravada tradition is based), that seem to lend support to the idea that the Buddha taught of an intermediate stage between one life and the next.[35][36]

Saṃsāra

Main article: Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

Sentient beings crave pleasure and are averse to pain from birth to death. In being controlled by these attitudes, they perpetuate the cycle of conditioned existence and suffering (saṃsāra), and produce the causes and conditions of the next rebirth after death. Each rebirth repeats this process in an involuntary cycle, which Buddhists strive to end by eradicating these causes and conditions, applying the methods laid out by the Buddha and subsequent Buddhists.

Suffering’s causes and solution

The Four Noble Truths

Polish Buddhists

Main article: Four Noble Truths

According to the Pali Tipitaka[37] and the Āgamas of other early Buddhist schools, the Four Noble Truths were the first teaching of Gautama Buddha after attaining Nirvana. They are sometimes considered to contain the essence of the Buddha’s teachings:

  1. Life as we know it ultimately is or leads to suffering/uneasiness (dukkha) in one way or another.
  2. Suffering is caused by craving. This is often expressed as a deluded clinging to a certain sense of existence, to selfhood, or to the things or phenomena that we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness. Craving also has its negative aspect, i.e. one craves that a certain state of affairs not exist.
  3. Suffering ends when craving ends. This is achieved by eliminating delusion, thereby reaching a liberated state of Enlightenment (bodhi);
  4. Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the path laid out by the Buddha.

This method is described by early Western scholars, and taught as an introduction to Buddhism by some contemporary Mahayana teachers (for example, the Dalai Lama).[38]

According to other interpretations by Buddhist teachers and scholars, lately recognized by some Western non-Buddhist scholars,[39] the “truths” do not represent mere statements, but are categories or aspects that most worldly phenomena fall into, grouped in two:

  1. Suffering and causes of suffering
  2. Cessation and the paths towards liberation from suffering.

Thus, according to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism[40] they are

  1. “The noble truth that is suffering”
  2. “The noble truth that is the arising of suffering”
  3. “The noble truth that is the end of suffering”
  4. “The noble truth that is the way leading to the end of suffering”

The traditional Theravada understanding is that the Four Noble Truths are an advanced teaching for those who are ready for them.[41][42] The East Asian Mahayana position is that they are a preliminary teaching for people not yet ready for the higher and more expansive Mahayana teachings.[43]

The Noble Eightfold Path

Main article: Noble Eightfold Path

The Dharmachakra represents the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path—the fourth of the Buddha’s Noble Truths—is the way to the cessation of suffering (dukkha). It has eight sections, each starting with the word “samyak” (Sanskrit, meaning “correctly”, “properly”, or “well”, frequently translated into English as “right”), and presented in three groups known as the three higher trainings. (NB: Pāli transliterations appear in brackets after Sanskrit ones):

  • Prajñā is the wisdom that purifies the mind, allowing it to attain spiritual insight into the true nature of all things. It includes:
  1. dṛṣṭi (ditthi): viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be.
  2. saṃkalpa (sankappa): intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness.
  • Śīla is the ethics or morality, or abstention from unwholesome deeds. It includes:
  1. vāc (vāca): speaking in a truthful and non-hurtful way
  2. karman (kammanta): acting in a non-harmful way
  3. ājīvana (ājīva): a non-harmful livelihood
  • Samādhi is the mental discipline required to develop mastery over one’s own mind. This is done through the practice of various contemplative and meditative practices, and includes:
  1. vyāyāma (vāyāma): making an effort to improve
  2. smṛti (sati): awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness, being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion
  3. samādhi (samādhi): correct meditation or concentration, explained as the first four jhānas

The practice of the Eightfold Path is understood in two ways, as requiring either simultaneous development (all eight items practiced in parallel), or as a progressive series of stages through which the practitioner moves, the culmination of one leading to the beginning of another.

The Middle Way

Main article: Middle Way

An important guiding principle of Buddhist practice is the Middle Way (or Middle Path), which is said to have been discovered by Gautama Buddha prior to his enlightenment. The Middle Way has several definitions:

  1. The practice of non-extremism: a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification
  2. The middle ground between certain metaphysical views (for example, that things ultimately either do or do not exist)[44]
  3. An explanation of Nirvana (perfect enlightenment), a state wherein it becomes clear that all dualities apparent in the world are delusory (see Seongcheol)
  4. Another term for emptiness, the ultimate nature of all phenomena (in the Mahayana branch), a lack of inherent existence, which avoids the extremes of permanence and nihilism or inherent existence and nothingness

Nature of existence

Debating monks at Sera Monastery, Tibet

Buddhist scholars have produced a remarkable quantity of intellectual theories, philosophies and world view concepts (see, for example, Abhidharma, Buddhist philosophy and Reality in Buddhism). Some schools of Buddhism discourage doctrinal study, and some regard it as essential, but most regard it as having a place, at least for some persons at some stages in Buddhist practice.

In the earliest Buddhist teachings, shared to some extent by all extant schools, the concept of liberation (Nirvana)—the goal of the Buddhist path—is closely related to the correct understanding of how the mind causes stress. In awakening to the true nature of clinging, one develops dispassion for the objects of clinging, and is liberated from suffering (dukkha) and the cycle of incessant rebirths (saṃsāra). To this end, the Buddha recommended viewing things as characterized by the three marks of existence.

Three Marks of Existence

The Three Marks of Existence are impermanence, suffering, and not-self.

Impermanence (Pāli: anicca) expresses the Buddhist notion that all compounded or conditioned phenomena (all things and experiences) are inconstant, unsteady, and impermanent. Everything we can experience through our senses is made up of parts, and its existence is dependent on external conditions. Everything is in constant flux, and so conditions and the thing itself are constantly changing. Things are constantly coming into being, and ceasing to be. Since nothing lasts, there is no inherent or fixed nature to any object or experience. According to the doctrine of impermanence, life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra), and in any experience of loss. The doctrine asserts that because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile and leads to suffering (dukkha).

Suffering (Pāli: दुक्ख dukkha; Sanskrit दुःख duḥkha) is also a central concept in Buddhism. The word roughly corresponds to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness, sorrow, affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration. Although the term is often translated as “suffering”, its philosophical meaning is more analogous to “disquietude” as in the condition of being disturbed. As such, “suffering” is too narrow a translation with “negative emotional connotations”[45] which can give the impression that the Buddhist view is one of pessimism, but Buddhism seeks to be neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but realistic. In English-language Buddhist literature translated from Pāli, “dukkha” is often left untranslated, so as to encompass its full range of meaning.[46][47][48]

Not-self (Pāli: anatta; Sanskrit: anātman) is the third mark of existence. Upon careful examination, one finds that no phenomenon is really “I” or “mine”; these concepts are in fact constructed by the mind. In the Nikayas anatta is not meant as a metaphysical assertion, but as an approach for gaining release from suffering. In fact, the Buddha rejected both of the metaphysical assertions “I have a Self” and “I have no Self” as ontological views that bind one to suffering.[49] When asked if the self was identical with the body, the Buddha refused to answer. By analyzing the constantly changing physical and mental constituents (skandhas) of a person or object, the practitioner comes to the conclusion that neither the respective parts nor the person as a whole comprise a self.

Dependent arising

Main article: Pratītyasamutpāda

The doctrine of pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit; Pali: paticcasamuppāda; Tibetan: rten.cing.’brel.bar.’byung.ba; Chinese: 緣起) is an important part of Buddhist metaphysics. It states that phenomena arise together in a mutually interdependent web of cause and effect. It is variously rendered into English as “dependent origination”, “conditioned genesis”, “dependent co-arising”, “interdependent arising”, or “contingency”.

The best-known application of the concept of pratītyasamutpāda is the scheme of Twelve Nidānas (from Pāli “nidāna” meaning “cause, foundation, source or origin”), which explain the continuation of the cycle of suffering and rebirth (saṃsāra) in detail.[50]

Main article: Twelve Nidānas

The Twelve Nidānas describe a causal connection between the subsequent characteristics or conditions of cyclic existence, each one giving rise to the next:

  1. Avidyā: ignorance, specifically spiritual ignorance of the nature of reality[51]
  2. Saṃskāras: literally formations, explained as referring to karma
  3. Vijñāna: consciousness, specifically discriminative[52]
  4. Nāmarūpa: literally name and form, referring to mind and body[53]
  5. Ṣaḍāyatana: the six sense bases: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind-organ
  6. Sparśa: variously translated contact, impression, stimulation (by a sense object)
  7. Vedanā: usually translated feeling: this is the “hedonic tone”, i.e. whether something is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral
  8. Tṛṣṇā: literally thirst, but in Buddhism nearly always used to mean craving
  9. Upādāna: clinging or grasping; the word also means fuel, which feeds the continuing cycle of rebirth
  10. Bhava: literally being (existence) or becoming. (The Theravada explains this as having two meanings: karma, which produces a new existence, and the existence itself.)[54]
  11. Jāti: literally birth, but life is understood as starting at conception[55]
  12. Jarāmaraṇa: (old age and death) and also śokaparidevaduḥkhadaurmanasyopāyāsa (sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and misery)

Sentient beings always suffer throughout saṃsāra, until they free themselves from this suffering by attaining Nirvana. Then the absence of the first Nidāna—ignorance—leads to the absence of the others.

Emptiness

A monk in the Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai, China.

Main article: Śūnyatā

Mahayana Buddhism received significant theoretical grounding from Nagarjuna (perhaps c. 150–250 CE), arguably the most influential scholar within the Mahayana tradition. Nagarjuna’s primary contribution to Buddhist philosophy was the systematic exposition of the concept of śūnyatā, or “emptiness”, widely attested in the Prajñāpāramitā sutras which were emergent in his era. The concept of emptiness brings together other key Buddhist doctrines, particularly anatta and pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination), to refute the metaphysics of Sarvastivada and Sautrantika (extinct non-Mahayana schools). For Nagarjuna, it is not merely sentient beings that are empty of ātman; all phenomena (dharmas) are without any svabhava (literally “own-nature” or “self-nature”), and thus without any underlying essence; they are “empty” of being independent; thus the heterodox theories of svabhava circulating at the time were refuted on the basis of the doctrines of early Buddhism. Nagarjuna’s school of thought is known as the Mādhyamaka. Some of the writings attributed to Nagarjuna made explicit references to Mahayana texts, but his philosophy was argued within the parameters set out by the agamas. He may have arrived at his positions from a desire to achieve a consistent exegesis of the Buddha’s doctrine as recorded in the Canon. In the eyes of Nagarjuna the Buddha was not merely a forerunner, but the very founder of the Mādhyamaka system.[56]

Sarvastivada teachings—which were criticized by Nāgārjuna—were reformulated by scholars such as Vasubandhu and Asanga and were adapted into the Yogacara (Sanskrit: yoga practice) school. While the Mādhyamaka school held that asserting the existence or non-existence of any ultimately real thing was inappropriate, some exponents of Yogacara asserted that the mind and only the mind is ultimately real (a doctrine known as cittamatra). Not all Yogacarins asserted that mind was truly existent; Vasubandhu and Asanga in particular did not.[57] These two schools of thought, in opposition or synthesis, form the basis of subsequent Mahayana metaphysics in the Indo-Tibetan tradition.

Besides emptiness, Mahayana schools often place emphasis on the notions of perfected spiritual insight (prajñāpāramitā) and Buddha-nature (tathāgatagarbha, meaning “Buddha embryo” or “Buddha-matrix”). According to the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras, the Buddha revealed the reality of the deathless Buddha-nature, which is said to be inherent in all sentient beings and enables them all eventually to reach complete enlightenment, i.e. Buddhahood. Buddha-nature is stated in the Mahayana Angulimaliya Sutra and Mahaparinirvana Sutra to not be śūnya, but to be replete with eternal Buddhic virtues. In the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras the Buddha is portrayed proclaiming that the teaching of the tathāgatagarbha constitutes the “absolutely final culmination” of his Dharma—the highest presentation of truth (other sūtras make similar statements about other teachings) and it has traditionally been regarded as the highest teaching in East Asian Buddhism. However, in modern China all doctrines are regarded as equally valid.[58] The Mahayana can also on occasion communicate a vision of the Buddha or Dharma which amounts to mysticism and gives expression to a form of mentalist panentheism (see God in Buddhism).

Liberation

Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India, where Gautama Buddha attained Nirvana under the Bodhi Tree (left)

Nirvana

Main article: Nirvana (concept)

Nirvana (Sanskrit; Pali: “Nibbana”) means “cessation”, “extinction” (of craving and ignorance and therefore suffering and the cycle of involuntary rebirths (saṃsāra), “extinguished”, “quieted”, “calmed”; it is also known as “Awakening” or “Enlightenment” in the West. The term for anybody who has achieved nirvana, including the Buddha, is arahant.

Bodhi (Pāli and Sanskrit, in devanagari: बॊधि) is a term applied to the experience of Awakening of arahants. Bodhi literally means “awakening”, but it is more commonly translated into English as “enlightenment”. In Early Buddhism, bodhi carried a meaning synonymous to nirvana, using only some different metaphors to describe the experience, which implies the extinction of raga (greed, craving),[59] dosa (hate, aversion)[60] and moha (delusion).[61] In the later school of Mahayana Buddhism, the status of nirvana was downgraded in some scriptures, coming to refer only to the extinction of greed and hate, implying that delusion was still present in one who attained nirvana, and that one needed to attain bodhi to eradicate delusion:

An important development in the Mahayana [was] that it came to separate nirvana from bodhi (‘awakening’ to the truth, Enlightenment), and to put a lower value on the former (Gombrich, 1992d). Originally nirvana and bodhi refer to the same thing; they merely use different metaphors for the experience. But the Mahayana tradition separated them and considered that nirvana referred only to the extinction of craving (passion and hatred), with the resultant escape from the cycle of rebirth. This interpretation ignores the third fire, delusion: the extinction of delusion is of course in the early texts identical with what can be positively expressed as gnosis, Enlightenment.
—Richard F. Gombrich, How Buddhism Began[62]

Therefore, according to Mahayana Buddhism, the arahant has attained only nirvana, thus still being subject to delusion, while the bodhisattva not only achieves nirvana but full liberation from delusion as well. He thus attains bodhi and becomes a buddha. In Theravada Buddhism, bodhi and nirvana carry the same meaning as in the early texts, that of being freed from greed, hate and delusion.

The term parinirvana is also encountered in Buddhism, and this generally refers to the complete nirvana attained by the arhat at the moment of death, when the physical body expires.

Leave a Reply