Introduction to Buddhism

An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life

By Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Also available as an audiobook on CD

buy this book online

read an excerpt

These days, many people are developing an interest in Buddhism and meditation, in part because of its practical approach to the problems we experience in our daily lives, and also because Buddhism is an open, flexible faith that may be practiced by anyone, regardless of their ethnicity or religious background.

Buddhism teaches us to take responsibility for ourselves, our actions, and the consequences of our actions.

Through meditation we can follow the same path of inner transformation that Buddha followed and eventually attain a lasting inner peace and real power to benefit other living beings.

Introduction to Buddhism explains basic Buddhist view, intention, and action, and how to follow the Buddhist way of life in the modern world. It is the perfect manual for anyone with an interest in Buddhism and meditation.

“A brilliantly clear and concise introduction to this vast subject. Very highly recommended.” — YOGA & HEALTH MAGAZINE

Buy this book from Tharpa Canada

Buy this book from Tharpa US

Buy this book from Tharpa UK (Rest of World)

The Patience of not Retaliating

Patience, on the other hand, helps us in this life and in all future lives. As Shantideva says:

There is no evil like anger
And no virtue like patience.

With patience, we can accept any pain that is inflicted upon us and we can easily endure our usual troubles and indispositions. With patience, nothing upsets our peace of mind and we do not experience problems. With patience, we maintain an inner peace and tranquility that allows spiritual realizations to grow. Chandrakirti says that if we practise patience we will have a beautiful form in the future, and we will become a holy being with high realizations.

There are three types of patience:

1 The patience of not retaliating
2 The patience of voluntarily enduring suffering
3 The patience of definitely thinking about Dharma

The patience of not retaliating
To practise this type of patience, we need to remain continuously mindful of the dangers of anger and the benefits of patient acceptance, and, whenever anger is about to arise in our mind, we need immediately to apply the methods for eliminating it. We begin by learning to forbear small difficulties, such as insignificant insults or minor disruptions to our routine, and then gradually to improve our patience until we are able to forbear even the greatest difficulty without getting angry.

When we are meditating on patience, we can use many different lines of reasoning to help us overcome our tendency to retaliate. For example, we can contemplate that if someone were to hit us with a stick, we would not get angry with the stick, because it was being wielded by the attacker and had no choice.

In the same way, if someone insults us or harms us, we should not get angry with him, because he is being manipulated by his deluded minds and also has no choice. Similarly, we can think that just as a doctor does not get angry if a feverish patient lashes out at him, so we should not get angry if confused living beings, suffering from the sickness of the delusions, harm us in any way. There are many special lines of reasoning such as these to be found in Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Meaningful to Behold, and Transform Your Life.

The fundamental reason why we receive harm is that we have harmed others in the past. Those who attack us are merely the conditions whereby our karma ripens; the real cause of all the harm we receive is our own negativity. If, in such circumstances, we retaliate, we simply create more negative karma and so we will have to suffer even more harm in the future. If we patiently accept injury, however, we break the chain and that particular karmic debt is paid off

© Geshe Kelsang Gyatso & New Kadampa Tradition