Introduction to Buddhism
It is often thought that Buddhism is not a religion in the usual sense of the word because Shakyamuni Buddha did not admit the existence of a transcendent god controlling human destiny. Buddha never preached belief in a god who created the world and controlled destiny – an absolute being by whom people pray to or worship to be saved by.
The Sanskrit word Buddha means “awakened” or “enlightened.” What Shakyamuni Buddha preached can be understood by anyone who has a high enough degree of reasoning. The teaching is not something visionary that only few can perceive, nor is it something bestowed on us by an absolute being that can only accepted by faith.
Shakyamuni Buddha did not regard this universe as God’s creation or his conquest, but a result from the relation of cause and condition by which all phenomena are produced (engi, or dependent origination). Causation means a cause (in) and a condition (en) combining to produce an effect (ka) and a recompense (ho). In this world, there is nothing unchangeable or fixed in form. All things have a direct cause. When this comes into contact with an opportunity or condition, the result of this conjunction appears as a phenomenon (effect). This effect leaves behind traces (recompense); thus Shakyamuni Buddha interpreted all things in the world.
“Learning the Dharma” means understanding the Buddha’s teachings correctly and regularly applying them in daily life. Seeing how the Truth and the Dharma apply in various situations is one of the practices of “Learning the Dharma.”