Orthodox Chinese Buddhism

Essential Concepts

What Does the Word Buddha Mean?

  The word buddha comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. It means enlightened or awakened: awakened not just oneself but also awakening others; awakening to the knowledge and trut...

What is the fundamental doctrine of Buddhism?

  That there are a vast number of Buddhist scriptures is well known. So no one can say definitively which sūtra or sūtras are representative of Buddhism. Largely for this reason many sc...

What is taking Refuge in the Three Jewels?

Taking refuge means returning, taking shelter, relying on, trusting. Any action that involves returning, depending, taking shelter, and trusting is considered taking refuge. This word is not excl...

Why Do Buddhists Have Faith in the Three Jewels?

  Having faith in the Three Jewels is certainly the most characteristic feature of a Buddhist. Followers of other, theistic religions either believe only in God (i.e., Jews and Muslims)...

What Are the Basic Dogmas of Buddhism?

  What Are the Basic Dogmas of Buddhism? In principle, Buddhism has no dogmas. What are closest to being dogmatic are the precepts. But precepts for Buddhists are not a covenant with God, s...

What Are Orthodox Buddhist Beliefs and Practices?

  In Buddhism itself, there is no distinction between orthodox and superstitious, since the fundamental teachings are the same everywhere. Buddhism flows out from the sea of wisdom and comp...

Orthodox Buddhist Practices

What Methods of Spiritual Practice Do Buddhists Carry Out?

This is certainly a very important question. If one believes in Buddhism without practicing it in daily life, the only benefit one will acquire is the planting of a seed for future Buddhahood. Su...

How does one become a Buddhist?

  All Christian denominations, new or old, emphasize the importance of baptism. It is only after baptism that one formally becomes a Christian. For many Christian sects, the beliefs beh...

How Many Kinds of Buddhist Practitioners Are There?

  In principle, Buddhism asserts equality. Hence, everyone can become a devotee, and everyone has the potential to become a Buddha. But devotees do differ in their levels of practice an...

Orthodox Buddhist Beliefs

Do Buddhists Believe That Merit Can Be Transferred to Other People?

Buddhists certainly believe that one can transfer merit accumulated by oneself to another person. Transference (S. parin āmana; C. huixiang) means to take something from oneself and direct it towar...

Do Buddhists Believe in the Existence of the Soul?

No, Buddhists do not believe in the existence of an eternal, unchanging soul.   Someone who believes in the reality of an eternal soul is not truly a Buddhist, but rather an outer-path adher...

Do Buddhists Believe That Repentance Is Effective?

  Yes, Buddhists definitely believe in the effectiveness of repentance. While completed acts of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and major deception (falsely claiming that one is a...

Buddhist Philosophy and Terminology

Is Consciousness-Only the Same as Idealism?

No. Although Consciousness-only doctrine emphasizes mind, it does not deny the existence of either matter or objective phenomena. If these were negated, then everything should be negated, including...

What Do Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna Refer To?

During the Buddha's time, there was no distinction between the Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna. The Dharma is of one flavor; it's just that different listeners understand it differently and attain differ...

What does Pusa (Bodhisattva) Mean?

  The Chinese word pusa is an abbreviated transliteration of the Sanskrit word bodhisattva. The complete transliteration should be putisadou. “Bodhi” means “awakened...