“The Serenity Stone”
CELESTITE comes from the Latin word “Heaven”. The energy of this stone vibrates at such a high level. It has become the New-Age teacher stone, as it provides one with hope and faith, while connecting one to the wisdom of the divine realms. Aids one in developing a sense of knowing who they are, physically and spiritually.
Vesak is one of the most important Buddhist festivals. It is also known as Wesak or Buddha Day.
It is a celebration of Buddha’s birthday and, for some Buddhists, marks his enlightenment (when he discovered life’s meaning).
It is also a time to reflect on his teachings and what it means to be Buddhist.
Buddhism, like most of the great religions of the world, is divided into a number of different traditions. However, most traditions share a common set of fundamental beliefs.
One central belief of Buddhism is often referred to as reincarnation — the concept that people are reborn after dying. In fact, most individuals go through many cycles of birth, living, death and rebirth. A practicing Buddhist differentiates between the concepts of rebirth and reincarnation.
In reincarnation, the individual may recur repeatedly. In rebirth, a person does not necessarily return to Earth as the same entity ever again. He compares it to a leaf growing on a tree. When the withering leaf falls off, a new leaf will eventually replace it. It is similar to the old leaf, but it is not identical to the original leaf.
Buddhism is a philosophy of life expounded by Gautama Buddha (“Buddha” means “enlightened one”), who lived and taught in northern India in the 6th century B.C. The Buddha was not a god and the philosophy of Buddhism does not entail any theistic world view. The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering.
The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are:
• The Three Universal Truths;
• The Four Noble Truths; and
• The Noble Eightfold Path.
THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS
In Buddhism, the law of karma, says “for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.” Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that the responsibility for unskillful actions is borne by the person who commits them.
After his enlightenment, the Buddha went to the Deer Park near the holy city of Benares and shared his new understanding with five holy men. They understood immediately and became his disciples. This marked the beginning of the Buddhist community. For the next forty-five years, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place in India spreading the Dharma, his teachings. Their compassion knew no bounds; they helped everyone along the way, beggars, kings and slave girls. At night, they would sleep where they were; when hungry they would ask for a little food.
Wherever the Buddha went, he won the hearts of the people because he dealt with their true feelings. He advised them not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue: “You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way.”
Once, the Buddha and his disciple Ananda visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. The Buddha himself washed the sick monk and placed him on a new bed. Afterwards, he admonished the other monks: “Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me.”
After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering.
The three trainings or practices
These three consist of:
The first two paths listed in the Eightfold Path, described below, refer to discernment; the last three belong to concentration; the middle three are related to virtue.
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths explore human suffering. They may be described (somewhat simplistically) as:
The five precepts
These are rules to live by. They are somewhat analogous to the second half of the Ten Commandments in Judaism and Christianity — that part of the Decalogue which describes behaviors to avoid. However, they are recommendations, not commandments. Believers are expected to use their own intelligence in deciding exactly how to apply these rules:
THE EIGHTFOLD PATH
The Buddha’s Eightfold Path consists of:
Panna: Discernment, wisdom: