As with most religions, there are many different approaches to Buddhism, and a lot of cultural beliefs and behaviours and bits of Shinto or other folk religions are sometimes mixed in and mistaken for Buddhism as well as the usual blend of popular misconceptions and personal assertions made by lay people and monks alike.
While my own training is actually centred on the Naqshbandi Sufi tradition, I find that Mahayana Buddhism is a plug-compatible more user-friendly way to express the same ideas in a Western context.
The essence of the Buddhist teaching is contained in the Four Noble Truths, and the Noble Eight-fold Path.
The Four Noble Truths:
- Life consists of suffering
- Suffering is caused by attachment
- Attachment can be overcome
- The way to overcome attachment is called The Noble Eight-Fold Path
Link to the online text of Dwight Goddard’s A Buddhist Bible first published in 1932.
Kobun’s face beamed as he held his infant son in his arms. A student took this opportunity to challenge Kobun’s frequent mention of the universality of suffering.”I bet you aren’t suffering when you’re holding your baby,” he said. Kobun looked at him and slowly answered, “He is my greatest suffering”.