Buddhism is a non-theistic spiritual path that helps us cultivate more positive mental states, contact our sanity and emotional warmth, and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Its ultimate goal is “Enlightenment” — direct insight into the nature of reality. It gives us a tried and tested set of practices and teachings that help us move towards Enlightenment by a process of spiritual growth.
The spiritual tradition we call Buddhism was started by The Buddha, “The One Who Has Woken Up”, about 2500 years ago in Northern India. In the millennia since his death Buddhism has adapted to many different societies, finding ways to express the Buddha’s vision in different cultures and historical eras. So what we now call Buddhism consists of many different schools that developed to suit a particular time and place — we have Tibetan Buddhism, Southeast Asian Buddhism, the Zen and Pure Land traditions of Japan, and many others.
Now that Buddhism has arrived in the West it needs to find a form that suits this time and place. So members of the Triratna Buddhist Order aim to present a form of Buddhism that is grounded in the core teachings and practices that underlie all the different ethnic schools of Buddhism. We are not Tibetan Buddhists, Zen Buddhists, Theravada Buddhists, Nichiren Buddhists, or Pure Land Buddhists — we are simply Buddhists, basing ourselves on the core teachings, but open to the richness of the whole tradition.