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What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a radical viewpoint on ourselves and the world we live in based on love, compassion and wisdom. It enables us to live more satisfying, meaningful lives and to help others to do the same.

The basic teachings of Buddhism are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible, there is an interconnectedness at the heart of things. Living a life based on these teachings means to live life from a kind and open heart. Buddhism promotes living an ethical life that will transform our lives and our world. We are encouraged to try the teachings for ourselves and only practice what we find helpful. Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, or gender. It teaches practical methods (such as meditation) which enable us to realise and utilise its teachings in order to transform our experience, to be fully responsible for our lives and to develop the qualities of Wisdom and Compassion.

Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of life. The Insight of the Buddha could be described as seeing that all things arise in dependance upon conditions. Buddhist practices such as meditation are means of changing oneself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path - a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood.

There are around 350 million Buddhists and a growing number of them are Westerners. They follow many different forms of Buddhism. All traditions are characterised by an understanding of non-violence and tolerance, and take their spiritual guidance from the historical Buddha and his Insight. The Ipswich Buddhist Centre is part of the Trinratna Buddhist Community (formerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) founded by an Englishman called Sangharakshita in 1967. We strive to follow the Buddha's teachings in a contemporary culture.