The Buddha Shakyamuni lived 2,500 years ago in India. He was a human
being who had the same spiritual potential that is within us all.
He realised enlightenment and spent his life helping others find what he
had found. Enlightenment is the direct realisation of one's true nature
and the nature of all existence. It helps us understand our suffering and shows how we can bring it to an end.
Since the time of the Buddha many traditions of Buddhism have developed. The aim of each has been to express the essence of the Buddha's teaching in a manner appropriate to the time and culture.
The Serene Reflection Meditation tradition embodies:
Through meditation we can discover the truth directly for ourselves so its the foundation of religious practice. It is to sit still with an open, alert and bright mind, neither suppressing nor indulging the thoughts and feelings that arise.
The Precepts are a description of enlightened action and serve as a guide. They are not imposed, but may be undertaken freely by anyone who wishes.
I take refuge in the Buddha (the source of the teaching).
Cease from evil. By refraining from that which causes confusion and
suffering, the truth will shine of itself.
Do not kill.
We take refuge in the Buddha by trusting the wisdom born of the
compassionate heart and we also develop the humility to check our
understanding with the teaching of the Buddhas and Ancestors (the
Dharma) and with the Sangha (the living community of those who follow
the Buddha's Way).
In the Serene Reflection Meditation tradition, one can follow the Way as a lay person or as a monk. We use the term 'monk' for women as well as men, since there is complete spiritual and functional equality within our Order.
We can all learn to meditate because we all have Buddha Nature, even though it may be as yet unseen. All beings are Buddhas and should be respected as such, whatever manner of life they may be in.
Compassion is aroused when we experience our unity with all life.
When we realise that all things teach, we can accept them with
gratitude. Meditation embraces both the good and the bad without
judgement or indulgence. When we are touched by the infinite compassion
that is the foundation of all existence, the desire to help all beings