Buddhist believe in re-incarnation, that life is not an end in itself but manifests in other forms beyond our realm of understanding. Each of us is born and reborn countless time – and not necessarily into human form either. The factors that determine our state of being in the next life are our own actions in the present life.
This bring us to another important belief, so well ingrained in our daily lives that there is a proverb for it; “ Do good deeds and you will be rewarded with goodness, do bad deeds and you will surely suffer the consequences.” Deed or action in Buddhism in known as Kharma. There is both good and bad karma.
There is no God almighty or Prophet in Buddhism. Each one of us as a human being is bestowed with the full potential to achieve enlightenment or Nirana as the Lord Buddha did. We are our own destiny and we alone are responsible ( through our own kharma) for the state of our future lives.
To achievement knowledge and wisdom ( enlightenment ) we need to live our lives virtuously.
As laymen we can do this by observing the five precepts as taught by the Lord Buddha. They are;
1. To abstain from killing all life forms.
2. To abstain from stealing and all forms of corruption.
3. To abstain from committing adultery.
4. To abstain from lying or speaking maliciously.
5. To abstain from alcohol or other intoxicants.
Whilst adhering constantly to these precepts in our daily lives, we should practice regular meditation and contemplation. This will purify the mind and get rid of all the craving which cause suffering ( Dhukka). One through this path can we obtain the true knowledge and wisdom that will lead to the cessation of all suffering and, ultimately, to Nirvana itself.
Admittedly, most of us mortals cannot achieve this goal within our lifetime, not event in several lifetimes. The most important thing, however, is to keep at it constantly and make progress little by little in the hope that, in the not too distant future, we will be able to stop the vicious cycle of rebirth. The only alternative is to set ourselves adrift in the stream of worldly cravings and sink into they cycle of rebirth which can only lead to endless suffering. The Lord Buddha said, “ To be born is dhukka”