To Buddhism

Shakyamuni Buddha

Spiritual challenges have remained essentially the same over millenia.

Even with the aggressive rate of technological and social change, the nature of our spiritual dilemma persists.

Buddhism is one of the world's oldest religions, and yet its ideas remain fresh and new. Those discovering Buddhism for the first time are finding essential and timeless truths that provide hope for coping with the stresses of modern life.

Fortunately Buddhism generally gives us the ability to relax, escape noise, find balance, and better cultivate peace and calm.

What Is a Buddha? Buddha literally means one who is awake. Shakyamuni Buddha awoke to a deep and powerful vision of what our life is and can be. 

Who Was Shakyamuni Buddha? Siddhartha Gautama was born close to 2600 years ago in Kapilavastu, a small city-state that no longer exists, other than as a historical cultural site located in what is now the southern region of Nepal, just north of modern-day India. This area is in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains, which loom to the north.

Siddhartha was born into the Gautama family of the Shakya clan, and so the historical Buddha is often referred to as Shakyamuni Buddha or Gautama Buddha. He was raised as the Prince in his family's lineage as leaders of Kapilavastu. At some point in his adult life he became disillusioned with his elevated station. At the age of 29 he renounced his small kingdom and his rank and all his goods to venture forth to seek the truth of life. Enduring almost five years of extreme ascetic practices, he meditated on this life and awoke to a deep and powerful understanding. The collection of his teachings over the next 45 years, along with additions by later sages, became the heritage which we call Buddhism today.  

At First, Buddhism Was Not Buddhism. In the West we like isms and when we say Buddhism everyone recognizes it as one of the world's great religions. But for many hundreds of years, Buddhism was not known as Buddhism, but more often as The Middle Way, or the Way of the Buddha. And if it seems different from Western religions, please remember that it was not designed to fit our definition of religion. Most other religions of the world did not yet exist in their present form. 

While there are many entry points to Buddhism, many are drawn to Buddhism because of its three main dimensions: 

  • Way of Life

  • Spirituality

  • Philosophy

Whether you are attracted to Buddhism because of its gentle way of life, its spirituality, or its philosophy, at the Buddhist Temple of San Diego we provide resources along all three dimensions, in a tradition uniquely developed for everyday people. 

Learn more about that tradition here