Quick Look

Buddha taught that in order to live a life that is free from

pain and suffering people must eliminate any attachments to worldly

goods. Only then will they gain a kind of peace and happiness. They

must rid themselves of greed, hatred, and ignorance. They strive to

cultivate four attitudes, loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic

joy, and equanimity. The basic moral code prohibits killing,

stealing, harmful language, sexual misbehavior, and the use of

intoxicants. Morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration form the

cornerstone of Buddhist faith. By observing these, lust, hatred, and

delusion may be overcome. This is known as Nirvana. It is a

realistic goal only for members of the monastic community.

The most devoted followers of the Buddha were organized into

the monastic sangha. They were identified by their shaved heads and

robes made of unsewn orange cloth. Many early monks wandered from

place to place, settling down only during the rainy season when

traveling was difficult. The Buddhist have lasted because they have

the ability to adapt to changing conditions and to a variety of


Monks are expected to live a life of poverty, meditation, and

study. They must avoid all sexual activity. They devote themselves

to work, study, and prayer. They all dress in special robes. Monks

play an important part in preserving and spreading Buddhism.