Discovering Buddhism


What is the goal of the Buddha’s teachings? It is solely to help us achieve our deepest aspiration for happiness and to overcome all suffering. The teachings tell us we are in the cycle of death and rebirth (Sanskrit: ‘samsara’). As long as we are in it, true and lasting peace and happiness cannot be found.

It is taught that the main causes of our experiences, good and bad, are our thoughts and karma (i.e. our intentions, our actions). Negative thoughts and actions that harm others are the main causes of suffering. Abandoning them and cultivating positive thoughts and actions that benefit others are the main causes of happiness for oneself and others.

To achieve the temporary happiness of this life and future lives, especially the permanent everlasting happiness of liberation from samsara, requires a sustained and systematic way of disciplining the mind and changing behaviour in daily life. This must come from belief and faith that our thoughts and actions do matter and will bring about effects in this and all future lives. This in turn comes from accepting that reincarnation and karma exist, understanding what karma is, and that the permanent everlasting happiness of liberation from samsara exists and can be achieved.


“The Buddha said:
"O monks and wise men,
Just as a goldsmith would test his gold
By burning, cutting, and rubbing it,
So you must examine my words and accept them,
But not merely out of reverence for me."

We are not obliged to believe just because the Buddha said so. Rather, we should subject his teachings to examination with logic and reasoning and if they can withstand analysis, we can then have faith in them and adopt it in our daily lives. The practice of Buddhism should be done based on faith that is engendered by knowledge and conviction.”

– Venerable Tenzin Gyurme

Over a series of eight sessions, this foundational course will examine the grounds for these core Buddhist principles that will lead to understanding based on reasoning. They include the following:

  • Proving the existence of rebirth
  • Dependent origination - the interdependency of all things and events and how we are the creator of our own happiness
  • Understanding karma and its effects and how to live in accordance with it
  • Samsara, the "cycle of death and rebirth"
  • The process of moving from one rebirth to another
  • How things appear and how they exist – How the mistaken appearance of ourselves and the world around us cause destructive emotions such as attachment, anger and jealousy
  • What is a Buddha? “Can I become Buddha?”
  • When does one become a Buddhist?

A proper understanding of these topics sets the foundation for advancing in Buddhist studies such as the Stages of the Path (Tibetan: ‘lam-rim’) and developing the interest and resolve that is necessary to practise over the long term.

Suitable for: Newcomers to Buddhism who are keen to develop their knowledge and understanding over the long term
Taught by:
Venerable Tenzin Gyurme

Schedule: Current course has completed