What is Buddhism

Buddhism is a tradition of teaching and practice that helps people to unfold the inner riches of love, wisdom, and energy that lie within us all

The Buddha’s Message

The core message of Buddhism is direct and practical: we can’t depend on anything in our experience to be set or permanent, our actions have consequences, and we can change. For thousands of years people have found that the practices of Buddhism lead to better mental states, clearer vision, and the ability to live a more authentic life. Vitally, the Buddha himself advised everyone to ‘Judge by your own experience and see if it works’.

One way of looking at how we can change is through Buddhism’s three-fold path of Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom.


The Buddha taught ethical guidelines that we try and live our lives within. These guidelines help us to develop a clear mind and positive feelings. Acting more ethically has a positive outcome for us and those around us. These guidelines are:

  • Not harming anything
  • Being generous
  • Living a simple and contented life
  • Speaking truthfully
  • Living mindfully

The ethical guidelines in Buddhism are generally known as “precepts” and are considered to be training principles, rather than a list of rules that define behaviour as either ”good” or “bad”. By following the ethical precepts we are recognising that all of our actions – those of body, speech and mind – have consequences for ourselves and others. Those consequences can be either ‘skillful’ or ‘unskillful’ and so we need to take responsibility for how we engage with the world around us.


We meditate regularly because it helps us to develop awareness and positive feelings. As we become more aware of our actions and thoughts, we see more clearly how they affect us and others.

Meditation also helps us become more positive towards ourselves and those around us.


Through Buddhist practice, we start to realise that we and everything around us are in a state of constant change, with many factors at play. We also understand that we are deeply connected with others. We learn that our habit of wanting things to be how we want them to be rather than how they really are, just causes us and others pain. We can change our view of the reality of life, which helps us feel more liberated and compassionate.

Norwich Buddhist Centre is part of the Triratna Buddhist community, which is an international network of independent centres and groups. Triratna aims to make the teachings of the Buddha available to anyone, whilst acknowledging the conditions we live in, in the modern world. Find out more information about Triratna.

See also our Buddhism and Meditation classes and courses pages.