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
cultures.

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.