Tibetan wall fresco, Jokhang Monastery
Some 25 centuries after the historical Buddha traveled around what is now Northern India imparting his wisdom, Buddhism is flourishing in the Western world, speaking to a contemporary audience seeking inner peace, durable happiness, and meaning in a challenging world.
Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, and secular forms of practice including the mindfulness movement, all derive from the Buddha’s teachings or dharma. Finding the Buddha before the Buddhist religions emerged reveals an innovative teacher with a therapeutic, psychological orientation who emphasized introspection, discipline, and personal responsibility—concepts that are even more pressing in the digital age.
Arnie Kozak, a clinical assistant professor at the of the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, explores the Buddha, his mission, his central teaching—popularly known as the Four Noble Truths—and the reach of Buddhist forms in the world today. He separates myth from fact, places the Buddha in a historical context, defines key terms, and offers an understanding of the purpose and scope of practices such as mindfulness.