What is Buddhism?
The word "buddhism" derives from "buddha". The one called "Buddha" is someone who has discovered nature of things as they are (among the whole of existing : life , universe, etc.) His was the only one able to understand completely and by himself all the life process: "Buddhism" is then Buddha's teaching, it is the way he suggests us to follow. Above all Buddhism is first a practice which purpose is understanding but it is in no case a belief.
Buddhism is not a religion, even if a lot of people say so and practice it as a religion.
This web site (dhammadana.fr) helps you to understand what buddhism exactly is. It is made by a monk who has abandoned everything to fully practice Buddhism and who respects the monastic code. It is not only somebody who is happy with just studying texts. He has fully devoted himself to practice to be able to experience things by his own.
It is very important to make this clear because it is only on this that Buddhism and its understanding are based: i.e. practice.Buddhism is not a belief
If you do nothing else than study Buddhism this will only remain a hobby and a belief. This, is very conflicting because Buddhism is used to one self reality understanding. Making these notions your own that is precisely what prevents from understanding reality.
You must not "believe", otherwise it is just like being blind. If you do not see and that you walk just where you are told, you can walk into a hole. it is very important to know exactly where you are going.
You have to "see" to get your self understanding. "Understanding" is the main point in Buddhism. To do so, you especially have to observe, to be careful to what you do, to your circle and to practice to be as fair, honest and generous as possible.What does Buddhist practice means?
In summary, Buddhism is a clutch of good habits to make, this to reach understanding correctly the reality and at last to free oneself forever from of all sorts of pains.
Buddhist practice is most of all based on disengagement (because all the problems we can have are due to attachment). In fact there are three ways to practice Buddhism. We can choose one or more of these ways it depends on what we want or are able to do: generosity, virtue and meditation.
Generosity means to help other people. It is coming apart of what you have and giving it to those who need it more than you. It is also giving of your time and be able to listen to the others, to teach someone the things you know or do anything which can be good to other people.
Virtue is having a good behavior. It is avoiding doing anything that can hurt. If you want to have a good virtue you have to show respect to everything. If you want to have a topping virtue you just have to follow correctly the five precepts.
Meditation is most of all getting concentration and attention. From time to time you can practice paying close attention to the simple things you do. For instance you can be well aware when you walk without thinking to nothing else. You can do the same thing when you eat or when you clear out the table.
This can seem very simple but these little habits can only bring benefits: generally a better understanding of things, an internal welfare, respect and friendship from other people, easiness in whatever can be done, etc.A real practice
You can see that there is nothing more down to earth than Buddhist practice. If there are some Buddhists who do rituals (offering flowers to a statue, praying spirits, making signs in a certain way thinking that this will bring luck...), that means that they do not understand what is the Buddhist practice, because Buddha has well explained that these things are vain.
That's why it is very important to understand precisely what you do, to practice what you can check yourself, and to not practice something just because everybody does it all around you or because you are told " That's the way to do it".What is dhamma?
D hamma is everything which concerns reality and Buddha's teaching, which consists in understanding reality to free oneself from attachments (and then from pains).
Instead of "Buddhism" better use the word dhamma, because this one is more precise. There are many ways in Buddhism which are quite different from the Buddha's teaching. For this reason when you say " I do dhamma, you know you are talking about reality, about Buddha's teachings.
However, no matter what words are used, do not forget that the most important thing it is to practice immediately because the biggest vantage when we are young is that we can directly see things. Thereby we can easily understand reality. Getting older we easily may complicate matters for nothing. Sometimes we think hard. It is important to think over what you do but if you think too much you don't practice anymore.
No need to mull because there nothing easier than dhamma !